Don’t Wait for Perfect: Start Living the Future You Envision Today

Many of us envision a future where we can finally live our dreams—getting our dream job, traveling the world, or spending quality time with our grandchildren. At work, we may choose to do everything ourselves instead of delegating because we tell ourselves that it takes too much time to teach someone else and so we rob ourselves of the time we could spend being more strategic. Waiting for a perfect time or someone else to facilitate the change won’t magically transform us. We can start taking steps and practicing now to become who we want to be later.

Reflect on your current life and think about the cherished parts of yourself that you’ve set aside due to today’s responsibilities. Picture a future where these parts resurface and consider how you can start inviting them back now. I, for example, used to be an avid reader, but as my career and family demands grew, I pushed that aside. I want to rekindle my love for reading—to focus, enjoy, and remember books as I once did. This means intentionally putting away my phone and embracing guilt-free reading time. Some weeks are better than others, but I feel like I’m making progress.

As you imagine your future life, consider the skills you’ll need and how you can start practicing them now. If you dream of an ideal job, what obstacles can you address now? Do you need to learn some new skills? Make different connections? If you want stronger connections with loved ones, what steps can you take today to prepare for that? Often, we think external barriers stop us from pursuing our dreams but if we listen to our longings, there may be something we can do right now. What stories do you tell yourself about why you need to wait? How true are they? What can you start today?

Establishing new habits or breaking old ones can be challenging, so set yourself up for success. Make it easier to incorporate new activities into your routine. For instance, if you want to start running, place your running clothes next to your bed so they’re the first thing you see in the morning. If you’re learning to play the piano, keep your phone in another room to avoid distractions.

Remember, if we are always driven by what is urgent instead of what is important and reflects our values, we may miss out on achieving our dreams. Start small and be intentional, set aside time to take the steps you can to move toward the person you want to become.

Don’t wait for life to slow down to pursue your dreams. Start integrating them into your life now, even in small ways, to gradually build the future you desire.  If you want help, coaching can support integrating new habits, behaviors, and growth. 

“If you think time will change your ways, don’t wait too long.”

– Madeleine Peyroux (American jazz singer and songwriter).

 Anne Garing, PhD & Peg Hunt, MS

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