How Aspirations Change Over Time

What are your lifelong achievement goals? What did you dream of as a child? Has that changed? Aspirations are those dreams that we conjure up throughout our lives. As children, it may have been a career goal of becoming a fireman, a ballerina, or the President. Then, we age and gain new responsibilities.

Our perspectives change, making new things take on more importance. Aspirations are not a one-and-done kind of dream. They evolve as you grow, and navigate through new challenges. Understanding how your long-term plans might change helps you understand that you are not failing if life takes a detour. 

The 4 Stages of Aspirations

Life seems to run in stages – so do aspirations. Typically, you may find yourself in any one of these stages throughout your life:

  1. Unadulterated Optimism: We normally associate this stage with our youth when we don’t have the same fears and responsibilities as our older years. This is the stage to identify your weaknesses and build your knowledge and skills. You create a better opportunity for success when you are aware of what you don’t know, and you work to grow in wisdom. Since we don’t know any better, we can dream freely and pursue our dreams.

As we age, we can still tap into this vital stage, but it’s important to curate a social circle that supports our walking that fine line between faith in our brilliant new ideas and taking action on making those dreams a reality.

  1. Worldly Reality: Life does happen, and we get burdened with responsibilities. We start jobs, buy houses, and have families. This is part of life. Your aspirations will seem like they die at this stage, but they don’t. Instead, they are weighed down and go into hiding. You may find that you struggle to find a work-life balance so that you can continue working toward your dreams.

What I’ve found to be of help during this stage, is to have the necessary difficult conversations necessary to carve out personal time to work towards my aspirations. That has always required some form of compromise, but it has allowed me the ability to maintain pursuit of my dreams even if in a limited capacity at certain points in time.

  1. Renewed Dreaming: As a best case scenario, as time goes by, our responsibilities lighten or shift, and we find ourselves willing to dream again. For some, this may result in a mid-life crisis. It is easy to become distracted. For all of us, it is the time to take a renewed look at our dreams and how we can refocus and refresh our outlook. Often, the result is a firm footing and a renewed perspective on what we want to do with our lives. 

More likely, is that you meet some obstacle in life that makes you question what you’ve done with your time and why it doesn’t carry the meaning and impact you had once hoped for. In extreme cases, therapy may be needed to identify the root cause of your disappointment so you can get back on track.

In my case, depending on the severity of the life shift, I’ve used therapy on occasion, I’ve used a life coach, and I’ve had paid mentorship’s to help me identify my vision for who I want to be and how I want to show up.

  1. Realignment and New Momentum: After renewing our aspirations and shifting as needed, we get the desire to jump in with a sense of purpose. We may feel young again, and others will notice a bounce in our step. Our fears are lessened like in our youth, and the momentum builds to accomplish our hopes and dreams.

The challenge here is maintaining momentum. Engaging in pursuit of dreams is like falling in love. There’s the initial honeymoon period where anything and everything feels possible, followed by unexpected challenges and/or a desire (sometimes very subtly) to keep things the same. 

This is where discipline, SMART goals, and your curated circle of supporters will come in the most handy. I’ll go into greater details on all these areas in future posts.

In closing, aspirations are a lifelong pursuit, and you will go through many stages. Understanding those stages helps you identify what is happening so you can adjust to achieve your dreams.

Here’s how I can help you define and pursue your own aspirations:

Take my eCourse on How to find your Why.