Reality Check: You must stay the course to achieve your dreams

File:Long Road to Monument Valley.jpgThe only people who achieve their dreams are those who stay the course. All successful people have dreams bigger than themselves and each person faces obstacles on the way to achieve those dreams.

The only difference between those who achieve their dreams and those who don’t is their ability to stay the course.

For example, one of the dreams I’ve had since I turned 30 is to be as fit as I was during wrestling season my senior year of high school.  This may not seem that big to you, but for me this is about life and death.  By the age of 29, I was as unhealthy as I’d ever been gaining over 60 pounds since my senior year in high school, with 30 coming after I graduated from college.

In order to get back to a healthy weight and maintain it, I made a commitment to exercise for at least one hour, at least 4 days a week. Every year since, I’ve gotten thrown off course between Thanksgiving and Christmas. What’s more, I then allow these few weeks of getting off course to derail all the progress I made for the other 10 months of the year.

The only way I can overcome this is to stay the course for 12 months instead of 10.  In order to stay the course in this situation, this year I created a plan that allows me to still enjoy the typical holiday festivities, while keeping my routine.  I shared a bit of that plan here.

Another example is my dream of entrepreneurship. I worked 10 years in corporate America before I was able to quit my job and go after that dream.  For me, staying the course for those 10 years was about living below my means year after year so I could afford to one day quit my job.

So even when I saw many of my colleagues and friends buy big new cars and take fancy vacations, I continued to drive the same used vehicle for 10 years and over 200,000 miles and took modest vacations on a budget.

In the former example I haven’t achieved my dream yet, in the latter I did. In both cases however, it comes down to staying the course.  This means creating a realistic plan to achieve your dream, then sticking with it no matter what obstacles you face.

So here’s the reality check.  If you have a big dream, a dream reserved for the few rather than the many, you will face a few false starts. You will face drama that drags you off course. You will doubt that your plan is even working. It’s going to take longer than you think and it’s going to be harder than you think.  But if you really, truly want it, as long as you get on the course, then do whatever it takes to stay on course, you will achieve whatever dreams you have.