This image really struck a chord with me this week. Many of us put such a brave face on for the outside world, and maybe it's only those close to us who really see the effort that goes into achieving our successes.
This can be in any area when we are working towards our goals. Perhaps you have started on a new health and fitness plan, or building a new business, working towards improving the relationships in your life, or wanting to change careers. Whenever we have dreams, it's often the challenges that help us learn the most, but there are also times when we may feel overwhelmed by all that is required to get there.
I spoke a little while ago on progress not perfection (you can read here) just getting started on tasks and making some movement, rather than not starting at all is such a positive step in the right direction. However what if we are in the middle of working towards our dream and just feel like giving up? That all the obstacles you face just seem insurmountable.
I have spoken with many friends recently who are mid way through building businesses, progressing through writing books, trying to get their feature films up, and some who are just endeavouring to improve their personal lives in a more positive way, but while none of them will let their dreams go, I know there has been moments of confusion, frustration, and to quote one last week "I just want to throw my computer against the wall".
It's made me think back over the past year or so, and all the twists and turns life has taken in growing a business, new education, and even just my own personal life and wellbeing goals. When reviewing all that has happened it has actually made me realize how far I have come, however it is only in retrospect, as there have often been times when I felt like there was no movement at all, or definitely slower and more challenging than I would have wished. And while I am still a long way from getting to where I finally want to be (a life long project really), it is good to be able to acknowledge that progress has been made. The same as I know how much progress my friends have made, even during their rough moments.
Whenever we are trying to reach outside of our comfort zones to grow and make improvements in our lives, there are always going to be challenging times and things arising that we don't expect, or happen the way we thought they would.
Reaching our goals is a constant process, we learn as we go along, it's step by step, and a lot of the joy can be in the journey, not just the destination, if we can approach things in a positive way. So I have spent some time this week thinking about all the ways that we can remain on track when things get tough, and how we can continue to develop onwards and upwards to reach our dreams.
Recognise the flow. Rather than concentrate on what isn't working, focus on the small ways things do flow, no matter how little they seem. Collected over time these can lead to big progress.
Have a mentor or coach to help you through the difficult times when you feel you just can't do it on your own. Often they can help you see more clearly as to the things that are positive and keep you motivated, often pushing you past the limits of what you might achieve on your own.
Make sure you have a good support network in place. Are your friends, family and relationships encouraging and supportive of your dreams? Surround yourself with the people that are going to help keep you optimistic, but be there without judgement on the days that life isn't going so well.
Find some role models that are doing the same thing as you wish to do, look at their success and how they achieved it. I can guarantee you this wasn't overnight and that it took time, dedication and effort. They will have had their days, and even months or years, where disappointments happened, but they have persisted on.
See challenges as opportunity. Perceived failures or mistakes (I prefer to call them challenges) can be looked at as a learning curve, and an opportunity to take note of the lesson and move on. Often it is these moments that can propel us towards something even better than what we thought originally.
Go through the doors that do open. Sometimes if the doors that we want to open remain closed no matter how hard we try, be available to looking at things another way. Look for the door that does open and see what is possible, rather than battle against the tide. Perhaps some are meant to stay shut for reasons we can't foresee in that moment, or maybe it's that they are to open down the track when the timing's right.
Disengage when necessary. At times when you are feeling low it's good to stay away from social media for a while. In general this is a tool for people to present their shining and happiest moments, and it's often not the reality of their lives. However even when you know this, it is difficult not to feel like everyone else is winning on social media platforms when you are down. Disengage for a bit and use your energy in a more positive way.
Take a break. If you are really feeling stuck maybe it is time to just stop for a moment and recalibrate. Taking a walk and getting out in some fresh air and clearing your head can have big benefits and spark ideas for how to approach things differently. Anyway that works for you to refresh for a while can be beneficial. Maybe it's even necessary to give it a day or so space and come back with fresh eyes. I always find the overnight test works wonders.
Sleep and re-set. When we sleep our brains stop the constant thought process, which actually gives us all an opportunity to literally re-set every day. When you wake, take some deep breaths and start by thinking a positive thought, then continue for two minutes before you get out of bed. This sets you up for attracting more positive thoughts and better experiences during the day. (I have a little post it note up at the moment in front of my bed that I see each morning to remind me of this - it works)
Visualise and experience emotionally what it feels like to have achieved your goal. Apart from the fact it feels great to put yourself in the state of feeling your success, it is shown to truly help us manifest our dreams. (For more on manifestation read - What If All Your Dreams Come True )
Believing your dreams are possible. Have faith that whatever it is in life that you want can become a reality. This is such an important part of the process of reaching your goals, because unless you believe it actually can happen, no matter how much work you do it will not materialize. Believing in yourself and what is possible goes along way, especially when things get tough.
Journaling and getting your feelings out on paper. This is for your eyes only and you can say whatever you want, don't edit! Get it all out, the ups, the downs, frustrations, even anger. It can help release the tension we are feeling and often assist us to see a situation much more clearly. You don't need to be neat or worry about grammar, it can literally just be scribble (remember no one is reading but you).
Show up for yourself. There is a tendency when we face difficulties or obstacles to feel like you want to walk away, but if every day you just literally show up and work through things that you are aiming towards, even when you don't feel like it, you can make a lot of progress. This can be sitting down at your computer for work even if you have no idea where to start, or putting yourself out there if you are trying to improve your relationships, or not ignoring that alarm that is going to get you to the gym if you are doing your best to get fitter.
The only way things are going to happen is to show up no matter how hard it may be. That Nike expression "Just Do It" is so true, and over time this will lead to more confidence that if you trust yourself to be there for you, that things will happen in the right direction.
Be kind to yourself. It is easy to fall into a pattern of beating ourselves up for mistakes we feel like we have made or when we are feeling inadequate, so please be kind on yourself. We are all just doing our best in this world, we all have our troubles or things we wish we may have done differently, but it is important not to get stuck in this thought pattern, love ourselves, be kind to ourselves and nurture ourselves through.
Be grateful for what you do have in the present. Take time to look around and remind yourself of all the great things you do have in life. I can guarantee there are many when you take the time to see them. I have set a little alarm that goes off on my computer at the same time each day to remind me to think of all the things I am grateful for... it may sound a bit corny but sometimes a little prompting never goes astray.
Celebrate the successes. Yes there is always more to do, but take time to enjoy the moments when you do achieve goals along the way. Get some friends together for a toast, buy yourself a little treat of reward, have a massage to relax, anything that is going to remind you that you have had a win and to congratulate yourself. Don't let these precious moments slip by without acknowledgement.
So no matter where you are in your stage of the journey, take a little time to reflect on all the incredible things you have achieved, a moment to re-focus on where you want to go, enjoy just where you are in the present and all the opportunities that are right here for you today, and keep on moving forward.