What’s the fastest way to get what you want? Know what you want.
This seems too simplistic but it’s amazing how many people are frustrated living in a life that they don’t want. The irony is that they’ve never taken the time to discover what it is they do want.
If you ask these people what their ideal life would look like, they’ll give you a list of things that are “not this.” The more these people focus on getting the opposite of what they have now, the more they’ll get more of what they already have.
If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you ever begin to get there?
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” ~ C. S. Lewis
As you’re thinking about what you want, consider what your average day would look like.
I’ve spoken with people who say they want to have certain careers or pursue various interests. On the surface these things sound awesome.
Then I asked what their average day would look and feel like when they did those things. How would they approach their days when the initial excitement wore off?
Suddenly some of those exciting new ideas didn’t seem so exciting. Or sometimes people realize that what got them excited about the idea was more about the pursuit of the idea rather than the idea itself.
For example, if you said that you wanted to be an astronaut, that sounds awfully exciting. But what does the average day in the life of an astronaut look like? For the vast majority of your time, you’re not hanging out in outer space. You’re training, testing, learning, being subjected to tests and a million other things you probably wouldn’t associate with being an astronaut.
The Importance of Values
I’ve written about this before but it’s always worth repeating.
In order to know whether what you think you want is going to make your heart sing, you have to know what your core values are.
Every decision you make needs to be based on your core values.
“Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” ~ Brian Tracy
Without knowing what your values are, you’re a ship without a sail. You might have some fun sailing all over the ocean but where will you end up? What rocky shores might you crash into?
Identifying your values can be tricky. For example, I had “family” as one of my core values for a long time. While I value my family very highly, it’s not a value.
After working through some value exercises with Tim Brownson and Anthony Robbins, I learned that things like family, money or financial independence are means, not values. These things help me to get to something deeper.
I love Tim Brownson’s program, Aligning With Your Core Values. I just finished it and came away with lots of new insights (even more than I had with Tony Robbins). I highly recommend Tim’s program (I’m not an affiliate).
Tim helped me to realize that a crucial step that I was missing in identifying my values was asking the question, “What does that give me?”
Starting with family, I asked myself, “What does that give me?” I came up with love and acceptance. I kept asking myself that question with every answer that came up until I couldn’t go any deeper. Bingo! Those are my values.
Another critical part of this process is to identify your anti-values – things that you would do almost anything to avoid.
Identifying your anti-values can be a very enlightening process that helps you to see why various aspects of your life aren’t working well for you.
If your highest anti-value is conflict and you’re a trial attorney, you may want to consider a different career. Living with your highest anti-value so prominently a part of your life will cause undue suffering for you.
If you’re a peaceful soul with anger high on your anti-value list and your partner is easily angered, again, you may want to make some changes in your life.
There were many other nuances that Tim added to the value-identification process that helped me to get much more focused and aligned with my core values.
The Scourge of the Should
With your values firmly established, you can make decisions about what you want in life that align with who you are instead of with who you or other people think you should be.
As you consider your ideal life, be on the lookout for the word “should” and avoid it at all costs.
If you think you should have a certain career, ask yourself why you think that. Ask yourself if that career would align with your core values.
Don’t try to force things or talk yourself into why things should be a certain way. If you find yourself doing this, know that you’re headed down the wrong path for you. This is not a path that will support you.
If your heart is screaming ARTIST!!! but you stifle that and think you should go to law school because it would make your parents proud, stop. It’s the scourge of the “should.” Start researching art schools, artists’ communities or other ways of expressing the artist inside you.
Follow your gut instincts for a life without regrets.
Create the Vision of Your Life
Set aside at least a half hour of quiet time for yourself and get a pen and paper (do NOT do this with electronics).
Write out your perfect day from start to finish in as much detail as possible.
As you get out of bed, what’s your bed like? Is your bedroom sunny or dark? Is there someone sleeping next to you? If so, describe that person in detail. How do you feel as you get out of bed? What do you do first?
Where do you go and who do you see throughout your day? What do you do to make money? What do you do for fun? Are they the same thing?
What do you eat? In what ways do you move your body? What do you read or listen to?
How do you feel at the end of the day? What time do you go to bed? What’s your bedtime routine? How well do you sleep?
As you answer all these questions, make sure you keep your values in mind. Write them at the top of your piece of paper before you begin.
Constantly ask yourself if the choices you make throughout your ideal day are in alignment with your values.
Take the First Step
Now you know where you are now, where you want to go and why.
What’s the first baby step you can take right now to move you toward your ideal life?
Choose to feel how you feel in your ideal life. You don’t have to be living your ideal life to change how you feel. Even if your life sucks now, you can decide to feel as if everything is different. I would argue that this is one of the most important parts of moving toward where you want to be.
Keep a notebook next to your bed. Every night, just before you go to sleep, write down the one or two baby steps you’ll take the next day to move you closer to your dreams.
When you do this, you’ll give your subconscious something to think about while you’re sleeping. You may wake up with a million new ideas for ways of taking more effective baby steps.
The next day: Take the action to take that baby step you wrote down as early in your day as possible.
“Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” ~ Thomas Jefferson
Nothing happens if you don’t take action.
Thinking about it, writing about it, dreaming about it are all very exciting but you know that nothing will happen if you don’t do something about it.
You can create a totally amazing life for yourself. It doesn’t matter what other people are doing or what anyone thinks about you.
Dream the steps.
Feel the steps.
Take the steps.
Your heaven on earth is waiting for you.
Let me know in the comments what steps you’ll take or what kind of support you feel you need in moving toward your personal heaven.
Check out my latest guest post!
Meant To Be Happy: 6 Simple Steps to Unearth Your Happiness Ken Wert and I share very similar views on life and how to be happy. I love his site! And he’s a pretty amazing guy too.
I’m very proud to announce that I made the Top 100 Personal Development Blogs for 2013! Brendan Baker has put together an amazing resource in compiling this list. CLICK HERE to find some new gems.