‘A promise made is a debt unpaid.” — Robert Service
Time passes quickly. The days become weeks, and the weeks become years. Have you ever thought back to the dreams you once had? If you set aside your dreams for your list of a million-other-things and decided to wait for your turn or for the planets to align, part of you probably feels you haven’t been true to yourself. No one else is going to be disappointed if you don’t accomplish your goals; this is your own promise to yourself.
Maybe you learned to let go of some of them and create new dreams. But it’s possible there is one promise you made to yourself that you can’t abandon. Some dreams feel like a dull ache that surfaces from time to time. That ache serves as a reminder that there’s still time to pursue them. They can’t be ignored forever. So whether your promise is to open a business, continue your education, write a book or give back to your roots, the time to do something about it is now.
Through the years, my readers have shared their hopes and dreams with me. Most of their goals aren’t far-fetched, yet fear, lack of savings and everyday life often stand in the way. They think their dreams won’t ever become reality, or they are stuck on where to start so they don’t start at all. I want you to get started.
Map it out
Make a list of short-term and long-term goals. Be as specific as possible. What action can you take today toward your goal? Do you know what information or knowledge you need? Can you make some phone calls? Do research online or at the library? Take a class? Do it. Seeing it written down will bring life to your goal, and taking even a baby step is going to energize you.
Know what blocks you
Fully grasp what blocks your progress. Think of ways to clear the hurdles. If it’s lack of time, then your short-term goal can be to manage your time better so it’s no longer an issue. If it’s lack of money, then your goal can be to start saving. Frugality can help with that. If it’s fear, it’s time to confront what frightens you. The important part is planning for roadblocks that can get in the way — whether they are put there by yourself or others.
Believe in your dream. Picture it in your mind. Express your commitment to your promise. You really have to want it and choose it to achieve it. Start by making small promises on a regular basis to gain confidence.
Create a deadline
Equally important as getting started is setting a deadline for your goal. This will prevent procrastination and will help you stay committed. If you think it’s going to take years, then set up mini-objectives and deadlines. Reward yourself when you hit milestones. Be determined and regularly make the time to work toward your goal. No one said it would be easy, but take the words “I can’t” out of the picture. Replace them with “I promise to,” and be specific.
Check on your progress and be prepared for compromise or changes. You might decide you need more or less time, or that you need to change direction. You owe it to yourself to try to fulfill the promise you intended to keep when you made it. Are you ready? Pay off that debt!
Sara Noel is the owner of Frugal Village (www.frugalvillage.com), a Web site that offers practical, money-saving strategies for everyday living. To send tips, comments or questions, write to Sara Noel, c/o United Media, 200 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, NY 10016, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara Noel, Syndicated Columnist
‘A promise made is a debt unpaid.” — Robert Service
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