"Just lying in the bar with my drip feed on
Talking to my girlfriend, waiting for something to happen
I wish it was the sixties, I wish we could be happy
I wish, I wish, I wish that something would happen..."
"I wish I could let the past go."
Reading these wishes now, I realize how many of them have come true. I am happy, my own boss, writing every day. I have stopped smoking, drinking, excessively shopping. I am making efforts every day to be positive, to be present. I also realize how many of these wishes did not come true at the time. Why? Because I wasn't trying. I was wishing, waiting, wanting. It was only years later that I realized that if I wanted my wishes to come true, I had to make them come true. I had to take action.
It makes me sad to think back on my past self, curled up in my room with my books and my computer, making the same mistakes over and over again and wishing things would change. Looking at her from the future, I want to tell her that it will get better, that she cannot just wait for things to change, that she has to get up, get out, make her life what she wants it to me. Of course I cannot go back to her and tell her these things -- but I can share them with those of you who are where I once was, in a place of hopeless restlessness, wishing and waiting. Here's my advice for the girl I once was and for those of you who are still listening to Radiohead and wishing you were anywhere but where you are.
Do's and Don'ts of a Making a Wish a Reality
Do one small thing every single day. Don't let yourself become discouraged by big dreams or seemingly impossible goals. Take it one day at a time, one little act at a time. If you want to be more positive, for example, don't feel like you have to start seeing sunshine everywhere. Focus on one little thing you can be positive about and go from there. One of the best ways I've found to turn a wish from a want to a reality is to start taking action immediately. No matter how small, take one little step every single day and you'll be moving closer and closer to your goal.
Don't underestimate yourself. If someone had told college-aged me that I would have a site about positivity, I would have rolled on the floor with laughter. But look where I am today. I've been doing this for over three years and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. What seems impossible never is -- it just takes a little belief in yourself. If I hadn't believed in myself, I wouldn't have been able to overcome the obstacles I have. It wasn't always easy to do -- especially when I didn't feel like I was making progress or had set backs -- but it's essential to making a wish something real.
Do get back up every time you fall down. From the time I wrote those wishes to where I am today, I've faced quite a few setbacks. It's been a bumpy, winding road to get from there to here. Sometimes I found myself going backward, falling down. But I was always turning around, getting up again, redirecting myself. Sometimes it was so tempting to just say screw it and go back to my old ways, but I took it one day at a time. I reminded myself of all I had to look forward to and those thoughts of a happier future motivated me to stand up every time I fell.
Don't forget what you really want. You've made wishes for a reason. Something in your life isn't what you want it to be. You want something different, something better. Don't forget that when you're struggling, when you're tempted to just wait and not take action. Always remember what you want and why you want it. For me, it was always about being happier, more content. I knew what I wanted, and even though it was so hard to let go of some of the things that got in the way of my happiness, keeping my focus on my end goal helped me survive the times when those a wish-come-true seemed impossible.
Do share your wishes with others. We've been taught that if we share a wish it won't come true, but I've found the opposite to be true. Telling people what I hope for, what I want, holds me accountable for my actions. If I say I want to be happier and I'm doing something that is making me unhappy, the people in my life can call me out on it. In addition, telling people about your wishes can open doors for you. You can make connections with people who have the same desires, you can find people who will support and encourage you when you're feeling low. Don't underestimate the power of sharing a wish.
Don't give up. There will be moments when it seems like you will never get where you want to be. Trust me, I've been there. I know how it feels to believe there is no point, that you've given your all and gotten nowhere. But don't give up. There is a teeny, tiny little part of you that has the energy to give a little bit more, to get up again and try one last tactic. When I look back, I see so many situations where I could have given up. I see so many times I wanted to just turn around. But I didn't and I'm so thankful for that. Don't you give up either. It's perseverance that turns wishes into realities.
No matter what your wish might be -- a tangible thing like a better career or a emotional state like happiness -- you and only you can make it come true. Others might be able to give you a boost or help you along the way, but the rest is up to you. You have a choice. You can stay holed up in your mind, wishing and wanting the way I used to. Or you can get up, take action, make changes. It's all up to you.