"The time is always right to do what is right."
- Martin Luther King Jr.
What have you been waiting for? Is there something stopping you? Will you do the right thing when you have more money? more time? more space?
While I may not be someone who travels steadily towards my goals, I am an action person: I am the person who reads partway through the directions and decides to just get started. As you can imagine, this often gets me into trouble and causes missteps,but I also find that the action itself is what motivates me and moves me forward towards my goals.
Stop dangling your goals out of reach
It is so easy to see ours goals as constantly dangling out of reach, like a rabbit trying to get a moving carrot. The truth is, that we are often the people who place our goals out of reach. We are the ones who choose not to pursue them, and find obstacles that seem insurmountable. Have you ever said "I can't do that, I don't have enough ____?" What obstacles are you creating that stop you from achieving your goals?
For some of us, it is fear that holds us back, while for some of us, it's a sense of helplessness. Our culture has even coined sayings and set a standard of life that allows us to place our real goals out of reach. If you fill your life with the things that society considers normal and necessary, you may not have time, money or motivation to do the things that matter most. For many people, it seems that many of the goals we don't pursue are those goals that aren't valued by others.
Choose a goal that is important to you - big or small. What obstacles are in your way? Are they truly obstacles or are they obstacles you've created? Be honest. If other goals are obstacles, it's time to reassess (you can't move to a small rural farm and make a million dollars next year - well most of us can't, so get over it and move on). Dream big, but a healthy dose of reality means you may actually achieve those goals.
Break Down the Obstacles
If your obstacle is fear - fear of failure, fear of risk, fear of others' opinions, it's time to turn the fear around. What you should fear is regret. Use the fear of not doing and missing out on life to move you forward. Read Sheila's article above for some thoughts on using fear.
If your obstacle is helplessness, decide whether you can really achieve your goal? What would you need to do to make it happen? Maybe your dream is to move to a few acres and raise turkeys, but you are overwhelmed or feel that you'll never have the funds. Decide what you need in place to make your dream come true - and make it happen, not in 20 years, start making it happen now!
When I talk to people who are saying things like "next year I'll try this," or "when I have 'this' I'll be able to take the next step," the most common obstacles seem to be money, space, and time. Stop and look closely at those obstacles. How much money do you really, truly need to move forward? How can you find more time? How can you rethink your space, or move and start over? Do you need to make a drastic change in your life to achieve your goals, or is it a matter of re-prioritizing? The exciting part about looking honestly at the obstacles to your goals is knowing that there is potential - there is room to change.
When we travel through life, it is easy to link one dream to the next dream and move in a linear direction. For example, 'when we got chickens, we built a shed, then we had room for 2 goats but not enough for more, so instead of getting more goats, we decided to get ducks since they take up less room.' This progression often takes you exactly where you want to go. But what if my original dream was to have a goat farm? Sometimes our journey simply takes us in the wrong direction.
What truly makes you happy? Give yourself a blank piece of paper and rethink everything. Start fresh, dream big, and decide if this is really what you want. If you get to the end of your sheet of paper and decide that you are happy where you are, you are living your dreams, and you are right where you want to be, than you get to wake up tomorrow with this realization and fresh perspective. If instead, you get to the end and realize that you are way off track, than the time is right to make a change. Don't wait, make a change, take a step, whether it's a small one or giant leap, just get moving.
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Thank you to all those who share, learn and inspire me here each day. If you're looking for more thoughts about getting started achieving your homesteading goals, check out my (currently free) ebook: The Modern Homestead: a Guide to Starting Your Journey.