Bridging your current and dream life is an exciting concept.
The way I see it, it’s like building a bridge made of carefully placed wooden planks one by one, so you can go from one shore to the other.
These exercises are about building a bridge patiently but strategically, where the wooden planks represent action steps that’ll take you where you want to be.
Living your dream life, a life you feel proud of, isn’t something that happens by chance.
On the contrary, people who live according to their dreams have probably been working on that dream for years.
They’ve been planning and making progress towards their goals week after week.
However, some people swear that to change their lives, they need to make massive, radical changes all at once.
They think unless they make monumental changes, their lives are going to stay the same forever.
In reality, that’s not the case; small but steady changes bring the best results.
[bctt tweet= “Small but steady changes bring the best results.” username= “aimlief”]
In this post, I’ll share with you some engaging journaling exercises you can use to see what’s standing between who you are today and who you want to become.
Keep in mind these exercises will help you gain clarity only if you’re honest.
Don’t make up lame excuses; don’t try to fool anybody. If you don’t do these exercises with intent, you won’t be fooling anybody but yourself.
8 things you should know before starting the exercises
- You have to care about making the necessary changes. Depending on how far you are from your dream life, this could be hard work. It’s not enough to say you want to change; you have to mean it.
- Completing these exercises is just a fraction of the process. Doing them and forgetting about them after won’t do the trick. You have to go and do what you have to do. Take action.
- If you’re one of those people who keep waiting for someone else to save them, stop. Nobody will do the work for you.
- Be ready to make hard choices. Valuable changes don’t come easy; you’ll probably have to make sacrifices. The good news is that they’ll feel like sacrifices now, but later on, you’ll feel grateful you made them.
- There’s no room for lame excuses here. Learn to distinguish the difference between a real obstacle and an excuse.
- Making steady progress doesn’t mean making huge progress every hour. Some days you’ll make great progress, some days you’ll make little progress, some days you’ll make no progress at all. Be patient.
- Accept who you are now and the fact you can’t change the past.
- It takes time to make noticeable changes, but you’ll get there.
6 tested journaling exercises to bridge the gap between who you are and who you want to be
1. Divide your life into categories
When you see your life as a whole package, it’s hard to identify what you don’t like and how to improve it.
However, when you dissect it into smaller pieces, you can see clearly where the problem is.
The most common categories in life are:
- relationships (love, family, friends)
- money (job, business, side hustles)
- self (personality)
- physical health (nutrition, exercise)
- mental health (emotions, feelings, anxiety, stress)
2. Describe those categories
How are those areas of your life today?
How do you feel about them? Are they perfect as they are? Do they make you feel stressed when you think about an aspect of them?
Get clear about your relationships with your family, for example. Is it ideal?
Look around and notice how the place you live in makes you feel. Does it feel like a home? Do you want to live there?
3. Describe what you’d change about those things
If thinking about money makes you feel stressed, why is that?
Is it because you don’t like your job? Or because you don’t have any savings?
Or maybe it’s because your business isn’t doing as well as you expected?
Think long and hard about that life category you don’t like and why.
But don’t stop there.
It’s not enough to think about why you don’t like them. Now it’s time to get clear about what you’d change about them; about how they’re different.
For example, it’s not enough to say you feel anxious about not having any savings; you also need to be clear about how much money you’d like to have saved.
Saying you don’t like your job because you hate your boss is not enough; you also have to describe how the ideal boss is for you.
Be careful not to fall for “desires” imposed in some way by society.
Some people may think that living in a house by the beach would be the solution for all of their problems just because they see some strangers on Instagram posing next to their beach houses with a smile on their faces.
Trust me. I know.
Change “beach house” for “boob job,” and you’ll have a clear idea of what happened to me a couple of years ago.
I wanted to change my life so badly, I mistakenly thought that changing my appearance would help me increase my self-esteem and self-confidence, which could help me get better things in life.
Thankfully, I regretted it at the last minute (the night before the surgery, ha!) and ended up not doing it (thank goodness).
Nowadays, even though that memory made me feel very dumb for a long time, I understand what I was thinking.
Ask yourself: are those things you say you want something that was imposed upon you? Or do you really want them?
4. Bridge the gap and list possible action steps
Take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns.
On the left, write
- how you’ve felt about your categories in the past two months
- crucial things that have happened recently in your family, home, job
- which actions (whether right or wrong) you’ve taken in those categories.
On the right, describe your vision, the one we talked about in step 3.
And now, the fun part: bridge the gap between the two columns. It’s not an easy task, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and thought-provoking.
Let’s name an example so you can see what I’m talking about.
Imagine you’re not happy with your job because you’re not doing work you enjoy.
On the column on the left, you’ve written that in the last couple of months you’ve shown up to work, even though you don’t like it, and have carried out with your responsibilities.
On the column on the right, you describe your dream job: one where you feel inspired, engaged, and valued; but you still have no idea what that job is or how to get it.
This is how you can bridge your current life with your dream one: Don’t leave your current job right now if you have no idea what that “engaging” job is.
What you can do instead is start figuring out what you’d like to learn or try next, while you keep your current job.
I won’t tell you to quit a job that makes you miserable if you don’t have something else that gives you money. You can start making progress towards that thing you want without making drastic changes like quitting.
You’ll see that just by taking small actions like exploring new passions in your free time, will make your current job more bearable. You’ll know there’s a way out.
With this example and explanation in mind, make a list of small steps you could take to bridge the gap between who you are/what you have today and who you want to be in the future.
5. Identify your obstacles and work around them
Remember, no lame excuses.
According to Merrian Webster, an obstacle is “something that impedes progress or achievement.”
In the example mentioned above, we could say an obstacle is that your current boss makes you work 50 hours a week and you can’t find the time to learn new things.
In that case, a possible solution would be to make time on the weekends, at least one hour or two, to explore your passions and see where it leads you.
Get creative here, and don’t let excuses stop you from making progress.
6. List three small action steps
You’ve identified what you don’t like and what you’d like to have, possible ways to bridge the gap between those things, small steps you can take, and obstacles that can stand in your way.
Now it’s time to select at least three small action steps out of the list you wrote on step four.
Take that list, select the three most approachable steps, and set due dates for them.
If you decide you want a new job or change careers, but don’t know where to start, you’ll probably want to do some self-discovery to uncover your passions, for example.
To do that, you can use these eye-opening journaling prompts, in case you don’t know. 😃
Once you’ve decided you want to try self-discovery journaling, establish around two or three 15-minute journaling sessions to start answering those prompts.
You can do this!
This is the improved version of what I did when I felt miserable and ready for a change.
You can change your life if you don’t like it. Don’t settle for things just because you think there’s nothing to do about them.
If you’re here reading about how to change your life, you’ve already made progress. Most people don’t even bother looking for guidance!
So props to you.
Make the most out of every situation. Learn everything you can from your current life and move on.
Be flexible enough to change strategies when they’re not working for you, but don’t give up.
[bctt tweet= “Be flexible enough to change strategies when they’re not working for you, but don’t give up.” username= “aimlief”]
“Success breeds complacency. Complacency breeds failure. Only the paranoid survive.” — Andy Grove