I just finished a two-mile walk and it brought a smile to my face to notice the first signs of spring making an appearance – little red buds on the trees and temperatures cool enough to remind you it’s definitely not summer, but warm enough to coax you out of the house for a stroll outdoors. It is a reminder that something new is on the horizon: transition is in the air. And the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection during this season is a reminder that in the face of life’s seemingly unbearable challenges, passion and destiny can renew our hopes and dreams – bringing them back to life in a new season.
So as we enter spring, I have a question for you:
In what area of your life is it time to renew your hope and embrace a fresh start?
In my work with hundreds of clients around the world, I have discovered that when you stop hoping, you start settling. You downsize your real dream in favor of something that requires a little less faith. Instead of writing that novel you’ve dreamed of, you bury yourself in reading more novels. Instead of letting go of that toxic relationship, you make excuses for staying in it. Instead of tackling the seemingly insurmountable pile of debt, you dig a deeper hole by buying stuff to make it appear your finances are in stellar shape. In essence, you bury your dream in favor of a counterfeit.
For some, this lack of hope is a result of a phenomenon psychologists call “learned helplessness.” It occurs when after making an effort and not seeing results, you come to the conclusion that nothing you do matters anyway, so why keep trying? But for an even greater number of people, it isn’t that they are doing everything they can and nothing is working. Instead, they are afraid to take a step towards their biggest dream – out of fear it won’t happen. So they remain stuck – not trying anything, not speaking up, not going for it! If that’s you, remember this: It’s not the things we do wrong that we most regret in life. It’s the things we wanted to do, but never bothered trying.
I believe our paths have crossed on this page for a purpose: There’s a dream you need to resurrect and now is the time to get started. Consider these four strategies for inner renewal. Do one or do them all. But please, do something. Take a step into a new season.
Make space for what you want
Have you ever noticed that when you clean off your desk, suddenly you feel like you tackle anything? That’s because clutter is an outward manifestation of what’s going on inside. Do some spring cleaning. Make room for new and good things to enter your space – and amazingly, they show up.
Spend some time outdoors
Research shows that nature restores your mind just as food and water restore your body. Daily activities in urban and suburban environments – such as driving, dealing with difficult people and workplace stress — deplete you. Getting back to nature restores and grounds you. So go to the park or the beach, an open field or your own backyard – and breathe. As you get centered and quiet the noise of life, your dreams will whisper to you. Listen.
Set just one goal
In this new season, pick one goal. Not 10. Just one. Too many goals can lead to something researchers call “goal fatigue,” in which you deplete the amount of energy you have to reach a goal.
Create accountability and anticipation
Surely you know at least one other person who is ready to renew a long-buried goal. Tell them your goal and ask them theirs. Then make a plan to hold each other accountable – whether it’s a weekly phone call, monthly lunch date or daily prayer time together. And create milestone celebrations as you get closer to your dream. Having something to look forward to is a proven way to boost your happiness and keep you on track.
So, what dream will you resurrect this season?
Valorie Burton is the bestselling author of eight books, including ‘Successful Women Think Differently’ and ‘Your 5-Minute Personal Coach.’ Follow her on twitter @valorieburton or take her free DreamStarter assessment at www.valorieburton.com.