The pressure to conform is everywhere. People want you to be what they think you should be. This pressure can come from parents, media, the workplace or even friends. But the fact is you are in control of your life. Therefore, you decide what’s best for it.
Chances are, there are things you want to do in life, right now, that you aren’t doing. Think about it for a moment and pick one that really sticks out in your mind. Now follow these steps to set you on the path to do what you want.
Step 1: Find Out What’s In Your Way
Take that one thing you really want to do. What’s stopping you? Think about this for a while and note everything that comes to mind. For example, let’s say you want to travel for six months. In this case, money, work responsibility, family pressure and fear could hold you back. Each one of these can be overcome.
Step 2: Overcome Your Obstacles
In the above example, money is a problem. This might be debt which can be paid off. Paying off debt might take awhile, but it is an obvious solution to the problem. Cut expenses, take a second job or sell things to get your debt to zero. Once the debt is paid off, all you need is enough for a plane ticket to where you want to go since there are ways to earn money while traveling.
Solving the money problem would also solve the work responsibility problem. You don’t need one anymore for awhile. The next real problem is family pressure and fear. These are very similar problems. Family pressure in this case would probably result from their fear for you.
All this takes is reassurance. Just remember it is your life. You decide how you’re going to live it. Reassure your family, friends and yourself this is important to you and you have thought this through. Find people who support your decision since it will help you in the long run.
The reasons that hold you back can also be overcome. After you list all the things that stand in your way, figure out what you need to do to remove them. Sometimes the solution is obvious and other times not. Keep at it and figure a way around these obstacles.
Step 3: Face Your Fear
Your fear will probably be the biggest obstacle to doing what you want. Remember these words from Mark Twain, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from that safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
If fear is just one of those issues you can’t overcome, than you need to learn to take risks. If you’re not much of a risk taker yet or are having trouble with fear, than read my article on how to become a risk taker. You’ll never eliminate fear entirely, but you’ll be able to control it so it won’t hold you back.
Step 4: Follow Through
Keep working on the things you want. Everything worth doing takes time and effort. It will be easy to loose sight and focus on doing what you want to do. It’s likely the things you really want to do, but haven’t done yet requires real work to achieve them. Stay focused on getting to the end result.
Be aware of excuses. Mostly likely, you’ll come up with several excuses or “reasons” you can’t do what you want. This is just fear. You need to realize excuses hold you back.
You might not be aware that excuses are blocking your path to do what you want. How do you know if you are making them? If you’re reason for not doing something starts off, “I would do this except….” or “I couldn’t do that because…”, that’s a warning sign. What follows in those sentences are very likely excuses.
Excuses are used as a defense mechanism. You’re defending yourself from failure. If you don’t try then you don’t fail. This thinking must change! You need to take risks. Now.
Step 5: Be Realistic
The final thing to remember is you need to approach what you want realistically. You have the power to do most anything, but not everything. If you want to become President of the United States and you’re still in High School or if you want to become an Olympic gold medal gymnast and you’re thirty, you have to change your goal.
In the above example, the thirty year old will have to face the fact that they won’t become an Olympic gold medal gymnast. It is just not possible at that age. A more reasonable goal of becoming a good amateur gymnast should be used.
On the other hand, the high school student should take his goal of becoming President and divide it into smaller steps to see how to reach it.
First he should set goals such as going to college and then law school. Once that is done he can make a goal of getting into politics. And from there, continue to make goals to progress as far as he can.
Remember that you can’t jump from novice to expert. There is always middle ground. If what you want to do is a big jump like this, than break it up or else you will just frustrate yourself and give up. And that’s the last thing you want to happen.