Can you believe we’re already two months into the year? I sure can’t! If you’re anything like me, you’re probably wondering what happened to all of those lovely New Year’s resolutions you made. It’s so easy to let life get in the way of our goals. All of the little things we have to do pile up on top of our hopes and dreams, so we never actually get around to working towards them.

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And even worse, when we finally DO have the time, all of the little self-doubts kick in. I don’t know where to start. I can’t actually do this. I’ll never get there anyway, so why bother?

Today, we’re going to change that!

Stop letting those thoughts get in your way, because YOU are the only one holding yourself back from making your dreams come true. Any obstacle can be overcome or worked around. Any hard thing can be figured out.

I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of tips out there about HOW to make goals. I’m sure you’ve already researched a million different specific ideas on how to work out, how to make healthier meals, how to keep your house clean, how to incorporate self-care into your routine, how to finally start that blog and turn it into a profitable business (I may or may not be talking to myself right now.)

But the HOW isn’t important. All of those ideas you’ve seen prove there are SO MANY different ways to approach anything, and it’s not about finding the right one, it’s just about moving forward and actually DOING any one of them.

So, what’s the real way to make all of your dreams come true?

Getting EXCITED about it!

After all, when you first sat down and made these goals, it all felt possible, right? When you were getting excited about the results you were hoping to achieve, you weren’t worried about when and how you would make it happen. You didn’t let those worries get in the way.

You probably even made it happen for a week or two, without even having to think too hard about it. But then at some point along the way it changed from something you wanted to do to something you were supposed to do.

And you started spending more time thinking about it than actually doing it. Then suddenly it felt like it was too much.

Take exercise for example. You can get in a decent workout in only 10 or 15 minutes. You can even find 5 minute HIIT workouts or just do 100 jumping jacks, and that will make a significant difference in your life. But the time spent looking for that supposed right workout and right time to do it take up a big chunk of your day, and then it feels like too much and it feels like you’re too busy.

The secret is to get excited instead of intimidated.

Like they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

So have fun with it! Pump yourself up again about everything you can achieve! Focus more on the why, and the how will be so much easier.

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Are you ready?

You’ve heard about positive affirmations and vision boards. You’ve probably even tried them. While it is important to have big exciting dreams for your life and to tell yourself you can achieve them, it is only one piece of the puzzle.

All of these happy thoughts don’t have much affect if your brain doesn’t believe them.

You might have been told that the answer to this problem is to set more attainable goals or to restate your affirmations as “I will” statements instead of “I can” statements. But that’s still not enough. Because that’s not exciting. That’s not motivating.

The missing piece is gratitude!

Did you know that studies have found that everyone has a baseline level of happiness and almost nothing, good or bad, changes that?

Any positive thing — getting married, getting a promotion, moving to your dream home — boosts your happiness for a while, but before long it becomes old hat and you settle back to your baseline. Any negative thing — even really big horrible things like the death of a child or becoming a paraplegic — obviously it is hard for a while, but time really does heal and you WILL be happy again.

There are very very few things that will permanently change your baseline. Strangely enough, the only negative things that people can’t seem to adjust to are a long commute or living somewhere especially noisy like near an airport or railroad. (Of course, some people are fine with those things to begin with, but if you hate it, you won’t ever stop hating it, so keep that in mind before you buy a house!)

And the one and only thing that can actually permanently increase your happiness? A regular practice of gratitude!

That’s why it’s so important to start there when you make goals. Anything you achieve in your life will only make you happier temporarily on its own.

You may think that once you get that next thing, make it to that next level, you will naturally be grateful for it, but that’s not how it works. If you aren’t in the habit of being grateful now, that won’t change just because you have the next thing.

The problem with traditional goal setting is that it is based in fear.

When we sit down to set goals, we think about all of the things that are wrong with our lives. This makes sense, because the point of goal setting is to change, to improve.

But when you get your brain thinking that way, it is analyzing all of your past failures. Even though you are actively trying to find solutions, your subconscious is working against you, using the past as evidence that you will fail again.

Being happy about where you currently are and being excited about a better future aren’t mutually exclusive.

In fact, they work so much better hand in hand.

Instead of getting your brain to believe in your BIG dreams by shrinking them down, you can get your brain in a space where it’s already thinking about things that are real and true and AMAZING.

Every morning, and whenever you need a bit more motivation to work on your goals, you can use GRATITUDE and EXCITEMENT to get yourself in the right mindset.

Here’s how to put it in practice:

FIRST, start by thinking about all of the things in your life that you LOVE.

No, I don’t just mean your run-of-the-mill gratitude exercises.

“I’m grateful I have a roof over my head.”

“I’m grateful for my family.”

That’s not enough. That’s just a chore. Checking off the things you think you’re supposed to say. For gratitude to really work, deep down in your soul, you need to mean it, and you need to FEEL it.

Get really really specific and think about the things that bring you joy. I’m not just talking about mildly appreciating your life as you realize it’s not so bad, I want you to think of the things that make you so happy that you can’t help but smile, even laugh out loud, as you are making this list!

“I LOVE that my home is bright and colorful and the kids identify each room by color instead of function.”

“I LOVE our big blue cozy sectional where we can all pile on and snuggle together.”

“I LOVE Wally’s giant brown eyes and infinite dimples.”

“I LOVE Arthur’s curiosity and passion for life.”

NEXT, now that your brain is already feeling wonderful, start thinking about all of the things you want to achieve.

Since you’ve been thinking about things that are REAL and TRUE, your brain will accept these other things as TRUE and POSSIBLE too, instead of immediately rejecting them with all of the negative self-talk.

Instead of, “I need to stop yelling at my kids.”

Say, “I’m SO EXCITED to be able to spend more time enjoying my kids than disciplining them.”

Instead of, “I need to keep my house clean.”

Say, “I’m SO EXCITED to establish routines that effortlessly keep my home a place where I am at peace.”

Doesn’t that just feel so much better?

And when you feel better, you can do better!

When I’m feeling low I think it’s impossible to fit in time for a workout.

When I’m feeling excited I finish one Zumba video and then do another, and another.

When I’m feeling low it seems easier to just eat my go-to comfort meals full of butter and carbs.

When I’m feeling excited I love finding new delicious veggie-filled recipes.

When I’m feeling low I can’t think of a single thing to write.

When I’m feeling excited I easily write a whole post in one sitting. (Okay, I’m talking to myself again.)

When I’m feeling low I get caught up in all the little details and my goal feels impossible.

When I’m feeling excited I do whatever it takes to make it happen!

And so can you!

After writing your list put it somewhere you’ll see it often. I laminated mine and put it in the shower, so I can start every morning feeling grateful for the life I love and excited for things to come.

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