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Defining your dreams

Think back to different stages of your life. What were your dreams when you were a child, a teenager, in college or when you got your first job? What are your dreams now?

As a child, I wanted to be a fashion designer. I loved drawing different designs and dressing up my Barbies in mismatched outfits. In middle school, I took sewing classes and even made my homecoming dress at 14. I'll be honest, it wasn't great! Since then, my dreams evolved from wanting to be a psychologist to working in international business. Mostly for the perceived travel perks! I graduated college, began working in marketing and 16 years flew by. Last year, my dream career changed again. I starting my own business offering coaching, meditation and yoga. Wanting to help other women acknowledge and work towards their dreams.

Our dreams evolve as we grow and gain new experiences and perspectives. Before we can start living our dreams though, we must first identify and understand what they truly are. Life gets busy, and days turn into months, then years. It's easy to lose sight of our aspirations or end up living someone else's expectations. We may not have the mental bandwidth to reassess where we are going in life or even know how to begin that process.

Enter mindfulness and self-reflection, both powerful tools to better understand ourselves. They help us gain clarity and define what our ideal life looks like.

Mindfulness is the practice of being fully aware of what is happening in the present moment, without judgment. This means being still (physically and mentally) to notice what is going on around you. Taking time to gain insights into your thoughts, emotions, core values and your external world. It could be as simple as relaxing and breathing for 5 minutes at the beginning or end of your day. Holding space to check in with how you are feeling. The practice of mindfulness helps you notice what is happening in your job, relationships, surroundings and life. It can be an important tool for uncovering what is working and what isn't. I want to stress this is without judgment. When something arises that feels off, become curious about what you want to change and why. However, avoid thoughts of beating yourself up for not noticing what was disruptive sooner. Living life on autopilot happens, especially when we are busy. The key is becoming aware now, practicing self-compassion then setting new habits, goals and transformations.

With self-reflection, we become clearer on our own life. Clarity is essential for turning dreams into reality. Before we can set and accomplish goals, we must be clear about what we truly desire. Start by understanding your values and passions—the things that make you feel alive. Sometimes, it's easier to identify what doesn't feel right rather than what does. Make a list of the things that don't align with your true self, then dig deeper to discover their positive counterparts. If you're struggling with clarity in a particular area of life, pay attention to what energizes you versus what drains you. Thinking about your professional and personal life, what is really important to you? When we attach meaning to our goals, our motivation increases and they become easier to accomplish.

Knowing your dreams requires both effort and honesty. Both mindfulness and self-reflection allow you to check in with your own well-being and uncover what no longer serves your life. It also isn't a one-and-done exercise. From my own experience, dreams are constantly evolving. Being aware of those shifts versus running on autopilot is key to my own happiness and creating a life I love. Try these tools to take intentional steps towards your own fulfilling and purposeful future.

Once we know our dreams, we can make them come true

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