How to Pursue Your Dreams When Life is too Busy

“Find a way.” Diana Nyad

When the Fault in the Stars book and film were all the rage, my daughter use to joke that I was a low-key version of the mom who had encouragements all around her house.

As much as I love and believe in the power of inspirational words, I also know what it feels like to read this and think, “Sure, I’ll walk with the dreamers with the 15 minutes I have in my day after the job and kids, and meals and extracurricular…and the dog, who is akin to a lifelong toddler. Not to mention, trying to save our democracy from the grips of authoritarianism.”

Even though life IS busy, I have found a way – even in the midst of crazy busy – to pursue purpose-filled dreams.  Here’s what works for me; I hope you find it helpful as well!

  1. Know your goal and write it down. Make your goal clear and actionable. Even if you have a big vision, break it down into chunks that can be accomplished in three to six months. Then write it down and read it every single day. If you don’t know what your goal is try this exercise to get started. 
  2. Decide. I know this sounds trite. However, if you decide no matter what you are going to spend time on this goal every day, then when the unexpected happens in your day, you’ll still find a way to take a step toward your goal.
  3. Feel your purpose. Although you don’t need a five, ten or even a one year detailed plan, research shows that having a purpose behind your goal which is significant and meaningful to you personally and will make the world a better place increases your likelihood of making it happen. In other words, know your why and yup, write it down.
  4. What are you so busy doing? Create space for your goal. Look at your daily activities. What are you willing and able to cross off your list. Nothing is exempt. Are there volunteer activities that now feel hollow to you? Can you hire a house cleaner, even once a month? Delegate chores to family members? Are there some good or okay ways that you spend your time that you are willing to sacrifice for this dream?
  5. Use the power of daily microsteps. What two to three infinitesimal steps can you take to get started? Break your goal into small, microsteps and dedicate time every day to it. When my kids took music lessons the instructor use to say he’d rather a musician spend five minutes a day practicing than cram an hour of practice into one day. Write down your microsteps the night before and commit to spending time – even if it’s five minutes to start – dedicated to your goal.

Life is busy. It’s true. But one or five or ten years from now, I can say confidently that you’ll regret not making time for what matters most to you beginning now.

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