Most of us harbor some sort of secret dream and summer is a great time for dreaming. It is normal to yearn to achieve something that has always felt slightly out of reach. We may wish to write a novel, play the piano, learn a second language, learn to figure skate or surf.
As we grow older, we often put our dreams on hold and assume that learning new skills is for the young. Psychologist Gary Marcus, PhD. put that assumption to the test. What he found was that learning is not necessarily the domain only of the young.
In an interview in April’s Monitor on Psychology Dr. Marcus describes how he, an admittedly unmusical adult, learned to play the guitar. Not only did he discover that he had the ability to learn a new skill, in his research he also found that adults actually do better than children in learning new skills. Adult control: control of attention, time and motivation, is helpful to new learning.
So what are your dreams? And how can you achieve them? You might want to think through the following questions to begin to make your aspirations a reality.
- What energizes you?
- What parts of your day do you look forward to?
- Have you given up any passions? What are they?
- How is your dream different from your current reality?
- What small changes could you make that would bring you closer to your dream?
- What opportunities might be right in front of you?
- What are you already doing that is part of your dream?
- How might you structure your life to support pursuing your dream?
These are big questions. Asking them may feel overwhelming. Change is scary, but it can happen on a continuum. You don’t necessarily have to overhaul your whole life to make room for something new, although you may have to shed a few time consuming habits.
You can find more strategies to help you reach your dreams and improve how you feel in my new book, The Stress Response and by clicking here to sign up for more of my tips and and here for podcasts using DBT strategies to improve how you feel.
Daydreaming photo available from Shutterstock