All of us daydream at times about being a different person, having a different life: losing weight and being able to run a marathon; changing our career; starting a family; travelling the world. If these type of thoughts and feelings persist beyond the normal 5-minute stare off into space and become persistent and even invasive, perhaps it is time to thing about what they mean? Do you really want to reinvent yourself? Before you can reshape your future, you need to be brutally honest about your present. How much will you need to change to achieve the reinvention you desire? Do you have it in you? Looking at the evidence from those who have succeeded in realising their dreams can give us an insight into what it really necessary. Consider these crucial questions from the experts before you move ahead:
Does your goal match your values?
You may have fallen in love with the idea of building your own house, but are you truly a do-it-yourselfer? If your goal doesn’t match your values, you’ll have less motivation to work toward it, and will feel less fulfilled even if you achieve it.
Does it conflict with other priorities in your life?
Committing yourself to reaching the corner office may bring prestige, but it could also take time away from relationships and hobbies. Consider the sacrifices you’ll have to make, and know what you’re willing to set aside before starting out.
Will you be able to pursue it long-term, and for the right reasons?
When you know who you are, you can recognize what you need to overcome to keep your personality from blocking your dreams. For example, if you can’t stand failure, you might persist even when you should stop.
Can you gain satisfaction from each step?
If the actions you take to move towards your goal give you pleaseure in themselves, you will gain satisfaction from your efforts even if you never fully attain your objective.
Are you sure you want it?
Force yourself to envision your future, keeping in mind our tendency to revert to a baseline level of happiness even after success. Will the suburban mansion really be better than your city rental once you factor in the daily commute, the weekly lawn-mowing, and the monthly mortgage? Talk it out with those who know you best and can imagine your future self nearly as well as you can.
Is achieving it within your control?
If you can take specific, practical actions to reach your goal, you’re in good shape. If it will require winning a contest, or overcoming challenges like health or geography, think twice.
And, last of all, if you find that going through these questions puts you off, perhaps it is time to think about what you are getting from holding on to a dream that you don’t really want to achieve. Is it a distraction from the rest of your life?