7 Practical Lessons to Stay Committed to Your Dreams (Stop Thinking, Start Doing)

by Brian

dreamsI moved out to Kelowna on July 20th with the purpose of playing Junior Football for the Okanagan Sun. My hopes were high, my enthusiasm was strong and I was certain that once I moved nothing could go wrong.

The first month was riddled with disappointment. I got fired from my bartending job for unethical behavior, I pinched my nerve in my shoulder and I sat on the bench for the team I wanted to play for. I had no money, the end of August was closing in and I would owe my landlord $475.00 that I couldn’t afford.

I had to choose between two options.

The first option was to pack my bags and go home right now. It was August 21st when I wrote my journal entry “the commitment to stay instead of run”.

I have to figure out a way to stay in Kelowna and play ball!! It’s the end of the month meaning I’ll have to magically come up with $475 dollars to pay rent to my landlord. It’s time to step it up.

But wait. If I leave now, I can get home before the end of the month. I can skip out on rent, but that means skipping out on my team, and skipping out on any potential opportunity of starting for the Okanagan Sun.

Option one seemed dim.

The second option was to stick it out in the Okanagan and crank my commitment to an entirely new level. Deciding to stay out here meant everything would change. I was in a hole at the end of August and there was a reason. I was lazy, unorganized, I didn’t have a job, and I didn’t want to make my ideas happen bad enough. I said I wanted it bad, but my thoughts were different than the words coming out of my mouth and my fingertips.

On August 28th I launched Sober Attraction with the purpose of tracking my 30 Day Lifestyle Project. I’m proud to say that, without fail, I have completed each individual Day for 27 Days Straight (3 to go!!!!) of 2,200 words of writing, 20 minutes of meditation and 60 minutes of yoga. This project was a direct challenge to one of my biggest problems – sticking it out when times get tough and staying committed regardless of circumstance.

Along the way I learned a few valuable lessons about how mold your dreams into life.

1. Figure Out What You Want

During my time at Kingpin Social I spent a lot of time thinking about what I wanted. I had to ask myself this: what could I see myself spending the rest of my life on and being happy while I did it? Most people are afraid to ask themselves this question. They don’t want to set themselves up for failure, set themselves up to question their daily routine that they’ve grown comfortable with.

Challenge “the normal way” of doing things and take a second to ask yourself what you want to be spending your time on. It’s September 2012 people. Pretty soon it’ll be October 2012. Where did this year go? What have you spent your year doing? Have you taken any steps closer to your ideal life?

Figuring out what you want is the most important part of making your dreams happen.

2. Set A Goal to Take You Closer to Your Dreams

I want nothing more than to be an independent writer, paid for the work the contracted work that I do. I want to be a great football player on and off the field, I want to have a calm, centered mind that I can work to find a solution to any obstacles that arise along my journey. I want to be physically fit, have a great body and I want to be happy every day of my life.

I’ve been writing for 2 years seriously now, and my career hasn’t “taken off”. I think one of the reasons for that was that I was never able to hold my focus for a long period of time for a writing project. I’ve written 3 books that I am proud of, and can’t write off, but I could have put more effort into my books to make them better.

Set a goal to take you closer to your dreams. Once you know what you want to be figure out what sort of goal that you could set to develop habits that would support your dream. In my case I want to be an independent writer. In order to be paid for the writing that I do, it would be beneficial to have writing habits. It takes 21 days to build a habit, so when you set your goal I would recommend setting them for at least 21 days to build good habits that will move you closer to your ideal life.

3. Find a Reason to Commit

When I started my 30 Day Lifestyle Project I was full of enthusiasm. Every day was a blessing and I was certain that there was no way that I could fail. I love writing, I love meditation, and I love doing Yoga. What could go wrong, right?

After a few days I began to feel the effects of my commitment. About 12 days in I began to ask myself why. Why am I doing this project? Why am I putting my body through this? I was doing yoga for 60 minutes a day, I had football for 2 hours a day and I don’t have a car so I was bicycling everywhere. My mind was tired because of all the thinking I was doing to keep myself motivated. Meditation was difficult, writing felt like a chore and I felt like I wanted to quit halfway through the project.

Around Day 15 of my 30 Day Project, Coach Jamie Boreham of the Okanagan Sun sat the team down to have a conversation.

Jamie Boreham“Why do you play football?” he asked people. Some people said they loved the game, some people said they loved to hit, then one of the stand-outs on the team stated that he plays for his family.

“That’s deep,” Boreham replied. “Every time I stepped on the field I played for my Grandfather. He played football in high school and broke his neck, after that he was never able to play again. Every time I step on the field, playing or coaching, I brush the 30 yard line. 30 was his number.”

The metaphor Boreham used for football can be applied to every walk of life. I realized that I had to live my life for more than just myself. I had to do the project for the people that I loved. September 15th was my Grandmothers birthday and I dedicated the project’s completion to her. She was my reason to keep going. She is my reason to keep pushing on the days that I want to pack it in and call it quits. I had to find a reason to commit, an emotionally charged reason, one that would make me move through any pain, apathy, or adversity that would arise as a result of the 30 Day Project.

4. Focus on the Things that Matter

Day to day thousands of sources demand your attention. Every day we see countless advertisements, commercials, billboards. We receive countless text messages, phone calls, and emails, Facebook status updates, Twitter feed updates, radio ads.

With all the external stimuli around us it’s hard to stay focused on what actually matters. It’s important to keep your dreams close to you. Talk about them with your friends, write about them in a journal, have a whiteboard in your room that you write on, create a vision board.

Once you figure out why you want to go after what you want remind yourself every day of that reason. Every time you want to fall flat on your face and collapse draw on that internal strength, that emotionally charged reason of why you committed to your dream, for the inspiration to move through any obstacles standing in your path. Understand that time passes and life always moves forward.

No matter what you’re going through the pain will pass and you will be a step closer to your dream if you continue to keep walking when the going gets tough. The storm will subside.

5. See and Feel the End Goal

I knew I was going to finish the 30 Day Lifestyle Project before I started it. The first few days were loaded with enthusiasm, and when that enthusiasm began to fade I would remind myself how great it will feel to complete the project. I imagined the integrity that would be pumping through my veins. I imagined my family telling me how proud they were of me. I imagined myself full of confidence, charisma, and determination.

I had to see the end goal before a single step was taken. Once I committed to my dream, which in this case is to complete the 30 Day Lifestyle Project, I knew that I was going to finish. Every day I reminded myself how great it will feel to finish, how full of energy and vitality I will be, how incredibly centered I will have become by letting go of my fear and embracing my power to be the best that I can be.

See the end goal before a single step is taken. Once you’ve figured out what you want, set your goal, found a reason to commit and start focusing on your reason, begin to see and feel the end goal. How sweet will it feel to accomplish your goal? How full of life and energy will you be knowing you had the courage, strength, determination and intelligence to move through each day regardless of circumstance?

6. Take One Step at a Time

There were days in the 30 Day Lifestyle Project when I wanted to fall flat on my face and call it quits. Pack in my bags and give up on everything the challenge represented.

No matter what happened in my life I refused to miss a task I assigned to myself. I took one step at a time, one day at a time and before I knew it I was half way done the challenge, three quarters of the way done, and now three days until completion.

Life happens day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, and breath by breath. Take one step at a time, even if it’s a small one, and insist on moving forwards. Time is always moving forwards and if you’re not moving forwards with time you’re moving backwards by law. Every breath you take is an opportunity to take one step closer to realizing your dream. Love every breath, embrace every moment, and take one step at a time.

All great success comes with great struggle. In the times of struggle remember that all you have to do is take one step. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

7. Find an Avenue of Accountability

TimeA major reason for my projects completion was the accountability I created for myself. Each day I created a blog post stating whether or not I had completed the tasks for the day.

There was one day when I missed all the potential Yoga classes I could have gone to for the day. I was going to write a blog post detailing my missed assignment with a promise to make it up tomorrow but then I realized that I would have failed the challenge – the challenge was 30 days STRAIGHT of 60 minutes of Yoga. One day missed in the middle would be a failure. Instead of writing my post of failure, I opened up Youtube and did 60 minutes of grueling Youtube yoga.

I promised myself after that day to never miss a day of my Yoga classes. After that day I was greeted with absolute certainty that I would see the project through until completion. Find your avenue of accountability. Tell as many of your friends as you can that you’re going after your dream and that you want support. Confide in a best friend that you know will give you feedback when you need it.

Stay accountable to yourself too. When you say you’re going to do something, do it, let no excuse, no one and nothing stop you. The only way you fail is when you stop trying.

What kind of life do you want to live? 2012 is almost over, and when it leaves you will never get it again. You don’t have to wait around for the right opportunity to come your way. You can start creating opportunity in your life right now. Ask yourself what you really want, start setting some goals, finding reasons to commit and focusing on the things that matter. You will see success by imagining it in your mind, feeling how it will feel to complete your goal, and taking one step at a time.

In 27 days I’ve become a completely different person. I’m still Brian but I’m more determined, more focused, more courageous. I’m willing to step up and take risks when I need to, I stick to my word when I say I’m going to do something and I have a higher standard for myself than I ever have before – and I’m confident that I can meet it.

I moved out to Kelowna in July with hopes of starting for the Okanagan Sun. After I pinched my nerve in my shoulder I wanted to give up and go home, second string wasn’t a fun experience. In the the next 3 days I will have completed 600 minutes of Meditation, 1800 minutes of yoga and 66,000 words in a month’s time. Not only that — I’ve earned a starting spot on the Okanagan Sun roster.

2012 is almost over. What do you want to achieve with your year?

P.S. If you want to accelerate your success in implementing these strategies and reaching your goals, we’d love to help you. Apply today to our Mentorship Coaching program and we’ll gladly offer you a free coaching session to see if we’re a good fit.

About Brian
Brian is a firm believer in living in the present. Brian lives his life by the philosophy “Act for the future, not because of the past.” He is a passionate writer, a sober socialite and aspires to be a positive influence to everyone he interacts with. Read more about Brian here.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Karim Saleh September 27, 2012 at 9:19 pm

Unreal Brian. So proud of your resilience and determination and I can take a page out of your book. It is purely self-driven actions that you can look back on in the future and be like wow I did 30 days straight of taking my body to its peak…I’m pretty sure I can handle _______ (insert task/goal).

I believe that momentum is key…and I’m sure you do too. Come bursting out the gate at the end of 30 days. Set yourself up for success…without a doubt I know you’ll get it!

Keep sharing the knowledge and experience…it benefits us all! 🙂

Eva K. McWilliams October 12, 2013 at 8:57 am

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Cam October 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

@ Eva – Thanks!

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