The other day I heard someone talking about how they don’t like calling pursuing your passions “dreaming”, because dreaming is for sleeping, and you should be active in going after what you want. You have to chase after what you want and put in a lot of hard work.

I agree with that to a point. I believe that reaching your goals involves actively making decisions that will get your closer to what you are working towards. However, I think the concept of dreaming is beautiful. Everyone should have something that gets them so excited that it keeps them up at night thinking about sometimes. Everyone should have that one thing that makes them excited for the rest of their life, because they cannot wait for what the world has in store for them.

I have no idea what I will actually end up doing in the future. I don’t know where I am going to live after college or what my first job will be–or what the one after that will be. Yet, I feel something burning inside of me every day that knows I should be excited for whatever my future turns out to be. I am certainly not wishing away the present, because I am thrilled to be where I am in my life right now, but I am not afraid of the future either.

How to Actively Pursue Your Passions


1. Establish your goals.

Having a dream is one thing, but if you want your dream to become a reality, you need tangible goals that will help you get there.

2. Envision the steps to achieving your goals.

Take some time to think about steps that you can take right now to achieve your final goals. Are there skills that you can be refining? Are there people you can talk to that can give you advice? It is never too early to start working towards your dreams.

3. Set deadlines.

I don’t know about you, but if I don’t have a deadline I tend to put things off. There needs to be something to keep you in line and make sure that you are actually putting the work in. When you have deadlines, you are more likely to keep yourself on track and actually accomplish something. For instance, maybe you want to improve your Photoshop skills. Make a goal of how often you want to have projects done by or a number of tutorials you want to have completed by a certain date. 

4. Take time to refocus.

Sometimes you need to step back and look at the reasons you chose to go after whatever it is you are passionate about. Why do you have these dreams? What is pushing you further? What is it that fire burning within you that tells you this is all worth it? You need to remind yourself of why you have those dreams.

5. Don’t let yourself get stuck.

This one kind of relates to number 4. If you took the time to refocus and you realized that you couldn’t figure out why you had these dreams, maybe you need to reconsider what you are working towards. For years I wanted to be a doctor. I tried to teach myself medical terms in my spare time. I narrowed down my specialty by the time I was 12 and stuck with it for years. But then one day, I realized that it wasn’t actually my dream. Maybe it had been at one point, or maybe it was just easy to stick with it because I had been saying it was my dream for so many years. Either way, I realized it’s okay to change your mind. Don’t feel anchored down by one idea. Be open to other possibilities, because there are so many things you can do with your life that you might not even know about now.

6. Accept failures, and move on.

One of the best talks that I have ever attended taught me that you should move onto the next thing before you find out how the last thing turned out. So maybe you’re a writer, and you want to be published. Part of the gig is facing rejection letters sometimes. Instead of getting stuck on whether or not your work will get accepted, start working on your next project. That way you are not letting your successes or failures dictate your path. You are moving forward, regardless of how one thing turns out. There will always be other opportunities, so make sure you are open to finding them.

7. Finally, invest in yourself.

You have to your biggest fan. If you want other people to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself first. Your confidence and your passion will be your greatest assets, and they will be invaluable in achieving your goals. Treat yourself well. Don’t push yourself too hard, and always remember that your dreams matter.

Dreaming might be something that we do when we’re sleeping, but I think it’s one of the most amazing things that our mind can do. When I am daydreaming, I don’t scold myself, because I know how important it is to my creativity. My imagination is one of my greatest strengths, and I don’t ever want to deny it. If you take anything away from this, please remember: never stop dreaming.

You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one. -John Lennon