The train comes into the station like a wild horse, brewing and stamping. I am anxious, butterflies flutter around my stomach as I clutch my ticket. It’s my first time in a train, and this one is here to take me to New York City. The first day at my new internship will have a lot of obstacles but the first and most daunting for this small town girl was just getting there.
You too are standing at a train station. Your dream clutched in your hand much like a ticket. You see you can’t just decide to achieve a dream and then poof it’s there! No you will need to go on a journey. Whether that journey is a figurative one that improves your skills or a literal one is not the point. You will have to move to achieve your goals.
We all face a similar problem, we have a specific goal but now we need to go out and achieve it. For most of us that dream is not something that we can roll out of bed and just do. We need to exercise, eat right, develop characters, test recipes, buy the proper tools before we can work on our dreams. I used to think that it was an all or nothing game when it came to accomplishing a goal and I feel like a lot of us are this way. We eat a piece of pie or miss a writing day and we think we can’t do it and give up before we’ve really pressed forward. We need to get away from thinking like our dreams hinge upon some Herculean effort. The reason we chose our dreams wasn’t because they were easy, this will be hard and it’s important to know how you will accomplish what you set out to do.
Planning is one of the most important skills you can utilize when reaching for a goal. We can know where we are going, but if we don’t know how we will get there all sorts of chaos can ensue. Imagine waiting for a train but not knowing which one you will get on, and where to pick up your connections. You may get to where you are going eventually, but your trip will not be a very pleasant one. So how can we tame this beast?
I like to think of my dream as one really large goal that is made up entirely of other, smaller goals. Kind of like train stops, each one marking your progress towards a final destination. I divide my goals into bite sized achievable tasks, “write for 30 minutes each day this week.” After that, “write 15,000 words this week.” Then, “finish chapters x-y.” You get the idea, each smaller goal is a step towards your larger goal, your final destination. Each step builds off of the first, bringing you closer to the finish.
I am just a guilty as anyone about just wishing I could be finished with a dream or goal but the reality is that the journey is often so much more valuable than the finish line. As for my very first NYC train ride? After catching the express I had to hop on the subway just a short walk away. I reached the office with little drama.By the end of my first week I was a pro.