When you’re faced with a difficult decision, what do you listen to: your head or your heart?
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It makes sense to explore your decisions from a perspective of logic to ensure that you don’t make major missteps that could lead you down the wrong path entirely. However, you shouldn’t always let your analytical side stand in the way of achieving your dreams.
It’s important to judiciously follow your heart. This will bring you closer to achieving your goals and dreams and ultimately finding the hard-to-discover fulfillment you have sought for so long.
1. Trust Yourself
Following your heart is scary. If you don’t start the process by trusting yourself, you won’t get very far. Before you embark on this journey, have an internal conversation with yourself. Remind yourself that you are strong and smart and worthy. Realize that you will necessarily feel silly at some point in time during your journey, and accept that fact.
If you need a self-confidence boost, list the things you’ve done that have worked out well. By ruminating over these successes, you can better prepare yourself to head fearlessly into the unknown and follow your heart to whatever destinations may be waiting ahead.
If you have detractors in your life who you know will try to derail your efforts, it may be worth it to distance yourself from these individuals. You don’t need negativity as you move through this process. You owe it to yourself to create a setting that allows you to be successful in your efforts.
2. Explore Your Passions Creatively
Before you can follow your heart, you have to hear what it’s saying. One way to truly get in tune with your innermost desires is to explore your passions through a creative outlet. Start dedicating some time to the forms of art that you like the most.
Perhaps you’ve always been a budding writer; if so, try keeping a blog or starting to write some short stories. Have you always wanted to create the art that graces gallery walls? If so, pull out your brushes and paint something magical or sculpt a work that truly reflects what’s going on inside of you.
When you allow yourself these creative outlets, you give yourself time to listen to your inner thoughts and wants. This will necessarily make following your heart easier.
3. Gather Sources Of Inspiration
Following your heart isn’t only about listening to what’s going on inside of you; it’s also about feeding your soul with information and ideas that will help shape your thoughts and wants. Dedicate some time to exploring the world around you.
As you do this, gather sources of inspiration and keep them close by. If nature inspires you, take some pictures, print them and place them across your wall. If you’re a lover of the written word, record some of your favorite passages in a journal or keep a poster of quotes that inspire you prominently displayed on your wall.
Review these sources of inspiration often to keep your heart happy and your mind engaged.
4. Allow Space For Contemplation
One of the primary impediments 21st-century people have to following their hearts is pure and simple distraction. We live in a complex world in which we are confronted daily with a barrage of distractions.
If you truly want to know yourself, you need to force some of these distractions out of sight so you can focus on what you want and who you are. Create the opportunity for yourself to focus on what you want by dedicating time to quiet contemplation. Take up yoga or enforce a quiet period at the end of each night during which you disengage from the world and re-engage with yourself.
5. Lean On Others
Listening to your heart doesn’t have to be a solo endeavor. The process can be a scary one, and having an ally in your corner can definitely help make it easier. As you start to connect to yourself but find that you have internal conflict, talking to a friend or even a therapist could be tremendously helpful in working through these issues.
Sometimes even the process of speaking your worries out loud can make them easier to handle. As an added bonus, you’ll likely find that connecting with another individual will prove fulfilling and may make it even easier to truly listen to your heart.
6. Build A Bucket List
As thoughts flow in and out of your mind each day, it can be difficult to decide which ones you should entertain and which you should abandon. To do this effectively, you need to catalog your wants. One easy way to do this is by creating a bucket list.
While building a list of the things you want to do before you die can seem daunting, it’s not that difficult if you break up the task. Start by spending a week or so drafting your list. Write down whatever comes to mind, even if it seems insane.
After you’ve crafted your draft, revise it. Review the list you have and remove things that aren’t truly worthy. Remember, however, that what is bucket list-worthy to you might differ from things that are bucket list-worthy to others.
If you really want to eat fish and chips in London, that could be worth placing on the list, even though it may seem silly and unnecessary to others. After you’ve created your bucket list, start working on it. Select one or two things to do per year so you are constantly working to accomplish these dreams.
7. Take A Risk
If you’re like most people, you dedicate yourself to trying to avoid excessively risky behaviors. This makes sense. You can’t take risks all the time, but you should allow yourself to do so at least once or twice in your life. In all likelihood, achieving some of your biggest dreams requires taking a risk.
Perhaps you have always wanted to spend a month in Italy. That prospect certainly isn’t without risks, but it is also highly promising. Dig deep and try to decide what you really want. Think of something that you simply won’t be happy if you haven’t done; that is what is worth taking a risk to accomplish.
8. Be Confident In Your Decisions
Second-guessing yourself is normal, but it isn’t always helpful. Life’s choices are complex. Each time you decide to follow one path, you leave other paths unexplored. This is an inherent difficulty in making decisions, and it’s okay. Allowing yourself to continually focus on what could have been or might have been had you made different decisions will only lead to self-doubt.
Retaining this confidence is particularly important if you have friends or family who always try to sway your decisions or speak ill of the choices you’ve made. Bolster your confidence and tune them out. You know what’s right for you. You need to have confidence and believe this.