Wednesday, November 19

How To Reach Your Goals - Starting Today | by Danielle Dowling

Hey friends! I'm excited to share another great post from my friend Danielle today (who just barely got married!!), because her focus on empowering woman and finding our confidence is something that I love to push on my blog on a daily basis. So, I hope you enjoy this post, and don't forget that you can read more about Danielle at the bottom as well as find the link to download a free 12-page sample of her brand new book: ‘Soul Sessions: A 5-Week Guide To Crafting Greater Joy + Making Big Things Happen In Life’. You'll be so happy that you did! Definitely a book that everyone should own. xoxo
When I was in my twenties (and let’s be honest, early thirties) I probably filled 15 journals with Very Big Ideas and Plans That Would Change My Life. I’d sit on the tiny balcony of the apartment I shared with two friends, work through a few glasses a pinot, and scrawl list after list of things I wanted to do and places I wanted to go.

Lose 10 pounds!
Find the love of my life! (must have six pack)
Get a raise and an office with a window!

I had no shortage of Big Ideas but birthdays would come and go, the journal would fill up, and I’d be no closer to done than I was when first wrote that list.  

I spent years trying on different careers and different relationships, chasing big ideas without really getting anywhere or ever really crossing the big things off my Life To Do List.  I struggled to discover what I really wanted and I then I struggled some more trying to actually make it happen.

But when I turned 33 something finally clicked inside me. At 33 you are really, truly, actually an adult. I could no longer chalk up my lack of follow through to ‘my crazy twenties.’ All around me, friends were getting promoted at jobs they loved, marrying amazing people, and just generally growing up. It was high time I stopped fantasizing about the life I wanted and take action on some of those (many) lists and plans I’d been making.

But how does one go from a chronic list-maker and wisher to a doer? I read every self-development book under the sun. I cleared my mind and heart. Most of all, I spent four years earning my PsyD in Psychology.

These days, I wake up happy. I know what I want and - even better - I know how to get it. I know how to go from idea to done - in every area of my life.

I wrote about this (and lots of other great things) in my new book Soul Sessions: A 5-week Guide to Crafting Greater Joy and Making Big Things Happen In Life. Here, as a bit of a sneak peek, are five ways you can get started on making your dreams happen.

1. Make sure your idea is something you’re really, actually passionate about
Are you chasing this dream because it speaks to the very heart of you? Because you can’t imagine life without it? Because you don’t feel like yourself unless you’re doing this?

Or are you chasing it out of obligation? Or societal expectation? Before you get started, get honest with yourself about why you’re doing this.

2. Phrase your idea in an attainable way
It’s hard to reach a goal if you can’t recognized when you’re achieved it. When you’re talking about your dreams and goals, make sure there’s an endzone. “I want to sign a book deal,” “I want to buy a two-bedroom condo in Cathedral Hill,” “I want to do five pull ups.”
These are much more attainable than “I want to get in shape” and “I want to be successful in my field.”

2. Break that dream down into tiny steps
Don’t write “Quit job and travel for six months” on your daily to-do list. Write “renew passport” or “apply for Thai visa.”  You get the idea! When you make things small and attainable you’re more likely to stay inspired and on-track.

3. Hold yourself accountable
Give yourself deadlines. Tell your friends what you’re up to so they’ll ask about it. If necessary, spend money on classes, coaches, equipment. When you show the Universe you’re serious, life aligns itself with your desires.

4. Be gentle with yourself when you fall off the wagon (it’ll happen)
You’re gloriously, beautifully human. You’re going to miss the occasional spin class, eat the occasional donut, make the occasional impulse purchase. That doesn’t mean you’re incapable of reigning in your finances or getting healthy.

Dust yourself off and climb back on.

5. Celebrate little wins
You landed a new freelance client? Have friends over for brunch. Ran every day this week? You deserve a pedicure. Sent out 10 agent query letters? You deserve a nice meal out.  Your efforts deserve to be acknowledged!
Now that you know how you can get closer to your dreams, tell me: what’s always in the back of your mind? What do you want to do but keep telling yourself you don’t have the time for?
Yes, that.
It needs you and your spirit needs it.

Dedicate yourself to it.
Set your sights on it.  Get it in your crosshairs. You will not realize your dream if you keep giving your current, less-than-ideal-situation all of your energy and leaving your passion project to wait till you “find the time.”
Make it happen.
Because I am so completely convinced that you can make your dreams and ideas happen too, I created a pair of downloadable worksheets you can use to climb that ‘done’ mountain, one step at a time. Pop over check out my new book and download the Make It Happen: Daily, Weekly and Yearlyworksheets and start inching from idea to done.

Your life is waiting.

BIO: Dr. Danielle Dowling is a life coach and psychologist. Her book ‘Soul Sessions: A 5-Week Guide To Crafting Greater Joy + Making Big Things Happen In Life’ launched on November 2nd and she’d love it if you downloaded a free, 12-page sample here. Her goal is to motivate women to live inspiring lives; experience a life better lived and achieve their dreams whatever they may be. Connect with Danielle on Twitter and Pinterest.

Thanks so much for visiting and reading, and as usual I hope you have a great rest of your day! xoxo 
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  1. This post was wonderful. Very inspirational!
    Grace Anne

  2. Thanks so much for posting this! Just what I need today :)

    Every Day In Grace

  3. This sounds really awesome! I love love love goal setting and I always enjoy reading about new ways to set and achieve goals. Thanks for sharing! XO -Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

  4. thanks for sharing this post! it is a nice reminder of what it takes to move a dream to a goal. :)

  5. I've been thinking I'm alone in this wagon of "not getting anywhere".
    "Paralysis in Analysis" is what My Project Management Dr at university drums into Us.
    I guess it is utterly true.
    Thanks. I guess I needed this reminder. Well timed. The universe must be aligning :)!

    Loads of love, SJay!