Take a cue from your kids' dreams and develop some of your own. Here's how to get started.
Learn from life. Our everyday experiences provide terrific natural learning opportunities. When you tap into them, you create a lifelong learning habit that will always keep you growing. To do this, take any situation and ask yourself, "What worked, what didn't work, and what could I do differently next time?" Even your most frustrating experiences can be transformed into breakthroughs.
Imagine your bigger future. Every fantasy begins in the imagination. Take a few minutes to sit down with a notebook and think about where you would like to be in 20 years. Jot down details about all aspects of your ideal life. What will you be doing? What will your life be like then? Feel free to fantasize. Don't worry about whether you know how to get there now — you have 20 years to figure that out. Then jot down ten things you'd like to see happen in the next ten years to set the stage for your 20-year vision.
You can also start simple by picking a year in the future (three years from now is a good time frame) and drawing or making a collage of things you'd like in your life by then. Don't worry if you're not an artist; just go for it. Ask your kids to do their own versions, then put all of the artwork up where you can see it on a regular basis. Together, check in on it from time to time to see where you've made progress.
Know your strengths. We're often encouraged to work on our weaknesses, but working on your strengths is easier and creates better results. For help identifying them, ask some friends, family, or colleagues to write down what they most appreciate about you, and what they think you do well. They'll enjoy doing this, and you'll feel great when you read the responses. Once you know your strengths, you can put them to work to help you achieve your dreams.
Exude confidence. It's the foundation for all your other abilities. "Progress, not perfection" is a great mantra to keep your self-esteem high. Every night, write down five achievements or good things that happened that day. Big or small, it doesn't matter. If appropriate, add ideas for further progress and actions you can take to get started. Involve your kids by asking them to share their top five accomplishments at the dinner table or before they go to bed.
Stick to what you love. Find ways to integrate what you love to do into your life now rather than waiting until your kids are grown. This will give you more energy and keep you connected with your bigger dreams. Making a list of old hobbies is a great way to resurrect old passions. If you dream of traveling to an exotic locale, read books or watch movies about it, find recipes for its traditional foods, or plan a trip to take your kids there when they're old enough. Things you're passionate about come with their own store of energy. Connecting with them can give you a boost when you most need it.