Whether they be life-changing and transformative, like a career change or moving to a new country, or on the more subtle side such as learning a new skill, or losing 10 pounds, living passionately and reaching for your dreams is a practice, one that takes compassion and commitment and love. But why is it, being that we all start on the same day and with the same altruistic intentions, so many resolutions, passion projects and goals are abandoned by the end of the month?
It's more simple than you think. One question can clue you into the strength and diligence you possess for your goals in 2015, and your likeliness to succeed in the year ahead:
What are you willing to sacrifice in order to achieve your greatest passions?
It seems counter-intuitive: the idea of indulging in our passions and living our dreams is about adding to our lives, not subtracting from it, right? But exploring your passions takes an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm. While some of that energy is generated by indulging in the passion itself, much like the way a car battery is recharged by the car actually running, diligent energy and commitment to the passion takes some outside help.
So where do we get that energy? By making sacrifices in other areas of life. In order to stay motivated, to stay on the path of realizing our passions and dreams, we will need to be willing to sacrifice parts of our lives and ways of thinking. Take this guide with you as you lay out a road map for achieving your goals in the year ahead, and making it your most passionate and vivacious yet.
Carving out time in our busy schedules to accomplish what we dream isn't easy. After all, we women are all too versed in the multi-role lifestyle. We're mothers, we're colleagues, we're girlfriends and best friends. But where in your day can you carve out time for you? After all, you need to be your greatest advocate. Can you spend less time in front of the TV? Can you enroll the kids in an after-school program to give yourself after-work hours to work on you and your goals? Where is there time you're willing to sacrifice in order to build your new life around your passion?
There's physical energy, the kind that helps you at the gym, and then there's mental energy, the kind that gets you through a workday. The physical energy part is easy. You might have to sacrifice sleep, or trade chips for fruit or lean protein to get in an early workout if you are dreaming of spring break weight loss. But what about mental energy? Sometimes, just allowing yourself to care less in one situation can free up your commitment to another. Is there a part of your life, perhaps your day job, where you can be less emotionally invested in order to commit more to your passion? It might sound strange, but making a silent promise to yourself to not think about or talk about work after work hours can help. Resolve to let little problems roll off your shoulders more, and rely more on your co-workers to hold up their end of the projects. Once work hours are over, they are over. If negative thoughts or worry seep into your passion time, gently push them aside as you would during a meditation. Much like mental compartmentalizing, this practice will create balance in your mind, and allow you to focus on your passions without feeling guilty.
Even with the best of intentions, other people's opinions of your actions and goals might well bring you down. But be careful; listening too much to the opinions of others can create stalls in your process to live out your passions. Try to hear the constructive feedback they're offering without taking anything personally. Remember: All great thinkers in history faced negative critics and naysayers. They had to hear "it can't be done" as opinion, not fact. But if they had acquiesced, we wouldn't have the airplane or the music of Beethoven or the first female politician. Only you can make your dreams come true. Only you can know if you're capable of living your passions because you know yourself better than anyone else! Be your biggest cheerleader, and if other people don't believe in you, just remember that they'll join in as soon as you've opened that bakery or are sending postcards from your new flat in France. You might have to sacrifice the opinions of others in order to do what's best for you. It's not mean. It's just part of the process.
There isn't much explanation needed, and yet this is the biggest reason we don't reach for our dreams and live out our passions. While we can offer all the excuses in the world for not living with passion and purpose: "I don't have time" or "other people need me not to because... " or "I'm too scared," the truth is that we are more comfortable with not doing it, than putting in the work. Excuses only prove that we want to be lazy more than we want to live our passions. We make an excuse of why we can't, and we allow ourselves the pleasure of standing still in life, and then pretend our inaction is totally justification.
But if you want to truly live your greatest passions, you'll have to clear out all the excuses. Sacrifice them in the name of your greatest life. Sacrifice them like cookies in the cupboard, throw them away and don't pick them back up. It's an internal sacrifice, one you'll have to keep making mentally over and over again, but will be an essential key to your success, and prove to be your greatest accomplishment.
Each of us is entitled and deserving of a life full of passion, wonder, love and excitement. It is your sole responsibility to identify your passions, to find and distinguish for yourself what sets your heart on fire, and chase it with all your might. Nothing great was ever achieved by living comfortably and safely. Passion takes a bit of courage, and a lot of work, but it will always be worth it!
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