Dreaming big is the first step to goal setting
For those of you reading, maybe you're curious about how dreaming can translate into goal setting or "finding your path." But for me, Calley, I'd never really taken the time to put my hopes and dreams down on paper until this challenge. They've only been things that I've talked about or simply kept to myself. Unlike my fellow gals, Ginger and Leeza, who are rockstars at putting down their thoughts on paper, I tend to translate reflection and decompressing into things like reading, working out, art, volleyball, etc. Nine times out of ten, I feel as if I don't have time to put my head in "la-la land" and daydream about things. Until I started asking myself, why not?
So as you read this, ask yourself, why not let your mind go to a place that might be difficult, but unlocks a sense of wonder or hope? Why not write down the dream you keep telling yourself is out of reach? Why not dream a little bigger? You'll never know what you could learn from leaving your pessimist or realist ways for a little while.
There is no right or wrong way to dream
When I started this challenge, I kept overthinking my dreams. At first, I'd just let my mind go to a blank space and see what came to my mind. Sometimes the idea wasn't "good" so I ignored it. But I've learned that by judging my ideas off the bat, I'm just limiting myself and my dreams to go any further. This journal isn't for anyone's eyes but my own so there's no need to woo anyone or have all the answers. In fact, the answer is within the act of journaling itself. And by completing this challenge alone, I've already discovered so much about myself and what I want out of life, so don't be afraid of your ideas or dreams.
Turns out my happiness comes out through my dreams
When people ask me "what makes you happy?" or "what's your plan in life?", I have a hard time answering clearly because I love going with the flow and not always having a plan. But this challenge has shown me that there's actually consistency across all of my dreams. For one, I'm finding that art is a huge part of my life that's currently missing from my life. And if I'm being really honest, I think life and laziness have gotten in the way. I've also noticed how much more frustrated and judgemental I am of my abilities now compared to college — even when it's just my own doodles.
By consistently writing down my dreams, I not only see how much art is threaded into my hopes & dreams but also how much I've neglected that creative part of my brain. Fortunately, I do work in a creative environment, but the kind of creating I'm talking about involves no filters, barriers, or timelines. As a result, I've started taking baby steps (you gotta crawl before you walk, right?) and carving out time one night a week to break out the watercolor or pen and paper to regain or simply remember what I may have lost or forgotten from art school.
Dreaming can happen any time, anywhere
It's best to keep a pen and scratch paper in your purse ladies! It could be that I was being consistent with this challenge (every night before bed meant jotting down 10 dreams), but many of my thoughts later in the month came from when I had experiences that were outside my norm. Otherwise known as my very first trip to Oregon or should I say beautiful, unpredictable, wilderness. I journaled about my trip (one of the dreams I previously wrote down! woot!) but I also found time to dream. When I was sitting next the to fire and looking at Mount Hood, I thought, why can't I find this same sense of awe and peace in my own backyard? Well (durrrrr) for those of you who haven't read Leeza's post about Hiking for 30 Days. I am now thinking I might take my gal pal's learnings and try 'em for myself. Or if not hiking for 30 days, maybe I just need to explore Duluth more. After all, Minnesota is a great place to find trails, lakes, and a lot of outdoor activities that are (thankfully) free! Especially since keeping my eye on my wallet is a big part of my next challenge aka 30 days of kitchen reno...watch out Chip and Joanna :P
Now my next steps for answering the question of 'what do you want to do with your life?' are putting those dreams into actionable goals. So as I ask myself the big questions, ask yourself, what is it exactly that you want to achieve in your life (we only get one, remember?) What are the steps to take before you reach your goal(s)? And what values are important to you to help you get there?
But if you want to break it down, even more, I highly recommend this book: Where Will You Be Five Years From Now? and for only $9, a steal! The typography (for all my creative types) is amazing. The questions and prompts that are in the book help stir up some good deep thinking. And even if you feel like you can answer life's biggest (and hardest) questions, I'd still take the time to use this book. It really helped me gain a better understanding of where my head (and heart) are at and now I'm able to use that as my compass for figuring out where I will be 5 years from now :)
Of course, now that I've established the foundation, the tricky part will be keeping my goals top of mind and staying on track. Do you have a habit, tool or book that you swear by for keeping your goals on track? Let's hear about it in the comments below.