Personal Growth By Vishnu A year from now you may have wished you had started today. Karen Lamb I’ve always wanted to write and share my life experiences on getting the life you want. Yet, for years, I could never start. I looked at the lives of writers like J.K. Rowling or Paulo Coelho, and admired what they had done. I looked at what Chris Guillebeau, Leo Babauta and other bloggers like Steve Aitchison were doing online with their writing and wished that I could do the same thing. After years of not doing anything, I realized that there were some differences between the writers I admired and myself. I also noticed that what prevented me from achieving what they had achieved had little to do with natural ability and more to do with mindset. I was holding myself back from writing because I didn’t want it enough. And even if I wanted it enough, I wasn’t starting on it. What’s stopping you from living your dreams? What’s stopping YOU from starting? Here are 7 roadblocks standing in your way: 1. Taking action on the life you want. You may enjoy daydreaming or imagining what’s possible, but not taking action on your idea or vision. Ideas are, indeed, a dime a dozen. Even your most brilliant idea of what’s possible for yourself means absolutely nothing if you don’t take action on it. Dreams are fueled by action, but here’s how things usually go. You have a brilliant idea. Then you think about the nuts and bolts of it. Then you think about all the challenges it poses. Before you know it, you’re filing it away in your brain’s “great ideas” file, which you hope to start on “someday.” Except someday never arrives. And your “great ideas” mental file is overflowing with brilliant ideas that could change the world and transform people’s lives. The world loses out. You lose out. You don’t need to do everything. You just need to do one thing today: START. Today, take the smallest step you can imagine. Take a slightly bigger one tomorrow. Keep going. 2. Holding yourself accountable. Once you’ve started, in order to succeed, you have to hold yourself accountable. What does accountability mean and who do you have to be accountable to? Accountability is simply doing what you said you’re going to do. The only person you have to hold accountable is yourself. Some of us become overwhelmed by goals. If you’re one of those people who hates goals, be intentional about doing something you’re passionate about every day. Instead of a goal being “complete an eBook in a month,” let the goal be “writing every single day.” If you have a goal of becoming more mindful, try a couple of minutes of meditation on the daily. If you would like to run a 5K, commit to running 1K every couple of days. Have you noticed how the super successful people get stuff done? They figure out what they’re going to do and how they’re going to do it, then they commit to doing it. They rely on the simple mantra, “I’m not going to let myself down. I’m going to do what I said I’m going to do.” Other top performers rely on teachers, mentors and coaches to hold themselves accountable. Set mini-goals for yourself that you can achieve daily. If you’re facing resistance doing something or not being regular on that task, take a step back and examine it. Ask yourself, “What is the resistance I’m facing? What can help me remove the resistance?” 3. Putting yourself out there. When you have a dream or vision, it often requires that you put yourself out there. Many people have their dreams quashed because they feel crushed when other people make a judgment or have an opinion on whatever it is they’re doing. Being vulnerable or sharing your creative or entrepreneurial projects with others is a scary thing. We tend to care way too much about what other people think. A lot of what I write about is very vulnerable stuff, but I feel that I have to go there in order to help other people live their lives more honestly and authentically. I know that my writing could be seen as too invasive, too personal and sometimes uncomfortable. I could never hit the publish button if I thought about what others would think of my writing. Be willing to put yourself out there knowing that at the end of your life, the people you think are going to care about what you’re doing won’t matter. There will always be people who think ill of you or be willing to criticize you. You have to start looking within instead of looking around. Do the things and take the action that’s important to you, regardless of what other people think. 4. Not having a strong “why.” Are you one of those people who starts many new projects but never completes them? You have the brilliant ideas; you even get started on them, but never get to day 2 or day 3 or day 4. Your success depends a lot on two things – first, the reason you’re doing what you’re doing, and second, doing it consistently. To stay consistent, you have to get to your “why.” Why are you doing what you’re doing, and does your dream or project resonate with your being? In other words, do your values support your dream? Is your dream something that’s important to you, something that’s fulfilling to your life? Get clear within about why it is that the dream you’re building is important to you. Make sure it’s not something you read about in the papers or on a blog. Just because it’s something that someone else is doing doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Get hyper clear on your why so that you won’t give up on it after a couple of days. If your project stays true to what’s important to you, you’ll feel like working on it more. Stay consistent by building up a habit of working on your project or dream daily. Do something small, but do it regularly. Do it at the same time every day and elevate its level of importance. Once you know how your actions tie themselves to your life’s dreams, stay at it. Prioritize your habits. Tell your circle of peers what you’re doing and be accountable to them. If you fall off the horse and slack for a week or month, just go back to where you started and keep going. 5. Fear of failure. You’re likely not starting your next project or working on your dream because you fear failure. You don’t want to start anything – a career, a dream or an ambitious goal – without knowing how it’s going to turn out. You see all the obstacles and challenges. You read about people who failed and look at the statistics of what doesn’t work. You don’t want to waste your time, money and energy on resources for a failed project. Unless, of course, you come to see that there are no failures. Not even in failure. Working on your dream by itself is a success. The ability to do your heart’s calling or follow your dream is meaningful by itself. Creating, building or hustling on your dream can never be a failure. Failure means refining your dreams and your goals. Failure means experience. Failure means learning. Failure means you tried. Failure means living a life without regret. If you’re able to change your perspective of what failure means, you’ll start more often and look forward to failing. The more you fail, the more you know what doesn’t work and what it’s going to take to succeed. 6. Wanting to know all the answers. When you take on an ambitious new project, launch a business or release an eBook, you want to know all the answers ahead of time. You’ll want to know how long it’s going to take. What suppliers or vendors you need to use. What legal issues or government entities could throw a wrench in your plans. You want someone to tell you ahead of time whether your idea is going to be a smooth sail or rocky seas. Here’s the thing – while it’s natural to want psychic abilities ahead of time, you’ll never know the future without arriving at the future. And to arrive at the future in style, focus on the present. You have a present-moment gift that trumps any obstacle or challenge your dreams could face: your intuition. Instead of focusing on future problems and circumstances you have no control over, be intent on listening to the inner voice that carries wisdom and advice in every moment. Your inner voice is your mentor, guide and fortune teller. Allow it to answer the questions you face. Allow it to guide you to your success. 7. Being comfortable where you are. If you’re too comfortable where you are today, you’re not going to start on your dreams. Comfort will bury them. If you’re too comfortable, you won’t have the motivation or desire to make changes. If I had insisted on writing journal entries or writing for myself instead of being public with my writing, I would not have started writing for others. If I had been too comfortable in the jobs I’ve had, I wouldn’t have quit them to spend months at a time working on my writing. Change is uncertain, unknown and uncomfortable. We would all rather hold onto what is than work toward what can be. We know how things are, but we have no idea about the unknown. If you’re ready to make changes in your life, you have to be willing to go to places you can’t see yet. You have to be willing to sacrifice and take risks. You have to be willing to work hard and try new things. Fear will keep you where you are today. Risk will propel you forward toward the life you had imagined. About the author: Vishnu writes a personal development and spirituality blog for people starting over in life. To sign up for weekly posts, visit www.vishnusvirtues.com. For his books on relationships and heartbreak, visit his Amazon page here.