From Wanting Change to Making It Real

wanting change

Forget yesterday – it has already forgotten you. Don’t sweat tomorrow – you haven’t even met. Instead, open your eyes and your heart to a truly precious gift – today.

– Steve Maraboli

In the past year, I’ve written a book, signed on with a publisher, successfully funded an Indiegogo campaign, and collaborated with many influential people, and yet I still feel like I have nothing to show for my efforts.

I’m still working a full-time job, barely making ends meet for my family, putting in hours of work every day into my blog, and making zero profit. Despite wanting change, the reality feels miles away.

The hours I’ve been putting into my creative work have taken away the quality time I spend with my wife and daughter. My relationships with my parents and siblings have also suffered. I’ve put them on the back burner in hopes of pushing through the barriers toward my dreams of making a living from doing what I love.

Wanting Change But Feeling Stuck

It would seem I’m on the brink of something life-changing, yet I can’t help but feel stuck. Have I become so used to the way I’m living my life that I’m subconsciously avoiding taking the next step? I think so.

Although I spend hours online, I don’t feel like I’m getting very far for my efforts or lack thereof. I find I’m working at the speed of a snail while my mind is drawn to things requiring less thought.

My brain was becoming stagnant and the desire to move forward was in limbo. How could I ever get to where I want to be if I’m just sitting around hoping things will change? It’s like a spell had been cast upon me to stall any movement toward progress in an already slow-moving journey.

Then I Remembered Something

I remembered that this wasn’t the first time I’d felt this way. I had been in a mind-stalling funk in the past. I remembered the last time I felt this way was when I quit my first blog. I also remembered that not a month after I quit that blog, I began regretting it and the desire to get back to work started to build.

I realized what I needed to do to move forward – I just needed to rest my mind. I needed to take a break from trying to figure things out. I was trying so hard to move forward that I was going nowhere. So, I decided to take a week off to completely unplug and think about nothing that had to do with my creative work.

Going Offline

I let all of my emotions out to my wife and did my best to explain the way I was feeling to her. I told her I felt extremely bad for not being as emotionally and mindfully involved much of the time. She understands and completely supports my dreams, yet does feel neglected from time to time, which tears me up inside. I told her I’d do better and find a way to make it all work.

I had a heartfelt conversation with my Mom, explaining to her that my absence from her life was not of her own fault, but of my own. I’m not very good at these types of talks, but assured her I was getting back in touch with what mattered. I explained to her that while trying to put positive vibes into the world through my blog, I was creating negative results in my inner circle.

I began to pull back from the online world I was so enthralled in creating prevalence in and gave my full attention to my physical environment. I started paying attention to the small things and began making more time for my family. I needed to find a way to make an adjustment to not only spend quality time with my family but work towards my creative vision as well.

Overwhelmed, Underpaid, & Ready to Give Up

There was a moment when I almost decided to give up on what I had spent the previous two years building. I honestly didn’t know if what I was doing was ever going to give me the freedom I wanted when I began creating it. I just didn’t know if the brand I was trying to build, the people I was attempting to reach, and the meaning behind why I was doing it were ever going to be more than just a time-consuming hobby with little interest.

I was overwhelmed with the minimal results for the time spent creating. I was extremely underpaid for the amount of work I was putting in. Most of all, I was questioning if Unplugged Recreated was a lost cause. I took that week to really buckle down and do some soul searching and decide if I believed enough in my creation to continue to move it forward. All the while, trying to rekindle my personal relationships.

Finding Balance and Clarity

After much deliberation, I chose to continue with my blog. I still felt the passion for the difference I believed I could make through it. When I opened my computer the following week, I promised myself that no matter what, the first thing I would do was complete a task meant to progress my path to financial freedom. I decided I would start figuring out how to turn my passion into an actual business. I made a commitment to stop being lazy and start being more productive with my time online.

I wanted to find a balance between working on my dreams and also working on building my relationships with the people I love. I began taking 15 minutes or so every night to write down the tasks I would work on the following day. I started making myself accountable to finish those tasks before I could move on to randomly pursuing other interests.

Besides making a plan to find balance, I wanted to be clear about the path I was taking to move closer to fulfilling my dreams of working full-time through my online work. I made a plan of action that focused specifically on tasks with results I could measure. I just wanted to bring clarity to the chaos of not knowing the next step I would take. One of the biggest mistakes I had been making was not making a specific plan that led to the end result I was chasing. So that’s what I did.

I created a journal and mapped out the tasks needed to reach the results to move me one step closer to my goals. I broke those tasks down into daily achievable milestones and started forcing myself to sit down and just do the work every day to reach them.

After that, I created various worksheets to help bring additional clarity to my journey. It started as a simple way to physically map out my path and ended up becoming a tool that I use on a weekly basis. I created a worksheet to help with inspiration and reflection, one for obstacles that stood in my way, one for small goals to overcome those obstacles, and a weekly goal worksheet for accountability. I’ve even turned these worksheets into a toolkit, added in an inspirational manifesto, named it the Dream Design Toolkit, and am currently giving it all away for free.

This toolkit has helped me triple my productivity, amp up my motivation, hold me accountable, and inspire me to move forward as well.

Plan for balance…check! Plan for clarity…check! Ready for action…double check!!

Sustainable Progress

The first two years working towards my dreams were done without having a clear set of goals and actions, other than just getting online and making things happen. I always told myself I didn’t need a specific plan to be able to accomplish the things I wanted.

As it turns out, I was lying to myself. Although I did make some things happen, I also wasted hundreds of hours doing nothing more than thinking about what to do next. After taking the time to step back and look at things from a clearer perspective, I learned that I wasn’t going to progress at a rate suitable for what my intentions were without making a plan.

I finally caved and developed the plan and have been acting on it. I feel like I’m not only making progress, but have now had more time for my family, and have gotten more accomplished in less time. I’m hopeful that my new method will bring sustainable progress in my search for the ever-growing dream of doing what I love for a living while helping others aim for the same. I’m also confident in my ability to focus on the things that matter most each day instead of only looking towards the future.

So, what about you? Do you find yourself wanting change but not sure how to make it real? Let’s share our stories and help each other turn our desires into realities.

60 thoughts on “From Wanting Change to Making It Real”

  1. Hey Justin. Loved reading this post. I am going through a similar moment in my life (although I am not as far along as you,) where I am making sure I focus on what really matters, and actually create a plan. My husband and I just sat down to make our plan more clear and break the goals down into bite sized chunks that are doable. The bigger goal seems impossible sometimes, but the bite sized chunks are just that- bite sized, and easy to do. Just need to get to it. I am glad you wrote this post. Your honesty is awesome and your perseverance is quite inspiring. I am glad to know you and support your progress! Keep up the amazing work.

    1. You know Jesicka, I often punch myself in the face (not really) for not doing a better job managing the easy to do bite sized chunks. Sometimes even the easy to do pieces can seem overwhelming with how many there are.

      I am happy to know you as well :) It’s those that surround and support you that make the difference.

      Thank you so much!

  2. Justin, so happy you are seeing it through buddy. We all spin our wheels at one time or another; it is what makes us human.

    Pull back, go offline, regroup and think through your life. This practice always gives me clarity in what I am doing, from gifting, to traveling the world, to writing my ebooks and posting on my blog.

    All grows clear when I pull back.


  3. Awesome and honest stuff, thanks for sharing with us.
    I can relate to a lot of the things you write about and I completely agree that your goals need to be accurate and broken down into manageable pieces to avoid that overwhelming feeling you describe.
    For me, it helps to envision the people I’m trying to help rather than making my own dreams come true. Zig Ziglar put it best: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
    Keep up the good work, Justin! :)

    1. You’re right. Focusing more on the people you’re trying to help is where our thoughts should be. Love that quote!

      Altruism has FAR greater value than anything else. Although sometimes our ego gets in the way and tries to fool us.

      Thanks for the insight Patrik!

  4. Interesting how this works. I, too, needed to make a plan … though mine is a bit unusual and involved starting over. It’s good to treasure what is near to you. If anything falls apart, it’s better that it be the business than the family you’re working to care for.

  5. Thank you for the article. Perfect timing as well – I am in the throes of trying to create a plan to start my own business.
    I was trying to access the Dream Design toolkit but kept getting an error…are you able to re-post the link or perhaps sent it to me via email?

  6. I am going through a very hard time and I need to look at how my choices have got me into such a mess. I admire your determination. I am new to your blog and have enjoyed your thoughtful posts. Reading this post I realize that I need to make some difficult changes and I hope I am strong enough to do it.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Sheryl. You are stronger than you know. There’s always light after the darkness. I’ve made a thousand choices that have led to a thousand messes in my life. For me, the hardest part in making a change, was having the courage enough to not think about what will happen, but to just take the journey. The growth I’ve experienced because of it, the connections I’ve made, all of it, would have been for not if I just didn’t go for it.

      Whatever changes you need to make Sheryl, I want you to know that although it’s not easy, if it’s something you truly desire, you will be better for it.


  7. Well this was the perfect thing to wake up to this morning. One of the titles above: ‘Overwhelmed, Underpaid, & Ready to Give Up’ is me to a 100% today. I am three years into my business journey and suddenly I wake up and think ‘I don’t care anymore. Why am I doing this?” I think my brain needs a rest too, so I can figure out if it is worth persevering with what was once a passionate determination that has now become a “why bother”.

    1. Hey Susy,

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with the “why bother” thought. Sometimes the journey can be too much to take, yet it’s the reason Why we do what we do that will either keep us moving forward, or not.

      I wish you well on your journey Susy, wherever that takes you.

  8. Michele Mar-Belle

    Sometimes it’s good to ‘get outta the driver’s seat’! It’s when our plans don’t go to, well, plan that brings a change, self reflection, growth. Relaxation from stimulus brings creativity.

  9. Thanks for sharing your honesty, Justin. I’m at a critical transition in my life and am kind of overwhelmed at being able to make it on my own, but your post is very inspirational while being practical at the same time! I, too, would also like your Dream Design Toolkit, if possible. Thanks again!

    1. Hey Diane, glad you found it of some value :)

      You are most welcome to the toolkit. Just follow one of the links above to my site and enter your email on one of the forms and it’ll be sent over to you.

      Wishing you the best!

  10. Justin I know just how you feel. I felt the same way until I joined a group called Empower Network.Remarkable similar stories within this group detailed stuggles of people not quite getting to where they want to be. If you haven’t heard of them check them out they just might empower you in the same way they did me. Enjoyed reading your stuff. Don

  11. Justin this really resonates. There are times when I have the exact feelings and situations you have felt. You have the dream and goal of building something for the betterment of you and your family but underestimate the journey to get there. Sometimes it is a struggle and it affects those around you without them even knowing it. That support is what actually can make a difference.

    1. The support of the people around you are the difference indeed Matt. It is definitely a struggle, but one that can show you things you have never known about yourself.

      I’ve come to really respect the journey and even more so, cherish the people I meet along the way.


  12. Just as the many others have commented, I am going through something very similar. Funny enough, I posted a blog about it today. I’m torn between the life of security through steady income and my dreams.

  13. Nice post. Almost confessional. The goal should be big and high, but plan to achieve it realistic , within my capacity and capability. Most important, it should be backed up by perseverance, even if by short steps at a time. An ant covers miles if she keeps moving.

  14. Awesome blog post Justin. I am exactly in the situation you described. Trying so hard to get somewhere, that I’m getting nowhere. I had begun questioning myself if I was doing the right thing. Would it not be better to go back to my old life than just risk it all on a dream. Then, I remembered that the fear of going back to the old life is what fuels my dream. So, last week I sat down and made my plan for 2014. At the top of the priority list is to ensure an income stream before I quit my job in September. Having a specific goal truly does push one to progress.

    1. Thanks man!

      Kudos on making a plan of action and setting a quit date! Keep your eyes on the prize my friend and unlike me, don’t let your ego hold you down by it’s impatience.

      Good luck brother! I’ll be cheering you on :)

  15. Yeah, the frustrating thing about change is you can’t always control the pace at which it occurs… or even always if the changes you make will produce the outcome you’re aiming for. I had just been thinking about all this over the last couple days, so was surprised to see a post on such a similar wavelength. Glad your plan seems to be getting you closer. Keep on!!

  16. Great article. The golden nugget that I took was to always keep moving forward. Sitting down with your wife is so cool. Often in my current journey I am taking time away from my husband and some of the people I love the most. They understand my mission and passion but putting that “icing on the cake” and letting them know how much you love them and how much their support means is critical.

    1. Thanks Mary!

      “Keep moving forward” has been my mantra. Our loved ones supporting us is so important. When I am working too much, my wife let’s me know about it :)

      Good luck on your continued journey to inspire!

  17. Justin,

    I think this line says it all, “I broke those tasks down into daily achievable milestones and started forcing myself to sit down and just do the work every day to reach them.”

    That is the key. It is great that you have found a plan and set these goals. It is possible to achieve succes online of course, but impossible without a vision AND a concrete plan on how to reach it. It is great to see that you have come to this conclusion and are making it work. Best of luck to you!

  18. I know how you feel. I have written and self-published two books and have been building my blog for two years and I’m still barely sold 100 copies and 1500 hits a month on my blog.

    I have to make intentional decisions to spend less time doing my creative work. But I won’t quit.

    1. Hey Dan,

      You’re creative work is of the upmost importance, yet after that, it’s getting it in front of the right people. Even with all the information about how to market our products, grow our blogs, etc., it’s still comes down to finding out what works for your business.

      Keep at it my friend!

  19. Hey Justin,

    Keep at it man! I felt the same way a few years ago (and have felt that way about different projects many times since), but I’m so glad I pushed through “The Dip”. It’s so worth the effort.

    This post also hit home for me because I just had my first child, and I want to find a balance between working on my business and spending as much time with my family as possible.

    Thanks for the raw honesty in your writing. Also, I just tried clicking on the Dream Design Toolkit link, but it’s broken.

    Have a good day!

    1. Thanks Kyle!

      I will certainly keep going. I’ve def come too far to give up now :)

      Congratulations on your new born!

      Sorry about the broken link :( If you want, you can click the other one and grab it from my site.

      Cheers man!

  20. This is super encouraging. I especially liked the point about writing down what tasks needed to be done the next day and holding yourself accountable to getting those down. Thanks!

  21. I appreciate this so much. I am very much in the same spot as we speak. Just now beginning to develop my plan. Reading about this process for you has helped to provide some clarity for myself. Thank You!

  22. Hey Justin!

    This is so timely. I decided to officilay pursue my passion of working with people to bring positve change into their lives about two months ago and I must say am going through the learning curve right now.

    This Dream Design Toolkit is something I feel might help.

    Heading over to your site to check it out!

  23. Like pretty much everyone’s comments, I hear ya, right there with ya!! Just finally posted my first blog entry on Monday. It felt good.

    Having a plan is key. When we don’t have a plan we usually end up some place we didn’t intend to go or just filling our time with worthless activities. Most of the time its so hard to stay focused, I have to constantly keep my mind from wandering.

    I’ll definitely be checking out your site and looking at your Dream Design Toolkit.

    Thank you for your post!!

    1. Thanks Michael!

      You’re welcome :) Right there with you on mind wandering. Although I don’t think we need a full out plan, because we really never end up following the same direction as where we initially thought, it is good to have a plan to take that next step.


  24. Hey Justin!

    This one hits home, especially today (had a down day yesterday, feeling very stagnant compared to my friends) and it really does feel like that sometimes.

    You THINK you’re putting in an amazing effort but the results say otherwise and it can be a tough pill to swallow.

    I’m really using this weekend (got up 6am on Saturday to go for a run and I’m typing this from a cafe by the bay) for some alone/reflection time and really figuring out my next moves.

    Being stuck in a 9-5 really gets me down because I’ve got my 2 best friends working for themselves and making so much more but I’ve got a mortgage and a GF to take into consideration where they don’t and it gets so conflicting.

    I guess I’m taking that step back to realise while I want to be with them so much I need to pave my own path and maybe that just means I wont be there right now, in 6 months of dedicated working I can be and still have a happy relationship with my partner and not stress about the house and all that.

    I’ll definitely be sussing out your tool as if it’s really working for yourself maybe it can for me :)

    Have a great weekend mate and all the best in your journey!

    Cheers, Jax

    1. Hey Jax,

      I understand your dilemma, I’ve had to make some changes in how I balanced out my personal relationships, usage of time, etc. when it came to putting in the focus to work towards my escape from the 9 to 5. For me, I’ve put aside the temporary pleasures that took up my free time like playing video games and watching tv. I found I was spending 2 to 3 hours a day on those two things alone. I put that time into working on my business and still had time to be with my wife and daughter without neglecting them too much. They understand it’s all for a bigger purpose, but I don’t want to sacrifice being with them for something for the future. It’s a balancing act and making the most of the time we have.

      Hope it all works out man,

      P.S. Sorry for the late response. It’s been a heavy week.

  25. Great article Justin. Thanks for sharing this just what I need right now to get me moving on. Plans are great for many things..getting focussed is one of my downfalls. Distraction and proscratination another….will definitely bear this in mind for the future.Good luck with yours. Sharon

    1. Say what?

      Just a minor glitch Matthew. Just click my name and fill in your email on my site and it’ll be sent right to you. Don’t worry, your email is safe with me and you can opt out anytime.


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