Back when we were younger, we aspired to be astronauts, cowboys, and movie stars. We got a little older, reality kicked in, and perhaps we aspired to own companies, travel the globe philanthropically, or work toward a string of degrees. An internship turned into a job, a job turned into a mere 9-5, and now here you sit, scratching your head and wondering where you took a wrong turn and veered off the path. It’s difficult to align your passion with what’s realistic, and people often rationalize this by saying they’ll do more to get back to where they always thought they’d be tomorrow.
If this is the position you’re in, read on for a list of tips for getting back up on that horse and galloping off into the sunset:
Put yourself in the younger You’s shoes, and think back to what it was that you wanted and had been working toward. Move forward from there and try to determine where it was that you strayed from where you were going. Then take a harder look at what it was that got you off course. Was it something trivial? Was it something life altering? This will help you later on when you reevaluate what it is that you want and determine how to get where you are going.
2. Reflect and Reevaluate
Perhaps you lament giving up on your passion, but have you really stopped to think about whether or not you still want the same things? It’s easy to romanticize the past and your childhood dreams, but you’ve matured over time and likely have different priorities now. Perhaps it’s a family; maybe it’s a move across the country; it could be any number of things. Just make sure to pause and realign yourself.
3. Identify Your Roadblocks
Once you figure out what dream you’re shooting for – whether it’s an old or a newly-created one – determine what it is that’s stopping you from getting there. If it was easy, you probably would have done it by now. Consider obstacles that are both tangible and intangible, such as emotional state.
4. Map Out a Course
Next figure out where it is that you want to be, and how you will get there. Bear in mind that this might require you to make sacrifices. An effective way of doing this is to consider your end goal, and then to think about that step lying right before getting there that you need to take. Continue looking backwards until you get to where you are now. This is a useful way of looking at things because it forces you to look far ahead.
5. Pace Yourself
It’s not easy to make a big change, and so it’s important to move forward at a pace that is comfortable to you. If the process is too overwhelming, you may have a difficult time getting started in the first place, so start slow if you need to.
6. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Just as it was important before to envision your dream and how that fit into your life, it’s important to consider how reaching that dream will affect you in the long term. You don’t want to reach your goal, only to realize that you’re either dissatisfied, or that it doesn’t fit into the other things that are important to you. It’s always important to consider every angle of a big change before you make it!