Are You Hanging on to Expired Dreams?
Always remember, YOU have the power to change your life because YOU have the power to change your mind! ~Author Unknown
We live in a “Be all that you can be!” society, with mantras that drive us to cling to hope, whatever the obstacles, and never, ever, give up.
We’re encouraged to dream big and set goals, so we plan and we strive … but sometimes, our dreams remain just out of reach. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we never seem to get the right brakes.
And sometimes, we lose sight of why we wanted to achieve the dream in the first place. Still, we keep pushing forward because we don’t want to be labeled a quitter, or even worse, be accused of fearing success. After all, when was the last time you saw a motivational quote about the virtue of giving up?!
No question, goals and dreams are critical to keep us growing and improving. They prevent us from becoming stagnant and open doors to our full potential.
But could it be, that there times when letting go of a dream is actually the best thing you could do for yourself?
How do you know when it is time to let go of a dream?
When you’ve lost your passion.
When those nagging doubts in the back of your mind about continuing the pursuit of a dream just won’t go away, it’s time to take a close look at what’s really going on. It could simply be exhaustion from the constant struggle to succeed, or maybe, without even realizing it, you’re priorities have changed.
Take some time to revisit what made you so passionate about this dream in the first place. Maybe you just need to make a few minor changes in your strategy, or a slight course correction. But sometimes we hold on to a dream for so long that it becomes a part of us and, if we’re truly honest with ourselves, we will see that we’ve never really taken definitive steps to make it happen.
Priorities change, sometimes in such subtle ways we’re not even aware of it, so it’s important to regularly revisit your goals and dreams to make sure they still reflect all that you want for your life, or if it’s time to open the way for a new dream.
Opportunities are passing you by.
When we are passionate about our dreams and goals, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. Keeping your eye on the ball is critical to success, but being oblivious of everything else around you means that opportunities can pass you by. If you’ve been driving blindly towards your goal, lift your head from the grindstone once in a while!
When we just don’t want to admit we’ve changed our mind.
We’re encouraged to share our goals and dreams so that friends and family can cheer us on, and so that we feel the pressure of accountability. Yet that same process can keep us mired in a dream that has long since expired, rather than admit to all those near and dear to us that we’ve changed our mind.
Perseverance is a coveted trait, and at the same time, we can let it blind us from seeing other more fulfilling opportunities. If you are feeling torn about holding on to a goal, or letting go, the best thing to do is to stop looking for advice from others, and take the time to think about what’s right for you … you are the only one who can answer that question.
When you realize you’ve been chasing someone else’s dream.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how difficult it can be to break away from what others are saying you should do with your life. We inherit beliefs, goals, values, behaviors, attitudes and dreams from our families. For example, you may have chosen a career in medicine because it was your parent’s dream for you.
How do you know if you’re chasing your dream or someone else’s? Close your eyes and envision your ideal life. Be radically honest and brave. If the life you daydream about is different than the path you’re on now, it’s time to change course. It won’t be easy, but your real life is out there waiting for you to claim it!
Sometimes you simply have to admit it’s time to let go.
Hanging on to a dream long after it’s become obvious that it may have been unrealistic, or that nothing you do will make it come true, is a waste of a good life … and sometimes, letting go is the way to achieving the dream. Have you ever known a couple to give up on the dream of having their own child, adopted and then ended up pregnant? I have. Sometimes we hang on so tightly to a dream we actually end up blocking it!
And, sadly, sometimes we just really need to admit it’s time to move on. When that’s the case we need to give ourselves time to mourn the loss of the dream. Letting go of a dream will always feel bitter sweet. When that happens, it’s important to take your time, feel the sadness, or you may even feel enlightened. The amount of power freed by telling yourself you no longer choose to put energy into something you’ve struggled with for so long, can be remarkable.
Goals, passion, and drive are what keep us moving forward and developing as people, but there’s no shame in changing direction in your life. As we grow, our values change, as does our perception of success. It makes sense that our dreams and goals need to be adjusted from time to time, too. Only you know if your goal still makes sense to you.
If it doesn’t, don’t let anyone guilt you into hanging on to an expired dream, and don’t be afraid to walk away and figure out what you really want instead.
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