15 Tips That Will Encourage You To Chase Your Dreams: As Told By A Small Town Girl

15 Tips That Will Encourage You To Chase Your Dreams: As Told By A Small Town Girl

"To live would be an awfully big adventure" -Peter Pan
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As I get older I realize that a LOT of people lack that sense of wonder. Some people really don’t know how to dream anymore. It’s like they lost that feeling of excitement and new adventure you have as a kid, and threw it out the window the day the stepped out into the real world. As for me, I can’t imagine a life without it. I daydream, constantly about my plans, my future, my bucket list and how this small town girl is going to conquer the world!

I have a goal, a vision, this dream that is going to carry on in my head until I eventually get to live it out in reality. Now, I may be a small town girl but don't let that fool you. I'm not scared to get out of my comfort zone and go off on my own. I have roots here in small town USA but I've got dreams as high as the clouds, and boy am I going to chase them! It's a process though. One of heartache, hard times, let downs, lessons learned, risks taken and countless decisions. You'll have to learn how to grow, let people go, let go of the past and make the commitment but IT CAN BE DONE! And honey, let me tell you, you are NEVER too old and it is NEVER too late to dream! Do you want to know how?

Well darlin', I'm here to tell you 15 tips on how to gain that sense of wonder, and how to follow your dreams!


1. Never lose your sense of wonder

This is probably the most important thing on this list! If you always believe that something great is about to happen, it just might! I've read somewhere once, that the more you visualize yourself accomplishing a task, the more chances you have of actually accomplishing that task. So, everyday visualize yourself accomplishing your dreams, and eventually those dreams will turn into reality.

2. Form a habit

" Motivation is what gets you started.
Habit is what keeps you going"
-unknown

It takes 21 days to form a habit. Get your mind right! For at least 21 days try to make a habit of visualizing your goal! Believe that you can achieve your highest of dreams, and you will. Once you get in a habit of dreaming, it's harder for life to tear you down!

3. "Is this what you really want?"

It's inevitable, life will try to bring you down. People, places, things, they’ll get to you, but if you’re determined enough you won’t let them effect your goals. If you find yourself struggling with these obstacles maybe you should reevaluate your goals. Are they really what you want? If you can't see yourself without these dreams then keep moving forward! Don't let a bump in the road keep you from what your heart truly desires.

4. One day at a time

Sometimes planning out a dream can get very overwhelming. Like, "when am I going to go," "how will I get there," "what about this while I’m gone," or "that when I come back?" Take it one day at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will accomplishing your dreams, or even planning them for that matter. Take a deep breath and exhale; baby steps are key!

5. Take risks

Not everyone will agree with what you are doing, and that's okay. Trust me, take the risk. Go for that job, take that trip. Just because others don't see your potential doesn't mean that you have to give up. You know you best, so don't let others make decisions for you! Be the risk taker you've always wanted to be because in the end, you really only live once.

6. Grow into your dreams

God created each and everyone of us uniquely different. We all learn, think, and grow differently. You will come across times in your life where you have this amazing and elaborate dream, yet you have no idea how to get there at this very moment. Allow yourself to grow as a person. Just because we have a dream doesn't mean we can jump right into it! Sometimes, we need time to ourselves to become the person we need to be in order to fulfill our dreams!

7. You're not lost

Chasing your dreams will get overwhelming. One day you'll find yourself in the middle of the street, on an abandoned road with a map in one hand and a compass in the other wondering which way do I go? EVERYONE goes through the "lost" phase where you question every inch of your life, right down to your total existence. Getting "lost" every once in a while is okay! It will make you reevaluate what is truly important to you. So embrace it, but NEVER lose sight of that dream!

8. Sometimes you just outgrow people

Somewhere between growing into the person you are suppose to be and finding yourself after walking out of the wilderness, you'll learn that not everyone is still rooting for you. AND THAT'S OKAY. In life, we grow and sometimes we outgrow people. It doesn't mean anyone did anything wrong. A flower doesn't grow out of spite nor love for their neighbor, they just grow.

9. Letting Go

"Letting go is the toughest thing to do in life, but sometimes
it can turn out to be the best thing you've ever done"
-unknown

Letting go of the people you outgrow WILL be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when you're pursuing your dreams. That boyfriend/girlfriend has been with you for three solid years, but man look at that opportunity just waiting for you. "But, I don't want to leave him/her." Listen, you only get one shot at life, one. If you have the chance, take it. "If its meant to be, it will find a way," blah, blah, blah but its true! Ask yourself, "Will I regret staying if I pass up this opportunity?" If the answer is yes, you know what to do. Be strong, and fight for the life you deserve, even if it means fighting yourself.

10. Personal growth

Personal growth is not easy. Constantly fighting inner battles is the most exhausting thing ever. You'll battle the decision to give up on your dreams or to keep fighting. Honey, keep fighting! One day you'll wake up and you'll look back and you won't recognize the person you use to be. You'll be grinning from ear to ear because you pushed yourself further than you thought you could. You did that thing that you were most scared of, you took that leap of faith you climbed that mountain and darlin' you, well you became another person. Be proud of that.

11. Inhale future, exhale past

The past will come back to haunt you. It will get thrown in your face faster than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking competition. They may tell you you're not good enough. Don't listen to them. Who you were back then is not who you are now. It's a new day, a fresh start, a clean slate and it is NEVER too late to become the person you want to be. So inhale the future, embrace the change and exhale the past.

12. "Time is passing anyways"

" Never give up on a dream just because of the
time it will take to accomplish it.
Time will pass anyways"

Majority of the time, people give up on their dreams because it takes too long. Oh darlin, haven't you heard wine gets sweeter with age? Well, so do your dreams! The time is going to pass anyway, so you might as well take some steps toward that goal. Sometimes the longer it takes for you to reach a goal, the more accomplished you will feel. Knowing that you've been dedicated to something for a long period of time is oh so, fulfilling.

13. Commit to your dreams

Don't hesitate! When you get the opportunity take it and don't wait! There might be somebody else willing to swoop in and take your dreams from you, steel your thunder, and leave you empty handed. Don't let them! Come on, you've thought it over you've thought it through! You're going to have to step out of that comfort zone! Don't be scared, just do it!

14. "I'm sick of getting my hopes up for nothing"

"Hope is the only thing stronger than fear"

Sure, it's scary not knowing exactly what will happen but oh, the rush you feel after taking that leap of faith! They'll be times when you take that leap you fall flat on your face. It sucks and it's one of the most heartbreaking things in the world to know that your dreams came crumbling down. I'm here to tell you it's not over. There's another way, a secret passage, a backdoor, another route. Just because you can't see it from where you are standing right now, doesn't mean there is not another opportunity around the corner! Don't give up hope because it's the only thing stronger than your fears.

15. This is YOUR life

Above all else, write your own story! Don't let how others may see you and your story, keep you from writing the story you deserve! YOU are the author, YOU make the decisions, YOU and ONLY YOU have the ability, no, the power, to write the story of your life. YOU ARE IN CONTROL! If you are unhappy rewrite it! If you're scared others may not like what you write yell, "plot twist" and do it anyways! You have the right to cut them out of your story if they can't accept you. Don't apologize just do it and keep following your dreams!

Cover Image Credit: Candice O'Bar

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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My Future Is Unpredictable And That's Totally Alright

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations.

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For six months, I had plans to study abroad in the Dominican Republic during the fall semester of junior year. Filling out what seemed like endless applications and paperwork, searching for travel ideas on Pinterest, and writing a class research paper on the DR's relationship with its neighboring island, Haiti, I was prepared to live and learn about Dominican culture hands-on.

Then on the Thursday before Finals Week last spring, I read my email. My study abroad program in the DR had gotten canceled. In the span of 30 seconds, my future had taken a new course. Less than a week later, I was submitting papers to study abroad in a new country where another adventure awaited: Ecuador.

If there's anything I've learned in the past year, it's that life is unpredictable and we can't control it. The future is unknown. But-

Who wants to know exactly what's going to happen in the next few years? I mean, I believe it's good to have a direction, but you don't have to have the entire journey pinpointed straight to the core. You meet people, you get inspired, you see things, you have experiences. And you go from there. (Though, I totally respect people who have clear ambitions and stick with them their entire lives.)

Where I was a year ago was a completely different path than where I find myself today. Last summer, I worked four different internships/jobs in the span of three months. A year ago, I would never have guessed my following summer unfolding with an immersion trip to India, a solo adventure to Taiwan & Hong Kong, and becoming a certified yoga instructor. A year ago, I hadn't met half of my best friends. A year ago, I hadn't seen poverty in a third-world country. A year ago, I wasn't even sure I wanted to major in Environmental Studies.

Just because I don't know what the future holds doesn't mean I can't set goals. I have a destination, an idea of where I'm headed and where I want to go. While abroad in Ecuador, I want to learn about sustainable development and coffee production as well as enhance my Spanish skills.

As I prepare for study abroad in Ecuador, I'm going in with no expectations. I know the format of the program. I'll be taking classes and living with a host family and then doing an internship at a farm. Otherwise, I have no idea what's going to happen. And that's what I'm looking forward to the most. The spontaneity. The unexpected. As one of my good friends would say whenever he doesn't have formal weekend plans, "I'm improvising." And you know the one rule of improv: Always say yes.

¡Hasta pronto, Ecuador!

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