Through my years on planet Earth, I’ve discovered some shortcuts and tricks to helping me tend my dreams more efficiently and effectively. Whether your dream is to create a healthier body, happier marriage, bigger bank account, peaceful relationships, balanced emotions, or to pursue and achieve that secret or not-so-secret accomplishment you’ve imagined—one powerful process can get you there. This tip will change your dream life. And the rest of your world will likely benefit as well.
When I started pursuing my deepest desires, I expected to make a certain level of monetary investment. But I failed to consider the full time and energy requirements. I thought I knew.
Because I’m someone who is naturally energetic and a better than average time manager, plus, I’m a former athlete who knows the benefits of discipline, I figured time and energy would not create issues for me. I was wrong.
The more success I’ve achieved as a professional writer, speaker, life and business coach, the harder it’s become to keep up. The more successful you are, the less accessible you become. I don’t like it, but it’s very true. And since accessibility is one of my signature values—this fact particularly upsets me. But to succeed you must sacrifice, and you must also learn how to invest yourself as wisely as possible. If you manage your finances meticulously, but there’s a consistent time and energy drain, it could cost you your dreams.
I admit I was feeling a little sorry for myself when the idea came to me. I had just told my umpteenth friend “no” when asked if I wanted to get together. It’s pretty bad when you can’t schedule an hour for a cup of coffee anytime over the next month.
Guilt was eating me up inside. But because of a series of uncontrollable events, I was behind or barely keeping up everywhere. Business coaching clients needed my help with major tax and people issues. I needed to prepare for a new book launch. My literary agent was waiting for the new proposal we’d decided I would submit next. And then there was a family issue that blindsided and broke the hearts of us all. Multiple people I loved were devastated and needed a lot of extra TLC—not to mention the fact that I was trying to deal with my own shattered emotions. Life doesn’t grind to a halt and wait for you to tend your dreams.
I was sitting on my couch trying to decide if I was going to allow myself to wallow, or if I’d let overwhelm get the better of me that day. While I pondered both choices and envisioned the outcomes of each (imagining outcomes is another secret to self motivation), I knew what I had to do. Dreams don’t tend themselves. But I was struggling to overcome the sense of futility I felt due to the volume of responsibility I felt.
My agent had graciously told me to take my time on the new book proposal, and promised to pray me through. It’s a good thing, because I’m still not finished, although I am making real progress and am now very close. My book launch date came and went with little proactive attention from me, which is not normal, but I had to give myself grace. I knew I’d done my absolute best under the circumstances, and just had to trust that the efforts I make when I can how I can would help get its important message out there. But what about all of the other needs pressing on me?
That’s where the full picture of the 90/90 rule was born, though it originated much earlier in my life.
The 90/90 Rule
I was thinking back to my athletic days in high school, when I played basketball, volleyball, softball, ran track, and was in a small music group ensemble as a singer. (Back then I was even in musical plays and productions, but I don’t think you could pay me enough to do that now. Funny how we change as we age.)
It wasn’t easy making all of my interests work—but I figured out how. There were days I didn’t feel like running, practicing, or training, but I learned to set goals before I was fully aware that’s what I was doing. I typically scheduled my missions in 90 day increments, and I challenged myself to give no less than 90% for 90 days. But somewhere along life, I forgot that I used to do that.
You might more readily understand the 90 days, but do you wonder why I didn’t go with 100%? If so, let me explain.
Even as a kid, I realized that I needed the occasional break—physically, mentally, and emotionally. As an athlete, I’d been taught that my body needed allocated days to recuperate and heal, to relax and refresh. And something inside told me that if I allowed myself those breaks, I would become stronger mentally and emotionally as well.
That day on my couch not so long ago, I recalled how much I looked forward to those occasional breaks, and how they not only strengthened me, but motivated me. And I began to design a more formalized plan for myself today. This is what it looks like.
For 90 days, I am committed to giving a full throttle effort to my dreams 90% of the time. For instance, I am back on my thyroid protocol, which provides a much healthier eating and exercise lifestyle. In a week’s time, I will eat 21 meals. 90% of my week I am dedicated to very healthy choices consisting of fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, chicken, and lean meats with no sugar, alcohol, caffeine, bread, pasta, or processed carbohydrates. But 10% of my week (2 meals) I allow myself treats. This does two things.
- It gives me something to look forward to which prevents a sense of deprivation which would increase temptation and the likelihood of giving in.
- Those two meals (my 10%) tell my body I’m not in starvation mode which actually boosts my metabolism.
I’m following a similar regimen for catching up to the productive time I lost due to those uncontrollable events. For 90 days, 90% of the time, I am focusing on being highly focused on working through commitments, projects, and deadlines. I’m happy to report it’s working beautifully. I’m making progress much faster than I thought I would, my mind is clearer than it has been in a long time, and when I do take my 10% downtime, I feel no guilt. I know I’ve earned it.
Now that I’m a few weeks into my current 90/90 rule session, I’m feeling lighter, less overwhelmed, and am even finding a little time to say “yes” here and there. It’s also making it easier to deal with the uncontrollable events in my life. It was hard to push myself at first, but I’m so glad I did, because I’m starting to feel like me again.
There’s only one part I should clarify. This happens six days a week, not seven. I’ve talked about my secret of taking a weekly Sabbath rest for refueling. On Sundays, I’m devoted to time with God, family, and rest. No matter how crazy life gets, that’s a commitment I don’t break.
- Have you measured your time investment for your dream(s) recently?
- Where is your time and energy being drained the most?
- How might your life differ if you were to implement the 90/90 rule?
Imagine yourself 90 days from now after consistently applying the 90/90 rule to your dreams—what leaps will you have made?
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Track where your time is spent, much as you would to get a clear picture of where your money goes by writing down every penny that leaves your hand. Are you giving as much time and energy as finances to your dreams?
- Choose one dream, and focus the 90/90 rule on it first. Once you see how well it works in one area, I suspect you’ll use it in others as well.
- Think back to your most successful moments—what propelled you to keep moving forward when you felt overwhelmed?
- To implement the 90/90 rule means giving up some things. What do you need to cut in order to make your dreams come true and maintain them when you do?
- Where is guilt eating you up from the inside? Pinpoint those areas and implement the 90/90 rule to smother this dream tending foe.
- Don’t skimp on giving yourself the 10%. If you plan to tend your dreams for the long haul, you will need those moments to look forward to, and the refreshment they will provide. Your 10% will prove a great motivator on your toughest days.
- Ask yourself if your dreams are worth 90 days of a minimum 90% full throttle effort. What could you accomplish in that time with that kind of focus?
I also have some special eBook pricing for you. Type in the code TYDeb50 to get your copy of 4×4 Habit Overhaul, or One Minute Intervals™: Sixty Seconds to a Healthier, Foodier You, or Depression Busters, at over half off the normal price. Purchase a book bundle using the same code, and save even more.
But ACT NOW, before this special eBook discount offer is gone.
You can also get autographed copies of any of my books from my website.
Until next time, remember, your dreams are waiting for you to grab and tend:
Never stop believing.
Dare to dream bigger.
Host Anita Agers-Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com.