An Open Letter To Every Procrastinator: Embrace The Cold

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Catherine Hughes

Director of the 8 Women Dream Project at 8 Women Dream
Catherine’s dream is to make 8 Women Dream the premier online publication for women looking to pursue their dreams. She is a published author, a freelance writer, and a guide for those who want their dreams to come true online. Catherine would someday like to be invited to speak at TED about her observations about her 8WD project inviting women to take a chance on their dreams. Wine was required... Catherine posts on Sunday evenings and fills in dream stories as needed. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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I hate cold weather. Call me a California wimp… fine. I love sunshine and wind that feels like your best blow dryer on medium when your hair is turning out uber-fine. If I can live somewhere that creates this daily .. I am in.

It’s that time of year that if I don’t get out for a walk by sunset, then I will think of a thousand reasons why it’s too cold to walk.

This is a small example of how we work (or I should say, ‘don’t work’) our dreams.

That good old inner-voice speaks out — getting right up in my face with all the reasons I hate walking in the cold…“it’s too dark, it’s too late; you’d have to find your shoes; those shoes irritate you; you need to send those emails, your son/kid/boyfriend/husband/pets/parents need you to feed them; The Good Wife looks good even though you never watch it; there’s laundry to fold, and you are tired …”

Are you hearing me here, sisters?

It’s at this point that I understand in my deepest soul that I must somehow beat this voice by making myself go outside and greet the cold. It’s what successful dreamers do. They would say to themselves,  “Hello thing that I don’t like, or I am afraid of … I am here to play and I am going to go ahead and take one step and see how I feel.”

But what if you aren’t up to it?

The part of me that wants me to be a success will try to get the resistant part of me to agree to only walk to the end of the block. The resistant part of me thinks that could be fairly easy, so I put on my winter coat.  I am still eying the evening dishes and those thousand excuses are screaming at me to listen.

I push out the back door and by the time I am at the end of the block I decide to go another. Pretty soon, I am taking in deep breaths of cold air walking block after block contemplating the fact that my mind doesn’t know when to shut-the-hell up.

It isn’t until I am walking that third block that I am able to get out of my head, into my body and take a look at my life. Why do I resist something that is this good for me and my dream?

Because it’s change.

It’s because I forget how much more I deserve out of life. Change is agreeing to more.

Back to those damn first ten minutes of my walk.

You have to start small. You have to stop at some point in your day and ask yourself what you have done for you this day. If you can’t think of anything beyond the brushing of your teeth, then it’s time to put on those walking shoes.

I tell myself that I will find my shoes and put them on. This will be the thing I do for myself today. Once I’ve got them on, it doesn’t feel like enough for me today. I may as well brush my teeth and put on a pretty sweater. That’s not enough either.  Where’s my water bottle? Next thing I know, I am briskly walking down the street.

You must tell your self that you will sit down and create the title to your first chapter. Nothing more. You must tell yourself that you will create a draft email to the company you want to work with … it’s only a draft, nothing more. If that’s too much, then make yourself look up the email address and add it to your contacts.

Breaking down your dream into little small steps that take the pressure off helps you to do more. Before you know it you’ve taken that first hard step towards your dream. It’s not about whether you feel like it or not, it’s whether you can hook yourself into taking the smallest step.

Tonight the night sky was filled with stars, dream dust and the sound of my beating heart against the tapping of my small steps embracing the cold.

One small step for dreaming.