After a lot of trail-and-error, I have a long list of habits I’ve exhibited in the past or still struggle with today that have kept me from grabbing ahold of my dreams. Today I’d love to share 3 of the most pressing ones with you, plus a few ways to combat them so they won’t stifle potential!
You knew this one would be on here, didn’t you? 😉 Television can be such a time-consuming, mind-numbing task. And that’s mostly why we do it, isn’t it? To numb ourselves. We watch television after a long day at work, when we are hoping to turn our brains off for a bit and just relax. But the harmful thing about too much television is that getting into a TV routine can lead to meaninglessness. I’m not saying that rest is meaninglessness – I believe having down time is important to a fulfilling life. However, if we are having TV time every day or even multiple days a week, are we really filling up our lives? Are we going to look back on our days and say, “Yes, I lived every moment well and accomplished all my goals?” Probably not.
One way to combat this:
These days I never watch TV unless it’s with other people. I treat my television time as a bonding activity – my friends and I love to watch The Night Of and The Bachelorette together, and it’s a fun excuse to get us all in the same room to laugh and talk and drink wine at least once a week. On these nights I’m developing my relationships with them, and I find that meaningful because these relationships matter to me. But I’ll never be found sitting in my room watching a show by myself.
2. Pursing What’s Expected Of Us
Yesterday I met a freshman in college. I asked him what he was studying in the hopes of sparking a conversation. He told me he was studying Economics and Business even though he hates it because his brother (who is not funding his education) wants him to. I internally cringed. Don’t get me wrong – Business and Economics can be stimulating, fulfilling fields for many people. Plus the job market for these majors typically leads to lucrative careers, and being able to financially provide for oneself and others brings some people meaning. But I would not advise anyone to pursue anything they did not personally find meaningful. I couldn’t help but wonder if later down the line the freshman would kick himself for pursuing what his brother expected of him rather than what he truly found passionately engaging.
One way to combat this:
A friend of mine is combating pressure to live a certain way. After graduating from college he got married and started a job working as a teacher, but he found that he hated what he did and wanted to make a change. One of his goals in life was to write a book but he’d never had the extended amount of time it would take to focus on this. Since his wife was able to financially provide for them both with her post-college career, my friend quit his job and devoted himself to writing full-time. He knew that many people would come to question this decision. He’d just gotten a college degree and gotten married, after all! Shouldn’t he be putting food on the table and using his education? But my friend decided to set all the judgement and expectations aside and keep his eyes on what mattered to him – writing this book. And if you ask him if he regrets taking the non-traditional path, he’d say no in a heartbeat.
3. Being Too “Realistic”
When I was a little girl I would sit on the swing set in my neighborhood and pretend I was the first female President or Mia Hamm, the best female soccer player of the 90s and early 2000s. It seems silly, but those were my goals – I was so amped about them. But when I told one of my friends at school about it, she told me to stop being so unrealistic. To her, those aspirations were far too high for me to reach. I was so bummed out! I stopped thinking about politics or soccer as career routes and focused on other, more “realistic” goals. I think we do this too often as adults, too. We think that we’ll never be able to make it as an actor or get that dream promotion, so we stop reaching for it and set our sights on things that are more easily attained. But doing this stifles our potential. Who is to say we can’t if we think we can? Why not you?
One way to combat this:
Every time I start to worry that I won’t be able to accomplish something, I think to myself, “Why not? Just because you’ve never done it before means you can’t do it at all?” For some reason this really motivates me. Finding a mantra you can repeat to yourself when you start to get discouraged from whatever high hopes you have can push you through.
I have loads more habits I work on every day, but I’d love to hear from you. What are some habits you fight against that threaten to get in the way of your dreams?