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It’s been a few months now since Robert and I moved into our own apartment. We got The Boathouse at the end of October, and it feels like we’ve really settled in and started to make this place feel like home.
Now that we’re in a routine, though, it was easy for us to slip into a state of blandness for a few weeks. Get up + go to work + go home + make food + watch Netflix + go to bed. And, we did enjoy that period after the state of relative chaos we were in at the beginning of our marriage. (We’ve moved 3 times since May 28, 2016, and were subsisting off of what I could scrape up from my freelance career.) But after all the dust settled, we began to notice the simultaneous lethargy and restlessness brewing in our bones. Our daily routine now is such a different pace than college!
We’ve talked to a lot of our friends that are in the same life stage as we are, and we hear the same complaint. In college, you’re constantly working towards something. Making the grade, meeting new friends, securing a job. That’s what your mind is totally consumed with. In “the real world,” you don’t have anyone pushing you. No one is there to keep telling you to “work towards this and that.” You’ve got to make that decision on your own.
And, a lot of people that I know that are well past the “recent grad” stage are still dealing with this shock. They still don’t know where they’re going. Or, if they do, they don’t know why other than to pay the bills. They don’t really know what they want. And that’s okay. Seriously, it is. Because sometimes following your passions takes a backseat to the relationships and external circumstances in your life. BUT, if you’re in a bland routine and you want to move past it, on to something that gets your heart racing and your adrenaline up, then you’ve got to make some changes.
After coming to the realization that this was where we were at, Robert and I sat down and defined a few things. We wrote down our dreams for the next six and twelve months. Dreams that, if we had no restrictions, are what we would actually pursue.
This is harder to do than it looks. Because have you really ever concretely considered what you want your next 6 months to a year to look like? Like – what you would actually do. This is not your “if I had 6 months to live, I’d…” situation. In that scenario, you would probably come up with some pretty crazy stuff and blow all your money because you knew you wouldn’t be around much longer to spend it.
This question is different. This is saying, assuming your life is not unexpectedly cut short, what things would you want to cross off your “bucket list” in the next half year? The next year?
Who do you want to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to do?
Goal-setting as if you had no bounds.
Robert and I used a very specific method to define our dreams and turn them into plans. It’s called Dreamlining, and it was first touted in Tim Ferris‘ book The 4-Hour Workweek. (If you haven’t read this book, go and buy it now. Seriously. Everyone needs to read this book.)
The difference between regular goal-setting and dreamlining is that you are setting goals without any regard to money or “feasability.” And, you set goals in three very specific categories:
You make a timeline for both 6 and 12 months, and then you write down 5 specific goals for each category. So, for example, I want to HAVE a lamborghini; I want to BE a published author; I want to DO skydiving in the Caribbean. 5x.
Don’t set limits, and look for things that are actually important to you. Be specific.
After you’ve done this, you’ll choose your overall top 4, and make those your goals for the next 6 – 12 months.
Your dream is cheap.
It may not seem that way to you now, but what Tim Ferris walks you through is that your dreams really aren’t as expensive as you think. And, you really just need to find a way to make X amount per month to make your dreams a reality. If time is the issue, there are ways around that, too. Making the extra dough and minutes is what the rest of his book is about. For the short version, see his worksheets and calculators for dreamlining here.
Going for it.
Whether or not you end up buying his book and becoming an avid follower of his techniques (like myself), I just wanted to talk a little bit about why keeping your dreams in front of you, and finding a way to make them happen, is so important.
The fact of the matter is, we all have something that ignites our souls. You may not know what it is yet, but it’s there. Mine, I think, is learning through adventure. (Side note: I also love the sensation of flying. I literally dream about it.) That’s why I’ve pursued this blog. I’m stepping out on a limb, doing my own thing, and having to learn a lot along the way!
To not pursue what sends adrenaline through your body and an extra pep in your step, well…that’s a shame. Because you could wake up and be excited about something instead of apathetic (or worse, distressed).
Whatever gets you going – be it learning new things through travel, making a difference through social work or politics, hosting more dinners for family and friends, or something else – that is what you need to be spending your time on. Your life will be better when you are pursuing something that matters to you. And so will the lives of those around you. Goals don’t equal selfishness. Goals equal change.
There’s a reason that it matters to you. Figure out what you want – what you want – and pursue it. You can craft your life and better the lives of those around you if you just have the fortitude to keep your dreams in front of you.
FTC Disclosure of Material Connection: To maintain this website, some links in the above post may be affiliate links, which means I receive a small percentage of any resulting sales. Nonetheless, I only ever recommend products that I personally use and/or believe will add value to my readers.