“Follow your dreams” is a mantra we hear so much it seems to lose it’s effect.
We’ve heard them all — we know we should “dream big” and “reach for the stars” and “get back on that horse.” As youth, we believed these things and did these things. As adults, following our dreams just isn’t as easy.
You may be surprised to know that the size of the dream doesn’t matter. Simply following the dream is crucial to your happiness — even if you fail.
In her book “The How of Happiness,” author and happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky says, “It turns out that the process of working toward a goal, participating in a valued and challenging activity, is as important to well-being as it’s attainment.”
I have outlined four different types of dreams we can identify and follow in our lives to find happiness.
These “little girl” dreams are the goals, hopes and wishes we’ve had in our hearts for as long as we can remember. Some of these dreams were realistic, and may have already been realized — like becoming a parent or finishing college.
Often, however, our childhood dreams don’t seem realistic at all. These are the dreams we had of becoming a ballerina, astronaut or famous actor. As impossible as these dreams now seem to us as adults, they are still rooted in truth and serious signs of our authenticity, giving us clues about what we love and where our talents lie.
Though your window of becoming a ballerina has passed, you may still find great joy and fulfillment in a recreational dance class. And if outer space still fascinates you, there are others ways you can learn and explore the stars that can lead to the development of your talents.
New dreams spark from new experiences we have or new interests we discover. These are dreams that have never before been on our radar but now suddenly we feel a great desire to follow through with them.
New dreams are often the gateway to bigger dreams and adventures.
Professional dreams are aspirations we have because of our workplace. We want to excel in sales, qualify for additional training, or make our way to management. These goals may have financial gain driving them and that is OK. In the right circumstances, money can be a great motivator.
Hobby dreams are goals we may have “on the side” of life. These are things that we can accomplish but don’t take over our career or date book for an extended period of time. Hobby dreams would include learning to garden, running a marathon, traveling, etc.
Will I tile again? Not if I can help it.
I’m glad I learned the skill — it’s something I always wanted to do. But that Hobby Dream had it’s time and place.
So how do you know what your dreams are and where to start? Grab a piece of paper or a notebook. Ask yourself questions like: What did I want to be when I grew up? What really interests me? What would I like to accomplish at work? What have I always wanted to learn or accomplish?
Then, as cliché as it sounds, make sure you follow your dreams.
This article originally published on KSL.com. Image from freedigitalphotos.net