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The Problem with “Follow Your Dreams” | Psychology Today

Pray to God and ask Him to help you on your journey towards your dream. Ask Him to help you see how your dream can fall in line with His dream for you and how it can bring Him honor. I am going through a lot of anxiety and tension right now about what I want to do in the future.

James, your desire to teach English in Korea sounds like a call from God. Sounds like God is shaping you. I have failures in my life, unfair things has happened and a divorce. I only feel sadness. Your email address will not be published. Want to know more about a God who has big dreams for you? Learn More About God. Comments I am going through a lot of anxiety and tension right now about what I want to do in the future.

You will need a plan for each and every smaller stage in your long-term goal. Some will come later. The important thing is that you are organized, know what has to be done, and see how your daily or weekly tasks fit into the larger picture. Break it into smaller parts and plan!

Practice self-discipline. One of the key traits of ambitious people is that they are able to stay focused on goals. This requires self-discipline. Develop habits that further your goals. Wake up earlier, for instance, or, for the budding professor, read literature in your spare time. At the same time, nix habits that are undermining you. If you are constantly distracted by the internet, turn off your wi-fi when you need to work.

Make the time. If urgent tasks are keeping you from your plan, make time to devote to your goals. Wake up earlier and spend an extra hour on it every day. Use your spare time on weekends or in the evenings. Review your goals periodically. While on the road to your long-term goals, you should periodically review where things stand. Sometimes, we find that our wants and desires change over time. It might be time to rethink your goal. Sometimes goals need a complete reboot. You may have to reassess what you want in life.

2) Do It For Yourself

Go back to your long-term vision and ask whether anything has changed. Reconsider your ambitions. At other times, our goals might only need minor tweaks.

The curse of the ‘great idea’

Say you took a killer class on comparative literature in college. You still want to study English, but also Spanish literature. Celebrate progress. Part of the joy of achieving your dream is in the ride. Enjoy it. Make sure to celebrate when you move a bit closer to your long-term goal. Go out for a fine dinner — with champagne! Whether large or small, celebrating progress better allows you to stay motivated and to keep your eyes on the long-term prize. Some studies show that we get more motivation if we see these steps as learning opportunities rather than just as a means to our goal.


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Keep focused on your goals. Focus is how we stay on task with a given object, goal, or activity for a long amount of time. Focus can be easy when it comes to short-term goal, which have a quick pay-off. For long-term goals, however, it can be harder to sustain your motivation. Try to keep your focus sharp. Remind yourself of what you are doing in moments of doubt.

Think about why you want to achieve your goal in the first place. Keep your long-term vision in the forefront. Surround yourself with motivators. Use the people around you to advantage. Surround yourself with friends, relatives, co-workers, and peers whose option you trust and who bring out the best in you. They can provide an invaluable support network or even give you a needed critique.

Listen to them. Try to be humble enough to recognize any mistakes that they point out.

Think realistically. Highly motivated people are usually realistic thinkers. That is, they understand that success might take a long time or even years. They also recognize that progress will come slowly and that, even after all of their work, there is a chance of failure. Instead, it allows you to temper your ambitions with reasonable expectations.

A budding professor should know that many people never reach this goal. Most never finish school. Others complete a Ph. Knowing this ahead of time is good — it will help you to cope in case of failure. Cope with failure. Reality soon set in. I needed to take whatever job I could secure with my new degree, and that happened to be a full-time position as a marketing writer for one of the dreaded soulless corporations.

Looking back three years later, I was actually incredibly fortunate to land a full-time job with benefits so soon after college. But coming from a tiny little pocket of educational and financial privilege, I felt that I had sold out completely. Most of my college friends were pursuing MFAs or travelling the world subsidized by parents, loans, or a combination of both.

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I was headed to a cubicle churning out ad copy. I viewed their existence through the rosy lens of social media, and seethed with envy as I sat at my desk looking at the beautiful scenery or solitary cup of coffee they were somehow enjoying at am on a weekday. Every day, I left work feeling drained, defeated, and filled with the sinking feeling that I was accomplishing absolutely nothing of value.

I went back to school for alumni weekend and looked at all of the happy undergraduate students, blissfully unaware of the real life drudgery that awaited them. I sincerely felt that the best days of my life were behind me.

Why It's Important to Follow Your Dreams

Of course now I know that this was a wonderful employee benefit, but at the time all I wanted to do was be in graduate school full-time, and I was resentful of the hour work week I needed to put in to make it happen. I loved my courses, but it turns out three-hour writing workshops are less creatively stimulating when I had to drive 45 minutes in post-work rush hour traffic to get there instead of lazily waking up from my mid-afternoon nap and walking across a beautifully manicured lawn. I envied students who took out loans and worked part-time at coffee shops so they had enough time to really hone their written craft.