Destination Addiction And How it Keeps You From Achieving Your Dreams
With my upcoming Dream Bigger Course + Program it’s all about goal-setting and planning the year ahead for me right now....
With my upcoming Dream Bigger Course + Program it’s all about goal-setting and planning the year ahead for me right now. What I love most about this season is the promise of all the dreams that will come true, and the joy of merely thinking about them. But with that comes one of the most effective dream killers I know.
Many of us – especially multi-passionate, talented, creative makers and doers – feel we can only allow ourselves to be happy after we’ve ticked off our major goals, bucket and to-do lists. We think that we’ll only be truly happy when we reach that important milestone, get recognized for our work or finally achieve every goal on our list. The problem with this *after* thinking is that it leaves us perpetually aiming for more. Even if we achieve a big goal, the feelings of pride and accomplishment last only for a little while before they fade. Afterwards, we’re right back where we started: dissatisfied until we’ve achieved the next goal.
As a coach to multi-passionate, creative women I know the idea of happiness for many of my clients is always in the future. Never in the present moment. Throughout their lives they’ve accumulated many interests and projects, most of which they started but didn’t finish or never even got to in the first place. Someday is what I hear most often when asking about their dreams.
The truth is: us multi-passionates have a peculiar relationship with time.
Although the present moment is all we think we have, we often forget that *now* is all the time there is. (I know, but bare with me for a minute.)
We all have big goals and plans, right? Often we start a project or decide to go after one of our dreams. Before we know it, the enthusiasm that made us so passionate in the beginning is gone. Why?
It all just seems too far away.
That’s when many goals and dreams. We resign ourselves to the status quo, our responsibilities and the whimsy hope that things will (magically) work out later. This all-or-nothing thinking is what keeps us moving forward. We don’t see how every single day we could pull our dreams into our present moment, little by little. How *now* is all the time we really have.
But that’s when we actually start something. Oftentimes we don’t even get to that point. We may have many creative ideas and paths we want to take but because of fear of failing, aversion to criticism or worry of making the wrong choice, we sit on our ideas and plans, never getting around to do anything about them. This now-or-nothing thinking is an obstacle to achieving our dreams. We fail to see the sea of time we have to accomplish what we want.
“Destination Addiction” was first coined by Dr. Robert Holden, a British psychologist. He referred to it as a state of mind that holds the idea that happiness and success are destinations we arrive at, instead of experiences we have along the journey of accomplishing our goals. Because of the high expectations we have of when we’ll get there, we often fail to enjoy the journey. Society has programmed many of us to think in a linear way, where we expect one major milestone to occur after the other. We go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire then die, living as though happiness was to be found at the arrival of each one of these stages of our lives.
This is often not the case.
There is no inherent happiness in arriving at these milestones or achieving our goals. The feelings we believe these achievements will bring us are ones we can feel right here and now.
As multi-passionate women, we have to constantly remind ourselves of this, that joy and happiness are not rewards for a job well done but a state of mind we can bring into our lives right now. The more we do this, the faster we’ll feel whole, accomplished, and in the presence of our goals.
All we have for sure is how we decide to feel today. The late Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, “Life’s what’s happening to you, when you’re busy making other plans.” In other words, it’s good to plan for the future and have goals to work towards (I mean, duh!), but it’s important to remember that life is not put on hold until you achieve these things. Or that you can have some of those things in your life right now, before you believe you’ve accomplished them!
If you suffer from destination addiction, here’s three things I’ve found to help:
#1 Keep a list of your daily accomplishments
Break up with destination addiction by celebrating yourself everyday. Acknowledge the effort you’re making. When we’re on a journey towards change, a part of what keeps us motivated is remembering the steps we’ve already taken. Instead of beating yourself up over not being *there* yet, acknowledge how far you’ve come instead.
#2 Remind yourself of the goals you’ve already achieved
It’s great to hold steadfast to our vision and goals, but we must also take the time to be grateful for where we are in life and how far we’ve come from. It’s easy to get so tied up in what we’ve not accomplished yet or what we don’t have, that we lose sight of all our past goals and dreams that are now part of our reality. With destination addiction it’s easy to dismiss those dreams as “oh, well, that’s nothing. Yes, sure, I did that. But that was easy, this here – the new goal – is what matters”. If that’s you, imagine what will happen when you’ve reached that new goal? Exactly. If you’re not careful, you’ll brush it off just as fast as all your other accomplishments. Leaving you dissatisfied and aiming for the next one. And the next one. And the… you get the point.
#3 Live as if
On the journey towards your dream life (aka the creative lifestyle to fit your many ideas and interests) it’s important to experience as much of that life in the present as you can. In fact, this is the real *secret* to achieving your dreams. You may wonder how, but consider this: by being too focused on the end result, many people never take steps to actually incorporate the activities associated with their goals into their daily lives. Take a woman who dreams of being a bestselling novelist but never finds the time to actually write. She believes that she will write everyday once she’s an author. That is, someone who has the time to write, who’s read all the books about writing, and who feels ready. Only then will she write. The problem is, with this kind of thinking she’ll never feel (or even be) ready. All she needs is available to her right now: just write already!
It’s the same if you’re dreaming about being a photographer, actress or dancer! Want to be a great photographer one day? Take photos everyday, even if it’s just with your phone! The same with dancing; if you want to enjoy being a dancer, start moving. Now.
It really is that simple.
So tell me, what are you waiting for?