Saturday, April 25, 2015

Figure Out What You Hope For

I think it's a common misconception that there comes a point in everyone's life when it is too late to change your life's path and follow your dreams.  I've heard it countless times from family, from friends, and from people that I have worked with. 

I'm sure everyone has heard their version of excuses, justifying a person's unwillingness to try.

“I can’t go back to school. What's the point of learning something new?  I’m too old to start a new career.”

“I’ll never get married. I can't find someone to date now.  By the time I meet someone, it'll be too late in the game for marriage.”

“I can’t possibly start exercising. I'm too out of shape.  I have this condition.  That’s for people much younger and more fit than me.”

I'm sure we all chalk up our excuses to laziness.  I'm sure fear is a factor as well.  Personally, I feel like we choose arbitrary windows of time when we imagine we should have tried and succeeded at something and then believe it’s not possible once those days have passed.

What saddens me with this way of thinking is that we genuinely believe the excuses we tell ourselves. Not because these things are impossible to accomplish, but because we trick ourselves into believing that we can't do them.  We let our mind emphasize the 'can't', and then let our fear of failure get the best of us.  Because we believe in the impossibility, we never give ourselves permission to try.

If you tell yourself it’s not possible to begin a new profession, chances are you won’t take the time to learn the ins and outs of the new career you dream of having.  How likely are you to send out resumes?  How likely are you to reach out and make the connections you need to succeed, if you don't believe it's possible?

If you don't believe it is possible for you to fall in love, or for someone to fall in love with you, then chances are you won’t put yourself out there.  If you don't believe in love, then you probably won't open your heart wide enough to let someone in.

If you tell yourself that your body is not capable of getting stronger, leaner, faster, more resilient, and more flexible; you’ll likely convince yourself that it is better to stay seated on your couch, watching television.  Chances are you'll never try a class at your local gym.   You'll never hit the pavement in a brand new pair of running shoes.  You won't get out of bed thirty minutes early with plans to hit the weights before you start your day.  You'll never learn how to be gentle and kind with yourself while your body is making progress.

Instead of taking the time to learn the necessary steps that would ultimately lead you to the feeling of accomplishment and pride in yourself, you simply sit back—feeling frustrated, regretful, and maybe even a little jealous of other people who choose to live their lives making their own rules.

Barring physical limitations, it is never too late, in anyone's life, to follow the path that leads to your dreams. It doesn't matter what you did yesterday.  It doesn't matter the type of person you’ve been, or the mistakes you've made in life.  You can wake up any day and decide who and what you want to be. It's not about changing yourself to suit society's version of who you should be. It is about living in a way that leaves you feeling happy and fulfilled.

You may not accomplish in your remaining time what someone who started decades earlier will, but you won’t accomplish anything if you refuse to start.  More importantly, with each day that passes, you’ll feel a greater disconnect between the life you’re living and the life you dream about.

What you’re seeking isn’t necessarily the end goal you think you need years to reach.  It’s a life aligned with who you want to be.  You can be that person right now.