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“Never let it be said that to dream is a waste of one’s time. For dreams are our realities in waiting. In dreams, we plant the seeds of our future.” ~ Unknown
As a kid, I was told to “follow my dreams.” Was it the same for you?
My parents wanted me to discover what I’m good at so that could become my career. The universe had other ideas for me (and I’ve followed many other paths). But today, I wondered about my dreams.
Can I still pursue my dreams? Am I too old? Too stuck in a rut? Isn’t following your dreams unrealistic; isn’t it meant for kids?
The quote above about dreaming and going after your dreams made me dive deep, and there are plenty of reasons why you SHOULD follow your dreams. No matter what anyone else says.
I’ve got all the reasons and inspiration you need to go after your dreams right here.
What Does It Mean to Follow Your Dreams?
To follow your dreams is an inspirational concept that’s meant to motivate you to find your life’s purpose or to live doing what you love so it doesn’t feel like work. Following your dreams goes beyond your “passion” or “life’s purpose.” You have to figure out what your dreams are, what you want to do in life, and how these dreams can improve the life you are living and your well-being.
There are so many stories of people who just gave up their highly successful career to build houses in Africa… or others who left their life and families and friends behind to chase adventure after adventure.
You hear how happy these people are, now that they’ve run off into the sunset and are living their life’s purpose. But is this practical for everyone?
What if you are the main caregiver to a sick and ailing parent? (I am, by the way.) Of have young kids to put through school and college? Or what if you actually like your job, although it doesn’t feel like it’s your “purpose?” Where do responsibilities fit into “following your dreams?”
And suppose you don’t quit your 9-5 and change course completely. Does “not pursuing your dreams” mean you are a failure? Or can dreams be “smaller,” fit into your current lifestyle, and simply inspire you to become more self-aware and live a good life?
To go after your dreams is a lot more complicated, and it looks different for everyone.
Yes, you can absolutely chase the dreams you had as a kid… but you can also dream new dreams that work with your life now. And these “ordinary” dreams, even though they aren’t ordinary at all because you've dreamt them and you are going to make them come true, are totally worth pursuing.
Reasons Why People Don’t Pursue Their Dreams
People don’t chase their dreams because they:
- Have responsibilities and other priorities at this time
- Feel guilty
- Are scared, and their “comfort bubble” is too comfortable
- Listen to bad advice like “your dreams aren’t realistic to follow”
- Don’t want to be judged by others
- Ask others to validate their dreams
- Have failed before, and have given up
- Only see the end result and not the value in the journey or process
- Don’t believe in themselves
- Don’t believe they are worthy of having dreams, much less following them
- Don’t believe the dream will work out, so why try when there isn’t a guarantee?
- Want to fit in with the crowd instead of being authentic and true to their dreams
- Are “lazy” – it’s too much work putting in the effort to make their dreams come true
- Try but give up early
- Wait for the “right time”
- Don’t have enough time
- Have doubts
Tips to Get Started on Your Journey to Go After Your Dreams
“Follow your dreams; they know the way.” – Kobe Yamada
But how can you go after your dreams? Here are some tips to get you started on your journey to chase your dreams and make them a reality:
- Find your dream: The first step is reflecting and defining what your dream is. (Hint: it can be anything.)
- Believe in your dream: If you don’t believe, your dream won’t come true. But you can start small, and believe smaller step by smaller step too.
Use daily affirmations, mantras, and meditation to help you focus, boost your self-confidence, and remind you to keep believing.
- Develop a clear vision: Now that you have a dream, see it. Visualize it. Make a vision board that you put up next to your study or on your fridge so you can be constantly reminded of your dream.
Remember to be specific. See everything in the finest detail – the more detailed your dream vision, the clearer you can see it, the more you want it, and the better you can plan to make it happen.
- Share your dream: You can keep your dream to yourself, but sharing helps you further believe it’s possible to achieve your dream. Plus, if you have a trusted someone, they can help keep you accountable.
- Plan your dream: Remember the detailed vision of your dream? Use that to plan how you are going to achieve your dream. Plan it like a goal using SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely) strategies.
- Work on your dream: Follow your plan, and don’t give up. If you feel like giving up, remind yourself why you are pursuing your dreams. Or re-read the list below of why you should go after your dreams. Find what resonates with you and use that as inspiration and motivation.
- Enjoy the journey: The journey of chasing your dream is just as important as the end result. Enjoy every step of it, and remember to be grateful.
15 Reasons Why You Should Follow Your Dreams
“As soon as you begin to pursue a dream, your life wakes up and everything has meaning.” – Barbara Sher
You surely want to also feel like your life has meaning (or more meaning) and feel excited to get going after something as important as your dreams. Right?
If you have any doubts, here are 15 reasons why you should chase your dreams (and never stop chasing):
1. The Negative Impacts of Regret
Regret has a huge impact on your life. It damages your mental health, causing anxiety, depression, helplessness, and even hopelessness. Regret can even negatively affect your immune system and more.
You’ll one day regret inaction: not going after your dreams. But if you do take the chance, you’ll achieve something wonderful.
2. You Have One Life
You only have one life, so why not go after your dreams and make the most of it?
You don’t know what tomorrow brings or even the very next second.
Make every second count by visualizing your dreams and taking steps toward actualizing them.
3. Remember Who You Are Pursuing Your Dreams For
You are chasing your dreams for yourself. It’s something you’ve dreamed about and it’s something you desire.
In case you don’t know, you are worthy and you are enough. You aren’t selfish if you follow the path toward your dreams for you. Doing it for yourself empowers and motivates you.
4. The Endless Possibilities and Experiences
What you send out in the universe comes back to you. If you send out positivity, possibilities come to you. Just like you are going after dreams, success (your definition of what success is) can chase you too.
When you go after your dream, you open a door and follow a path. While you are focused on this dream you’ve visualized, there are also endless possibilities and experiences you get to enjoy.
5. You’ll Face Your Fears and Become More Self-Confident
Pursuing your dreams is scary. It means stepping out of your comfort zone, trying something new, and going after what you want.
Your dream will come to mean so much more to you as you follow your plan and journey. There’ll be no stopping you now. Every success or achievement will boost your confidence and you’ll be able to overcome your fears.
6. You’ll become an Inspiration for Others
When you live authentically and follow your dreams, you’ll inspire others who are too afraid to live for their dreams.
They’ll see that you can do it, and they’ll think that maybe they can too. With every success you achieve, they’ll feel more confident and will soon set about their own dream-chasing journey.
That being said, you shouldn’t only go after your dreams in the hopes to inspire. Becoming an inspiration to others should just be a natural by-product.
7. It’s on you to Make Your Dreams Come True
No one else can achieve and live your dreams for you. Not your kids. Not your partner. Not your bestie.
Besides, everyone has their own dreams, and it’s their responsibility to chase their dreams, just like it’s yours to chase your dreams.
8. Make Life Interesting
Even if your life is already interesting, going after your dreams adds even more interest to your life.
And if your life isn’t interesting, don’t you think it is time to have some challenges and adventures, grow as a person, and be who you truly are?
Just think of the stories you can tell at dinner time or over coffee with friends.
9. You’ll be in Awe of Yourself
No, not in a narcissistic way. But when you go after what you want in life, you’ll realize that you are capable of doing so much more than you thought you could.
This is worth celebrating.
And you’ll be becoming and living the best version of yourself.
10. It Could Add Meaning to Your Life
I don’t want to say that following your dreams will add meaning to your life. Your life now is NOT meaningless. You aren’t meaningless.
But if you feel that life lacks meaning, going after dreams will add meaning. And if you already have meaning in your life, your dreams and the pursuit thereof will merely enhance the meaning that’s already there.
11. Prove the Non-Believers Wrong
You may have negative people in your life who don’t believe in following dreams. And there may also be those in your life – close family, friends, and colleagues – who second-guess you. They don’t think you have it in you to reach for the stars.
So why not prove them wrong? Why not shine?
Those who don’t believe in you don’t get your “why” and they certainly haven’t taken the time to understand your passions and dreams.
12. Add to Your Happiness
Again, I’m not going to assume that only the unhappy go after their dreams. You can be perfectly happy with your life, but want more.
According to research, living a meaningful life, or an even more meaningful one, reduces stress, helps you live longer, and increases your happiness.
13. Meet Kindred Souls
Being who you are completely and being happy with who you are as you follow your dreams allows you to connect with kindred souls – people who are also on their journeys to follow their hearts.
Being around others who have a similar journey helps you to stay positive and keep going during tough times.
14. You Give Back
What I mean by giving back is that when you go after your dreams, you do something that brings out the light in you as you do something you are innately meant to do.
So when living a life where you leverage what you are best at, chances are you give your best to the world in return. You can make a positive impact on your community or society at large.
15. Live With Dignity
You take a stand for yourself when you decide to pursue your dreams, no matter what the haters say.
During hardships and successes on your journey, you can keep your head up high. You are living your life on your terms, and that’s powerful.
Final Thoughts on Following Your Dreams
Choosing to make your dreams come true isn’t easy, and the journey may not be easy either. But you have so much to gain when you do go after your dreams.
If you feel stuck or unmotivated on any part of your dream-following journey, revisit your vision board, read over your plan in your journal, and find inspiration in the tips and more in this article.
Remember, you’ve got this! You CAN follow your dreams. For more inspiration on getting started with your dream journey, check our song list about pursuing your dreams. Play it when you’re cleaning, working or soaking in the tub and allow yourself the time to get psyched!