I'm on a mission to tackle a list of 52 dreams and goals in 2016 -- one for each week of the year. Some will be fun, some will require hard work, some might not happen at all, and some will push me out of my comfort zone. All will require me to be committed and consistent and to remember to live each moment of life to the fullest.
I'm inviting you to join me. What goals and dreams do you have for 2016? Have you taken the time to write them down? Which ones scare you? You know, the ones that cause that negative little voice in your head to spew nonsense? The ones that you have "failed" at in the past? The audacious dreams that put you in the spotlight, and make you squirm, because if they did come true, your life would change forever?
Yeah... those dreams. Let's spend some time with them today.
I spent the entire 2014 calendar year qualifying for the 2015 NYC Marathon. I was committed. I was focused. I was determined. At one point, during one of the qualifying 1/2 marathons, I pulled a calf muscle and was forced to walk the last few miles. This required me to push my pride aside and just finish the damn race. There were days I didn't feel like training, and there were days I was frustrated with my lack of progress. But, in the end, because I was committed and consistent, I did it! The devastating part of this whole story is that due to a severe groin injury in April, I was forced to pull out of the marathon in July of this year.
I have found, especially since becoming a business owner and author, lots of people talk about what they want to do. Talk is cheap, as the saying goes, and we must act if we are going to go after the things we want. It takes a committed and consistent person to push through the steps and make progress when it gets mundane, difficult, and the newness of the dream wears off. I can't tell you how disheartened I have become watching fellow business owners and authors give up. The reasons they quit on their dreams are numerous: too tired, too overcommitted, weak mindset, change of heart, lack of structure/boundaries in their daily schedules, lack of funds, and lack of self-care.
I believe that most of these close friends and colleagues got lost in the process of going after what they wanted, and didn't seek proper support to help them get back on track. Were they leery to ask for help, thinking it would make them appear weak or vulnerable? Did they not know who to turn to for support? Did they let themselves get burned out, leaving no fuel to pursue their passions?
It's happened to me, many times. Honestly, it took me a while to figure out my own over-committed and fatigue signs. I would move quickly, check things off my list, and go, go, go... treating my goals and dreams as if they had to happen now or never -- only to discover they would never happen if I didn't pace myself. I crashed and burned, more times that I can remember, but instead of giving up, I gathered my most precious resources, the people who support and love me, and I asked for help. I began setting boundaries around everything in my life: who had access to me, my daily schedule, my nightly sleep routine, and who I said yes to of the things that were asked of me.
These acts took more courage than you might realize. There were many friends who didn't understand why I couldn't drop what I was doing and call them when they wanted me to. I had to have difficult conversations with family members on how I expected to be treated. I said no, more often than I said yes. I restructured what I was personally responsible for in my marriage, and communicated with my husband where I needed more help and support.
For the first time in my life, I put myself, my health, and my own needs first. Do you want to guess what happened? I found the energy, positive mindset, and courage to chase the dreams that once scared me. I realized that I wasn't necessarily fearful of the dreams, but afraid I would burn out before I achieved them, facing personal disappointment once again. My past track record certainly proved that thought true! I also used the excuse of needing to "find the time" to complete big goals like traveling the world, writing books, and volunteering in my community and abroad.
Once I got super-clear on my boundaries, and placed the focus on why the dreams mattered to me, the how worked itself out. There is power in clarity. There is transformation on the other side of confusion, if only we seek help when needed. And believe me, there is so much bliss and fulfillment, when you find the courage to chase the dreams that once scared you.
Author's Note: I was interviewed on this topic recently by Susan Vernicek, founder of Identity Magazine. Watch the discussion and tips I reveal about Chasing the Dreams That Scare You.
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