by Heather Martin, Copy Editor of VPG
My dad was a wordsmith, pure and simple. His vocabulary was expansive, his writing impressive, and his story-telling sublime. But life — career, marriage, five children — got in his way of writing a novel. He had always known the story in his mind, but he never got around to putting pen to paper until he was nearly 80. By that time, though, the process and the finished product were much different than when he had begun his dream in the 1970s. And so, while he did complete his magnum opus, he never managed to get the word, or the book, out, and ended up feeling like this dream went unfulfilled.
As 2023 ended, I found myself reflecting on this reality. My dad is gone, and so even if I successfully get his book out on Amazon or some other publisher, he will never know the joy of finishing a lifelong dream. This thought has given me pause for the last few months. I, too, have a life-long dream; in fact, I have the same life-long dream. And I have been just as hampered by all the things life has thrown at me. But I now have the example of my father, and I know that life passes quickly and if I wait too long, I too will never see the fulfillment of my dream. I desperately wanted to change this reality for myself. So, I decided to figure out how to do better.
In trying to figure this out, I came upon a great article by author Joshua Becker on how to make a dream become reality. He breaks it down into 7 easy-to-digest steps. All seven are worthy of listing, but in the interest of brevity, I will talk about the first two.
The first, and most important, is to select the dream. Becker says that we “have so many dreams swirling in our minds, we don’t know where to start.” Not knowing what dream to focus on can cause decision paralysis and make it impossible to begin. Conversely, simply knowing what dream to focus on can give us the impetus to start, I think. I used to start every year thinking of all the things I wanted to do and everything I wanted to accomplish, but the load was too a hand playing with blocks that say what we believe we become and what we daunting and nothing ever got done. This year, I will focus on the one dream that is most important to me and only that one.
The second is incredibly important as well. Becker says that one reason people do not achieve their dreams is because they “because they simply refuse to believe in themselves.” He goes on to say that “optimism is absolutely required for dream fulfillment.” Even now, as I am close to fulfilling my dream, I find myself thinking that I will not be successful, that I am not good enough, that no one will care. I realize now that I must get out of my own way, believe in myself, and allow myself success.
As you start this new year, I encourage everyone, whatever your age or your place in life, to pick one dream. Allow yourself the time and latitude to work on it and complete it. Know that you can succeed if you just try. So, the resolution for this year is: pick it, believe in it, and do it!
Reference: Becker, Joshua. “How to Fulfill Dreams.” Becoming Minimalist, 26 Feb. 2011