I talk a lot about big dreams. Whenever someone tells me they're on the cusp of something new and exciting (and scary and risky), I get a little giddy. It reminds me that while I don't consider myself a risk-taker, I like living there...teetering on the edge of something new.
It forces me to rely on God because I have no idea what's going to happen or how anything is going to actually work out.
Dreaming big is popular this particular day, the first of the new year. We all have ways of breathing new resolutions into existence, but we often abandon them within the first six weeks of the year.
I'm not a fan of New Year's resolutions just for that reason. We set ourselves up for failure. We have the very best intentions, but our goals remain just out of reach.
So I've come up with three ways to see your dreams through in 2015:
1. Dream Big, but act small.
After spending a day writing down every dream in your heart (and hopefully praying for God to show you the ones you're either too afraid to admit or you haven't even considered)...you might feel overwhelmed. This dreaming big stuff is hard. It's scary. It might make you want to assume the fetal position and rock back-and-forth in a corner.
Instead, get an action plan for your dream. "Dreaming" sounds all head-in-the-clouds-y, and that's great--you need to daydream a little to allow room for God to push you in to something you may never do without his prodding...but getting it done, whatever it is, requires an action plan. Action plans are a lot like daily To-Do lists because you have to lay it all out and bite off one piece at a time. Remember, your dream doesn't have to (and most likely won't) happen over night. Slow and steady and all that jazz...
2. Roll up your sleeves and get to work.
I often get emails from people who want to write a book. I can relate. But what I sometimes wonder is if those would-be authors know how much work it takes to make it happen. It's the same with any big dream. There's no easy way. Every dream seems to have a mundane side to keep your head from staying in the clouds too long. I've learned to find a way to enjoy the work of making a big dream come true (often so much that I forget to enjoy the fruit of the thing...I'm working on that.)
Work is often overlooked. But I really don't believe a big dream can come true without it.
3. Revisit your dreams constantly...and stay focused.
You know when you're trying to lose weight and you only lose like, one pound a week? It's SO hard to keep moving forward. I'm impatient. I'm easily discouraged. It makes me want to quit. Give up. Pretend I never tried in the first place.
At the beginning of each year I try to do one of those free association exercises where I write down every dream I have. From big, huge ones to really small ones that are easy to implement (these make me feel like I'm making some progress!) But the trick, I've learned is to
A. revisit that list regularly throughout the year and
B. Stay focused on the dreams I'm working toward.
During this "revisiting", I highlight the things I've seen come to pass (I really believe you begin to work toward something as soon as you write it down, whether you know it or not...) It's so encouraging to see progress being made. But the items that aren't highlighted begin to rise to the top again.
It's so easy to veer off track, so stay focused. Before you say "yes" to new opportunities, ask yourself "Will this get me closer to my goals?" If no, you've got your answer. (And "No." is a complete sentence.) If it does, go for it with gusto.
Dreaming big is hard work, but it doesn't have to take a nosedive come February. So tell me...where do you hope your big dreams will take you this year...?