I have been on a prolonged journey for most of my life. A journey I should have completed in at most five years, but has stretched more than four times longer. Perhaps you’ve been there. You’ve had some goal in mind that you knew you wanted to accomplish and something sidetracked you from completing your mission. What was once a brightly lit dream, full of vigor and activity, are now only smoking embers that lie in the rubble. Or perhaps it took you longer than you expected; an unforeseen event arose. There are tons of different reasons why you can be sidetracked. Now, the task lies at hand to rekindle the flame.
The reason we are sidetracked doesn’t even have to be negative. It can be the business of life or a demanding career. The real question is what do you do when you find yourself off track? I have a few suggestions worth considering to help you get back in the saddle. These are items just from my own personal experience. I’m by no means a counselor, just someone who has been through a few different situations and want to help others through my own experience. What is important is making progress to ensure that you rekindle the flame of your dreams and move forward with actionable steps. Yet, how do we get there? I’m going to discuss four items that will help you along in your journey.
Owning The Situation
For a long time, I used the excuse: I‘m young. I should enjoy life. I’ll get back to this someday. Now, there is nothing wrong with enjoying life. In fact, I believe it is quite important to set time aside from your regularly scheduled activities and have some time for yourself, but too much can lead to wasting time. Enjoying activities in moderation is something I have had to learn.
I can’t tell you the amount of free time that I have wasted in my life. Time that I can never get back. Please don’t read this as a sob story. My intent is not to garner sympathy. It is a truthful acknowledgement of my situation.
If you take the time to own your situation and reflect upon your past, no matter how good, bad, or even sorrowful it may be, it can help you. For a while, I didn’t want to acknowledge that I had wasted a large sum of time. It didn’t feel good. It meant coming to the realization that my actions weren’t helpful to my cause.
I knew this on a subconscious level, of course, but facing the reality of the situation, meant acknowledging that what I was doing wasn’t good. However, walking that path and owning the situation has helped me to change the behavior. In fact, it is the first step in changing the behavior which allows you to rekindle the flame.
How can someone make the change in their life that is needed if they aren’t ready to face the truth of their situation? It is an impossible task. Also, how can one truly change the behavior without being resolute in the process of change? Change can be a stubborn opponent for those of us set in our ways. It can seem easy at first, but the longer we try to move in the way of progress, the harder it becomes to form lasting change.
Sometimes we want to slide back into mediocrity. If you want to change, be ready for resistance, but to accomplish change, prepare by being resolute. Owning my mistakes has enabled me to walk in a new way. Determination to persevere helps me walk in a new way consistently. Rekindling the flame is hard work, but it becomes so exciting!
Make A Plan
Once I decided that my behavior had to change, I had to set some goals and have a plan to get there. I knew it had to include a number of actionable steps and also a time frame for when I expected to accomplish them. Making goals and coming up with a plan, while daunting, is exciting work!
You may have a number of goals that you want to accomplish. You may have to make a different plan for each of your goals. Make sure that the plan makes sense and that it is set in reality. In other words, make sure it’s a reasonable expectation. Don’t put yourself in an impossible situation. Be realistic. Don’t expect too much of yourself, but also don’t expect too little. If you get further than what you had planned originally within a certain time frame, that’s great, but not required.
Roll Up Your Sleeves!
While writing is something I thoroughly enjoy, it doesn’t mean that hard work isn’t a part of the process. Once, a long time ago in a state far, far away, I was able to diagram sentences like nobody’s business. I was a grammar whiz! Lol, ok maybe not a whiz, but pretty good. The saying is true: if you don’t use it, you lose it! That isn’t a fun revelation when you’re wanting to begin again down a road that was once well traveled, but had lost its familiarity.
However, rolling up your sleeves and digging in again will get you back on track and is vital to rekindle the flame! Do it heartily! Don’t overthink it either. If you contemplate the work or daydream about your progress or push it off until tomorrow, it will not aid you. Hard work helps you rekindle the flame.
If I had started thinking about all the things I would have to do to get back to where I had been before grammatically, I would have never started. I just had to jump in with both feet and get moving! I knew this was a separate project from writing the novel itself. This was to start before the novel, keep going while the novel was in progress, and continue into the next novel. I expect that this practice will never end. James Clear makes several good points with regards to overcoming personal challenges to staying motivated.
Here is where passion comes into the picture again. If I wasn’t passionate about writing, I would have already stopped. If this wasn’t what I was supposed to do, then I would already be on to something else. I love grammar. I love writing. Am I the best right now? No, but that isn’t even the point. Am I making progress? Leaps and bounds! This leads us into the next part.
Track Your Progress
There isn’t much more fulfilling than having a plan and working through it, except when you have a way to track your progress. I have a method for measuring my writing progress. I’ve mentioned it before in my novel updates. I review it every day during a project. I love making progress! Seeing progress in real-time is so helpful to crossing the finish line for my goals. Make sure you are able to properly measure your progress. It will be a mini-celebration all in itself! Pat yourself on the back when you do a great job! Don’t be too hard on yourself when you miss the bullseye, just focus on your goal and be diligent to continue.
There is a finish line to cross and a celebration to be had. You are the only person that can turn your dreams into reality. After all, they are your dreams. Think about how you can measure your own progress. I will speak more about tracking your progress in the next motivational blog.
To Rekindle the flame, you have to get real about your particular situation. It isn’t for the faint of heart. When you realize that your life isn’t going in the direction you had intended, then it is time to correct course.
This involves reflecting upon the past and making a plan for the future. It involves personal change, which can be hard. Being determined to change is key, especially when the going gets tough. A game plan with actionable and measurable steps will help turn your goals into milestone markers in your life. The best part about goals is that they are your goals. They are built around items of excitement, dreams, and what you want to accomplish. I’ve given you some actionable steps to rekindle the flame for your own dreams. Now, go get ’em!
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