Dreams that pull you forward

Do you find yourself falling into the "I want" trap? Often it feels dirty to say "I want" something because when we do it's also accompanied by the silent reminder that we don't actually have it yet. But, what if we could change our mindset so that what we dream of actually helped us achieve it?

Your dreams don't have to push you down, make them feel real and they will pull you forward.

Creating change requires more than just motivation, but in this post, we'll explore the two primary sources of motivation that we can leverage, positive and negative motivations, and how to use them to make our dreams work for us.


Option 1: Negative Motivators

Make your current situation so unbearable that you cannot suffer it any longer. Examples include fear, anger, unhappiness, punishment, and threats of bankruptcy or exclusion. These negative motivations are somewhat effective for initiating some change, but they tend to be unsustainable and are ethically questionable due to the following reasons:

  • We have the amazing capability to normalize immense suffering.

  • We measure change in relation to our current situation. For change to result, the motivation must be sudden and immediate. A slowly developing negative motivation is likely to lead to suffering, not change.

  • Negative motivations create a desire to escape, not a intentional direction to go.


Option 2: Positive Motivators

Make your goal or situation so desirable that you cannot resist seeking it. Examples of these types of motivations may include love, peace, security, social or monetary rewards, etc. Not only are these motivations ethically sound, but they are also shown to be more effective for immediate and sustained change than negative motivators. Additionally, these positive motivations can be used to specify a goal. And once we have a goal, we can start to create a path - the final piece of behavior change, ability.


So, how can you make create positive motivations for your personal goals? Here's one technique that will take you about 10 minutes.


Close your eyes, imagine you have reached your goal. It's even better than you imaged. Imagine yourself there and look inside of yourself, look at others around you, and look past them to the rest of the world. As you imagine this new state, record your answers to the following questions:

  • What are you doing?

  • What are you feeling?

  • What do you know (or understand)?

Now we have a clear vision of the future that we can use to inspire change. Stop beating yourself for what you want. Punishing yourself will only prolong your suffering and won't give you any direction. Don't punish yourself for what you don't have yet. If you find yourself talking negative, pause for a minute and imagine desired future and celebrate your future self. It's okay to be where you are at, it's okay because you have a dream and a path.


Your dreams don't have to push you down, make them feel real and they will pull you forward.

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