131: Reclaiming Your Lost Dreams | Tanya Dalton Skip to the content
July 16, 2019   |   Episode #:

131: Reclaiming Your Lost Dreams

In This Episode:

It’s not the silly mistakes you’ve made, it’s about those dreams you wish you would have chased after. On today’s episode, I talk about how to stop making excuses for going after your goals and scheduling a date to accomplish your “someday” dreams. I share a personal story about my “someday” goal that I have finally accomplished with my new book, The Joy of Missing Out, and offer some encouragement to get you to reclaim your long lost dreams. Today we start Season 11: Small Changes For Big Impact, and I can’t wait to share all of the fabulous episodes we have in store for you.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Someday can be TODAY.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I let go of regret?
  • How do I live a life of no regrets?
  • How can I live more mindfully?

Actions to Take

  • Those dreams that maybe you’ve placed on a shelf, take them down every now and again. Don’t let them wither away because you never know when that dream may come calling. I want you to stop waiting around for someday and I want you to make someday today.

Key Topics in the Show

  • Letting go of excuses to chase after your dream

  • Putting a firm date for “someday”

  • Choosing how we want to live each day

  • How I turned my “someday” dream into reality

  • Taking the bull by the horns and living a life of no regrets

Resources and Links

Show Transcript

Welcome to Season 11 of Productivity Paradox with Tanya Dalton, a A podcast 

focused on finding true fulfillment and happiness through the power of productivity. Join Tanya this season as she explores the theme of small changes for big impact. To get her free checklist, Five Minutes to Peak Productivity, simply g

to inkWELLpress.com/podcast. 

Now here’s your host, Tanya Dalton. 

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, Tanya Dalton, and this is Season 11. Which means lots of new changes, a new introduction done as always by my husband, John, and a whole new theme. This season is small changes for big impact and I have a ton of fabulous episodes in know, all too often people think you have to do huge, monumental things in order to make an impact. But honestly, I believe that you don’t always have to think so large scale in order to have a positive effect that’ll lead to success and happiness. Sometimes when we look at these huge things that we want to accomplish, we can intimidate ourselves just a little bit, right? We can begin to doubt ourselves in our abilities. We can feel, well, a little bit small, but small is absolutely okay. Small is where all of us begin. 

I really believe in dominoes and snowballs and ripple effects. The small things can have big outcomes. Let me tell you what I mean by that. A single snowflake maybe doesn’t seem like much, but you add in a few more snowflakes, you can make a snowball. And from there, you can make a snowman or even have a snow battle. It doesn’t take one ginormous snowflake to do this. Just a bunch of tiny little flakes adding up one by one by one. Man, maybe a little creativity so you can make that snowman, but it all starts with one single flake of snow drifting down. We think sometimes that we’re too small to affect change or that we need a huge following to start something big. 

Jennie Allen, founder of If:Gathering, which is an event that attracts millions of people every year. She recently shared a really insightful post where she said somebody had talked about her success right out of the gates and here’s how she replied. “Nothing ever shows up out of the gate.” She shared her first blog, had an average of about a hundred readers, most of whom she knew personally. Her first month of sales for her first book, about a thousand which she attributes mostly to her mom. But you see, those numbers didn’t matter. What mattered was she was doing 

something she loved and because people were being affected by her message, that’s really what counted. It wasn’t the masses that she has now. She was in the trenches doing the work she felt mattered. Small bits by small bits, and that’s how we all start. Do you see what we’re saying here? I think we all forget that little changes ultimately lead to big wins. 

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Sometimes these little things can be actions like going to the gym or making healthy lunch choices. Sometimes it can be about little shifts in our mindset, like focusing on positive things and writing in a gratitude journal or prioritizing the things that really are important to us. But these tiny actions and attitudes, they can snowball. They can snowball into something bigger than their starting point. Yes, it starts with a small flake, but then it grows bigger and bigger and bigger. That is what we’re going to focus on this season, making small changes for big impact. Looking ahead this season, we’re going to cover topics like taking passion to new levels, creating support systems, building up confidence, reframing our failures. Plus, I have some fantastic guests lined up this season to come and inspire you with their wisdom and advice. We have some really great things in store for Season 11, so let’s go ahead and get started because this is our very first episode of this season. 

Today is episode 131, reclaiming your lost dreams. In this episode, we’re going to talk about those dreams you’ve either set aside or that you’ve pushed down lower on your priority list, or maybe you’ve taken them off your priority list altogether. We’re going to talk about why that happens, why we let dreams fall to the wayside, 

and what we can do to dust off those lost or forgotten dreams and get them back into the top of our mind and really start to make some actions towards them. We’re going to talk a little bit about someday syndrome and how to overcome that and how regret and happiness plays into all of this. So, let’s get started reclaiming those lost dreams. Let’s start with the dreams. 

What happens to us that makes us lose sight of those big lofty goals we had as a kid? Remember your friend who wanted to be a superhero, or maybe the one who said she was going to be the first astronaut to fly to Mars? Or my friend’s brother, who one day announced he wanted to be the first alien president. My friend’s mom did everything she could to not discourage his dream, even though she figured chances of him becoming the first alien president were pretty slim, 

Sometimes the truth is our dreams are a little bit lofty. Maybe even unrealistic Growing up to be a superhero sounds pretty great, but probably not really going to happen. But what about the dreams we had that were realistic, the ones that we 

could pursue if we just put a little effort into them? Why do those dreams fade or get lost in the mix? I’m not talking about the unrealistic ones, like becoming wonder woman. I’m talking about the things that you really love, the ideas and the passions you had, the ones that still pop up in your mind every now and then and maybe they’ve just been buried under a pile of real-life responsibilities. In the pursuit of adulting, we sometimes lose sight of our core goals. We’re so busy worrying about paying the rent we dismiss our big dream saying they’re silly or unrealistic even when they’re not. 

Adulting is just an excuse people use to let go of their big dreams. You can be responsible, and you can pursue your passion. It’s not one replacing the other. It’s those two living together in harmony. Let’s talk about those. Let’s talk about those dreams you had that maybe you still do have in the back of your mind you continue to push aside. I hear so many reasons, excuses for why people aren’t pursuing their 

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true passions. Sometimes it’s because they just don’t feel like they have the time to do the things that they originally wanted to do, or maybe they feel like they have too many obligations or responsibilities for work and family needs instead of tending to 

their own dreams. Or maybe they feel like they don’t have the knowledge or the skills to feel comfortable making a leap to become an entrepreneur or start a new business or whatever it is. 

They think there’s just too much they don’t know, so they push those dreams away and move on to things like laundry or carpool or whatever. All these different tasks that don’t really fulfill us. We hide behind these grownup tasks and errands. These things that we have to do so that we don’t think about what those big goals are and that gives us a reason to push them aside for some day, and that’s one of the things I want to talk about next. When we’re waiting for someday to happen, that someday I will achieve this goal, someday doesn’t tend to happen. I want to talk about that next, but before we dive into this, I want to have a quick word from today’s sponsor. 

This episode has been sponsored by the University of California, Irvine or UCI. For many people, the lack of knowledge can be a huge roadblock when it comes to pursuing their dreams. Maybe they don’t know much about accounting or legal paperwork or marketing or whatever, so they let that get in the way of following their passion. Well, that sounds like something you’ve ever said. I would recommend checking out UCI because they have a division of continuing education that’s been around since 1962. It provides learning pathways for anyone who’s wanting to advance their careers or just want some personal enrichment. With courses and certifications in a wide range of categories from business and education to digital marketing, human resources, project management, healthcare and so many others, there are so many different specialized studies you can find. Their courses are 100% online and you can advance your career in as little as six months. 

Perfect for those of you who are juggling work, family and maybe even a career change. UCI is a great resource for anyone wanting to reenter the workforce after taking time off or maybe to help gain some new skills to help you with that side business you’ve been talking about. Registration is now open for the fall quarter and right now they have a great offer for my listeners. Simply go to ce.uci.edu/productivityparadox and enter the promo code, paradox, to receive 15% off one of their online courses. Again, that’s ce.uci.edu/productivityparadox. And don’t forget to use the promo code, paradox, to get 15% off. This offer is valid until December 31st, 2019. I’ll also post this link in my show notes for today’s episode. 

All right. I know you’ve heard me talk about someday syndrome before and we discussed this right before the break, but it goes something like this. You’re in elementary school and your art teacher shows you an amazing painting and you think, someday I’m going to be an artist. And in a blink, you’re sitting in studio art class in high school and a painter visits your classroom and tells everyone what it takes to become an artist. And you say, someday I’m going to paint and sell my work. Then in another blink of the eye, you get a real job and you say, someday when I’m not 

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working my tail off to pay my rent, I’m going to pick up painting again. And then there’s another blink of the eye and you get married and maybe has some kids and someday gets rescheduled once again. And you say, someday when the kids are older and they’re more independent, then I will be a painter. 

Then the kids go to high school and you find yourself pushing back that date again. Someday when the kids leave the nest, then I’ll become an artist. You see, 

omeday somehow never seems to come. It’s constantly being pushed back and pushed back and pushed back even more. I actually wish someday existed with things 

like paying taxes, someday I’ll pay the taxes. But someday doesn’t work with uncle Sam and it shouldn’t work with you either. So maybe like our uncle Sam there, we should put a firm date on our someday and not let that keep getting pushed back. Let’s be honest, someday doesn’t exist. It’s a finish line that keeps moving back further and further away. You can still see it, but it’s so far away. 

You never seem to get any closer. Saying someday is like saying when pigs fly, it’s an empty hope that we give ourselves to make us feel like we haven’t really abandoned those dreams we talked about. But the truth is someday is just as bad as saying you’re not going to do that thing you keep talking about. I know this is a little bit of tough love, but saying someday is like saying never. In fact, saying never would be a little more honest with yourself if you’re not willing to do the work to get to those goals and dreams. We’ve got to stop putting things off for a someday that never happens. We have to stop using someday as our excuse. At some point, you’re going to run out of somedays and then you’re left with nothing but regret and disappointment. We don’t want that regret for the things you keep putting off for tomorrow and the tomorrow after that and then the tomorrow after that, the day that never seems to come. 

In fact, there’s been a lot of really interesting studies about this, about this idea of regretting what we’re not really pursuing. Psychologist Thomas Gilovich, along with Victoria Medvec conducted a study where they asked participants to disclose their biggest regrets in life. What’s interesting is that the results illustrated that most participants mentioned things that they had not done instead of the things that they had done. Their regret was tied to their somedays. It wasn’t tied to their mistakes or their failings, the things that they had tried and hadn’t succeeded in, just the failure to start. That was their biggest regret. In all of their lives with all the things that they had done, that was consistently what people struggled with this regret. So, one of the researchers, Gilovich, wanted to dive deeper into this idea and he did a follow-up study where he reviewed the content of the people’s regrets. 

The research concluded that most people’s longest lasting regrets centered around not living up to their ideal self. The ideal self is the person we want to become based off the goals that we set for ourselves, like our ambitions and our dreams for example. Interestingly, most of the deep regret felt was not tied to what people thought they were supposed to be doing or what they perceived as fulfilling the obligations of other people, like a boss or your parents. It was really tied to their own self and what they truly wanted in their ideal self. So, what I find fascinating is we 

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spend so much time worrying about what we should be doing, trying our hardest to live up to everybody else’s expectations. But when we look at our deepest regrets, none of that matters. It’s the goals and the dreams that we gave up that weigh us down with this regret. 

The things that we really wanted to do, not the things we think we are supposed to do. So why aren’t we pursuing that? Why aren’t we going after the things that we in our core, our heart of hearts, why aren’t we going after those? We have to stop thinking of life as a series of have to’s, things that you have to do and start thinking of it as get to. We choose how we live. We have a choice. You can either find yourself at the end of your life having regrets for all the woulda, coulda things that you wish you had done in this life. All of the dreams and the goals and the aspirations you had that you set aside for an abundance of reasons or excuses, or in the words of Robin Williams, in the movie, Dead Poets Society, you can carpe diem. You can seize the day. 


Take the bull by the horns and live a life of no regrets. Don’t wait for someday. Schedule some day and make it happen. Give yourself a deadline. Give yourself a date that you will begin to work on this goal or dream or whatever it is. Just make sure it’s something that you think you really, truly want to do. And I’m not saying that we have to create a life where we choose to go after our dreams or we choose our day job. I didn’t quit my job to pursue my biggest goal that I wanted to do. I didn’t do that either. We can create a life for both work together in harmony. 

I want to share with you my own personal story because as with everything we talk about in this podcast, or in my book or anywhere else, I don’t just say these words. I actively live the life I talk about and I think if I’m not living by my own words, that’s not really a life of authenticity and that doesn’t really work for me. I can’t sit here and preach to you to live without regrets if I’m not going to live by that same mantra, right? And I shouldn’t tell you to stop putting off someday if I’m not doing 

that too. So, I want to share my own story about how I reclaimed my own lost dream 

I’m in the middle of living that very thing. You see, on October 1st, already know that that someday goal / set for myself all the way back in sixth grade in Mr. Carlisle’s English classroom in Ventura, California, that someday is happening on October 1st. It’s really coming true. You see, I can still vividly remember 12-year-old me standing up in front of my class presenting the book I created. 

Thad worked nonstop on it all through the holiday break and I had loved every minute of it and I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to someday be an author. Someday I will write a book, someday. My sixth-grade masterpiece complete with pop-up illustrations because yes, I was an overachiever even back then. It was titled Aunt Liza’s Treasure and it’s been sitting on a shelf propped up in a place of honor in my kids’ playroom since they were really little. I would pass by that book on my wa

to their rooms and every now and again it would catch my eye as I moved around picking up toys and doing a few other things, but it sat there for a really long time reminding me of that dream to be a published author. It was still deep inside. That 

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goal came up every single January from the time I was 12 years old. Not now, I’d say. Maybe one day, I’d say. 

There were plenty of times, plenty of times when I told myself maybe it was a dream, I would have to let it go because maybe I wasn’t going to be an author and that was okay, but really wasn’t. And I knew in my heart it wasn’t really okay. It meant that I was going to have to cut the rope and let that dream sail away. Never to be revisited in my head. But it did come back around every single year. Is this year? No, maybe now, maybe not. And I kept saying someday, but then one day I stopped. I stopped saying someday and I said now. And here I am with Harper Collins as my publishing partner and not just a dream, but a real book being published this fall, telling people that they can order, The Joy of Missing Out, right now has been one of the most surreal experiences for me in my entire life. 

Y’all, you can buy my book today. My someday has become today. And that is an amazing thing. So, I’m telling you, those dreams that maybe you’ve placed on a shelf, take them down every now and again. Don’t let them wither away because you never know when that dream may come calling just as it’s done for me. I want you to stop waiting around for someday and I want you to make someday today. I want you to think about your ideal self, that self that you want to be, not the self you think others want you to be or what you’re supposed to be. What is it that you want? Then I want you to pursue that life that you want, that honors your dreams and ambitions because I don’t want you to have any regrets. I think that’s what I am most excited 

about with this season of small changes for big impact. 

It really is about these small things that we can do that drive us towards that life we really want to, making a bigger impact. That’s what we’ll be talking about over the course of the 13 episodes of this season. And I do not want you to miss out on a single one, so make sure you’re signed up for my weekly newsletter. Each week I send out a podcast email with information and extra resources. Simply go to Tanyadalton.com/email to sign up. And speaking of upcoming episodes, next week we 

g to be talking about how we can use failure to actually fuel us towards success. So, I hope to see you here next week. All right, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week. 

Thanks for listening to Productivity Paradox. Now we’d love to have you join the conversation. To Join Tanya’s free group simply go to Tanyadalton.com/group. 

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