As long as I can remember, I’ve had a pretty high creative drive. If I wanted to write, I wrote. If I wanted to learn digital art, I took classes. If I wanted to be a better photographer, I played with all the settings on my camera and experimented. When I dreamed of taking my hobbies to the next level, I felt that nervous anxious feeling in my belly, and gave it a go anyway. I don’t have a traditional “J.O.B.” I am an artist and author. I can’t imagine doing anything else.


My son, despite being raised to follow dreams with bravery, stagnates. He continually speaks of what he really wants to do for a living, but he doesn’t consistently apply the effort. He feels stuck, and full of worry in his dead-end job. But when asked if he’s made progress on his coding projects, I get the proverbial eyeroll and a heavy sigh: “Yes, Mom. I’m working on it.” Then he’s off to his room and firing up a video game, chatting and playing with his friends, his dreams averted for another day.


This got me wondering…why? I don’t doubt that his desires are huge, that he wants to find success in a creative job he craves…monetizing his love for all things game, be it board, card, or video. But he has yet to complete anything in his ever-evolving list of ideas. When faced with free time to make things happen, he falters. So, what’s the difference between big dreamers with strong or weak motivational drives?


I think it comes down to fear. When a dream is larger than your fears, the ability to harness that deep desire grows. Maybe it’s simply a muscle we need to exercise. After a long talk with my kid, we came up with a list of things for him to try to make a change. I thought I’d share this with you.


  1. The take action challenge: For a month, work daily on your goals. Carving as little as fifteen minutes a day when you are busy with life, can be enough to jump-start your motivational drive. Be sure the time spent is productive, not staring at the wall and thinking about how things will feel when you finish. You can’t finish until you start. It takes one to two months to develop a habit. For thirty days, work on your goals without worrying about the end game. Results don’t matter until you have something solid started anyway.



  1. Go deep, soul-search spelunking. Ask why you hold your dream in your heart in the first place. Can you live a happy life without achieving your dream, or do you find yourself wallowing in regret? Love yourself enough to try, and not worry about success or failure. If your “why” is big enough, fears fade, and motivation grows. Especially if you have a sturdy work habit in place, from taking consistent action.


  1. Curb negativity. This one is difficult. We all house inner critics. I am not a psychological expert, but I find for me personally, gratitude trumps negative self-talk. Start a gratitude journal centered around the dream you are trying to create. Every time you work toward your goals, feel the positivity. Praise yourself. Share your achievement with a friend. Journal how good it feels. On down days, when fear and procrastination rise, read through the notes of your past success and how good it feels when you allow yourself to manifest your dreams into reality. Don’t dwell on the past. Look forward and carve a new future. Focus on what excites you about your dream, then begin. Make it happen.



  1. Be flexible but set solid goals. Life is unpredictable change. Fight for what you want as if there’s no tomorrow. We have no guarantees we will even wake up in the morning. If you want to write a novel, give yourself a year max to finish that first draft, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss your self-imposed deadline. This only leads to guilt, depression, and negative self-talk that stops you from finishing. There’s truth in that saying that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Make those plans. Live your life. Look for the dream creation in between. Evaluate your current path and clarify your priorities.


  1. Surround yourself with support. Accountability buddies for the win! My son has friends with similar life goals. They all have dreams but aren’t accomplishing them. Three are going to work together in tandem, taking an action challenge. At the end of the week, they will meet up in a group chat to discuss how well they did or did not do. No judgment, just support. Things are simpler if done in pairs or groups. Sustaining motivational drive alone is challenging, especially at the onset. Once habits are in place, progress is made, and things take shape, it becomes easier.


In the end, all that matters is that we live a life of joy that suits us. Do you have unfulfilled dreams? What steps do you take to work toward them? On a scale of one to ten, how strong is your motivation? Drop your numbers in the comments. Let’s chat.





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