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How to Get the Life You Want


WebMD Feature from "Redbook" Magazine

By Kristyn Kusek Lewis

Redbook Magazine LogoYou've been putting it off forever — that secret dream to start a business, write a book, run a marathon.... Whatever your desire, ignoring it means denying who you really are. And don't you deserve better? Here, your no-excuses, no-regrets guide to answering the voice in your head that says, "I want more."

Ask yourself: Are you ready to finally tackle the burden or bad habit that's been dragging you down? You're many things—maybe a wife and mom, prized employee, baker extraordinaire, or president of your block association. But perhaps there's another side of you that's itching to show itself, a yearning you're desperate to follow—to, say, bring out your artistic side or get a psychology degree. Or maybe you don't know what you want, because a dream you once had isn't in sync with who you are now, or because you're overwhelmed with all the choices out there.

Wherever you are on the dream spectrum, your aspiration may be slipping away. "We let our dreams lag because our overcommitted lives make them seem impractical," says life coach Laura Berman Fortgang, author of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction . "We're spread so thin that it's hard to be 'selfish' and put your efforts toward something just for you." Plus, going after a goal may be scary: The fear of failure—or of how your life will change if you succeed—can be paralyzing.

Well, it's time to get moving! Here's why: When your day-to-day existence gets packed with too many "have-to's" and not enough "want-to's," you can end up with a constant, low-grade "Is this all there is?" kind of fever. And that's no way to live.

So use this workbook to help you achieve your wildest fantasies in whatever way they might fit into your life today. Over the past year, three women have been featured in REDBOOK magazine's Live Your Dream series. These women, Denise Mabilog, Cate Colburn-Smith, and Deb Busser, have accomplished amazing things—from publishing a book to singing in a rock band! Now, we're bringing their success secrets to you, with the help of Fortgang, who coached them. Ask yourself the following questions, and then read on to pinpoint your dream—and what it says about you. Then learn how to make it happen.

Ask yourself: Is there a passion you've abandoned because there's no room for it in your "real life"?

Photography or tennis or painting or sewing or...?

The mountain of responsibilities we take on as adults often leads us to abandon activities that once brought us joy. Maybe as a child you lived for tennis camp, but haven't picked up a racket since you had your own kids. For 42-year-old Denise Mabilog of Swedesboro, NJ, the fantasy of becoming a photographer—a dream she clung to through the time she graduated college—gave way to a challenging law career.

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