So you want to travel around the world / write a book / start a company / create a masterpiece. We all have big dreams. Some people work slow and steady toward those dreams and achieve them, while others seems to have an overnight success that makes us jealous. But the majority of us just never make a move toward that dreamy goal.
- “Too many people are depending on me”
- “I’ve invested too much time/money/effort in my current life”
- “If only I were 10 years younger”
- “What will other people think?”
- “I don’t have time”
The truth is that we can all start working toward our big goals right this very minute, but that’s not the point of this article. What I’m going to suggest to you is the lazy girl’s option for creating big change in your life.
Start small. Really small. In fact, it doesn’t even need to have anything to do with your big goal. Challenging your status quo will wake you up to the possibilities and show you that change is not as scary on the inside as it is looking at it from the outside.
Claim Your Excuse
It may or may not be in the list above, but you definitely have an excuse. Even if you are on the path to your dream you may run into the same stumbling block over and over. Figure out what your excuse is and why it matters so much to you.
One of my issues (oh yes, you can have more than one!) is fearing what other people with think. And when you decide to sell everything you own to travel the world you will get opinions from friends and family as well as total strangers. Your skin has to be thick sometimes.
To combat this issue, I’ve taken up a series of smaller changes that focus on putting myself out there in ways that are uncomfortable to me and that invite judgement from others. One was training for the half-marathon. The other was dyeing my hair blonde this past weekend.
You see, I’ve talked about doing this for a really long time. And I’ve been coloring my hair in shades of red and brown for years now. But I could never make the leap to blonde because:
- People wouldn’t take me seriously
- I’m too old for such a drastic change
- It might look terrible
I toyed with dyeing it before the race and chickened out. Then I kept talking about it and Warren encouraged me to do it, but I found excuse after excuse to not do it. Finally, he said “you’re not usually the type of person to back down from what you want to do.”
And you know what? He’s right. (This is where I could pull out my Lady Gaga quote from a couple of weeks ago: “Bitch, you’re Betsy Talbot and you will rock that blonde hair!”)
Pick a Gutsy Minor Change
Last weekend Warren and I both dyed our hair blonde. (Isn’t he great for doing this with me? Especially when I did not ride naked in the parade with him?)
It was a fun afternoon, and neither one of us were permanently damaged by it. Most of the feedback has been good, and even when people don’t necessarily like it, they like the idea that we were adventurous enough to try it. And you know what? I just might keep it this way.
Warren faced the exact same fear when he rode naked in the Solstice Parade last month. It’s all about pushing your comfort zone in a minor way (well, public nudity might not be so minor where you live!) in order to impact the bigger changes you want to make in your life.
It also makes sense. If you are not willing to face public criticism for the color of your hair, will you be able to face it when you tell people you are selling your house and quitting your job to travel? Or starting your own company? Or writing a book?
So pick your challenge: dye your hair, paint a room bright red, or even chop your hair off into a really short ‘do. Perhaps you can even sell your fancy car for a second-hand one to stop keeping up with the Jones’, or decide to live without cable for a month to concentrate on other things.
Just pick something that will help you get over your fear. You may have to do more than one thing, or engage in a series of things, to keep your momentum going.
Evaluate the Feedback
This is the anticlimactic part. The part that you were dreading that is really No.Big.Deal. Seriously, you will kick yourself for worrying about this consequence so much. Hair grows back. Rooms can be repainted. Cars can be bought and sold and replaced. And cable can always be turned back on (believe me, they’ll even give you a discount to get you back).
If you have big goals in mind, you are going to face challenges, criticism, and setbacks. And if you can’t even weather it with a small change, then maybe you need to rethink your goal.
But I’m betting that you’ll rock that new hairstyle, live it up in your new red room, and think of all the money you’re saving while driving around in your used car or getting things done because you aren’t watching television for 5 hours every night.
Can you think of a minor change that would motivate you to accomplish your bigger goal?