Do you ever make time to reflect? To stop and think about the year you've had. The pitfalls, the successes, the lessons learnt? It can be easy just to get caught up in life, the busyness, the stresses and the joys that we can just get carried along, without giving much thought to where we've come from or more importantly, where we're going. But if we ever want to achieve our goals, or our dreams, then we need to make time for this.
Christmas is a great time to reflect on the previous year and look to all that's ahead. It's a natural stop and a natural start. I don't know about you, but I love new starts. But the fact is, unless we make time to consider what we want to change and where we want to go, the likelihood is it won't happen. Because generally speaking, we don't suddenly achieve our dreams, we don't suddenly get from point A to point B, there is a journey, there are steps.
Life is all about steps. About progressing bit by bit, and when life happens, and perhaps we lose sight of the big dream, or when it seems to distant, or too hard, or too big, we pick ourselves up and look at the next step. Not one massive resolution, just one baby step.
In the last 5 years a lot has changed for me and Alan. Just over 5 years ago we got married, since then we have brought our first house, then our second house, I have worked in various positions which I loved, been promoted, left work, had a gorgeous baby who is now an even more gorgeous toddler and we now share our home with two lodgers. If you'd asked me 5 years ago what I wanted to achieve over the coming 5 years I would have said a lot of these things, but there would also have been many other things I said as well. More personal dreams from God or passions I'd of liked to pursue. Many of which I haven't yet achieved. But what's made the difference between those things that have happened and those that haven't?
I think it's the way we think of dreams, the time we spend planning the steps that effects whether or not we get to them. When me and Alan were dating we always talked about things we wanted for our family. We discussed when we would like to have children and although none of this was set in stone we kept it in focus, working towards those timescales. We kept these dreams alive by planning and working towards them and so they naturally happened. But if we have dreams that we never discuss, or never even consider for more than 5 minutes the likelihood is, they won't happen.
The fact is, we need to keep our dreams alive. And although we can't make everything happen, we can position ourselves so we are ready when things happen. We can plan towards dreams.
When me and Alan lived in our first home it was great but it was small. It could just about have accommodated one child, but not more. We knew if we had one baby and I was to stop working to be a full-time mum then we would never be able to get the mortgage to move into a bigger house later on when the necessity arose. So we took steps. We moved into a bigger house before starting our family, knowing we could live there with lodgers to support us financially when we had a baby and that it would also provide space for more children in the future. You see our dream was for me to be a stay at home mum, and for us to have a big family, but if we had stayed where we were, with no space for lodgers in that small house and a large mortgage, the chances are I'd have been forced into having to go back to full-time employment after having a baby. For us to achieve our dream, there were steps to take.
Over Christmas I've been considering dreams. What are those dreams that I barely think about. What are those things that if I could plan the next 5-10 years I would like to see fulfilled, but perhaps they seem too big, or too great, so I haven't acknowledged them. I haven't written them down. I certainly haven't planned steps. This year, it isn't about resolutions for me. There are resolutions I'd like to see fulfilled, but this New Year, it's about dreams. I'm writing them down. I'm writing down steps I need to take to start progressing towards them. And when the busyness of life inevitably happens and there are days, or perhaps weeks where I don't make progress, I won't be demotivated and give up. I'll allow myself some grace. Because every step I take, is a step closer to my dreams.
Why don't you join me and write down your dreams. If you took all fear or "what if's" out of the scenario, what are those things that are on your heart to see change or take place. And then write steps, just simple ones, in order to move closer to them. Make these your resolutions and make this year really count. Not just for now, but towards the rest of your life.