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How to get what you want out of life

get what you want
Photo by Millo Lin on Unsplash

Traditional advice on how to get what you want out of life says, “work hard”. That may be true for some, but for me less effort has produced more results.

Perhaps it’s the work smarter not harder model. Or maybe it’s because doing what you love feels less like work than slogging away at something that fails to fulfill.

Sometimes we’re devoting time and resources to a dream that’s misaligned with our values. We don’t know ourselves well enough and pursue something based on factors outside ourselves.

These 7 tips on how to get what you want out of life will help discern if you are following the right dream in the first place.

1. Put yourself first to get what you want

Are you a self-abandoner who puts other people first? Maybe you got the impression as a child that your needs don’t matter.

You’ve internalized that lie and now devote your time to filling other peoples’ needs instead. But until you learn to put yourself and your needs first, you’ll never get what you want out of life.

2. Pay attention to your body

As the famous book says, The Body Keeps the Score. If you have unexplained ailments, they may indicate you’re on the wrong track in life.

As the famous book says, The Body Keeps the Score. If you have unexplained ailments, they may indicate you're on the wrong track in life. Click To Tweet

When I lived in a suburb I hated to be near my children’s school and their father, I had multiple skin issues like rashes and discoloration that were painful, irritating, and unsightly.

These plagued me for years. As soon as I moved to the neighborhood of my choice and began to prioritize my needs, my skin cleared in a miraculous way.

3. Let go of what people think

More often than not, living an authentic life means going against the grain of your culture. Consider whether what other people want is good for you.

They don’t have to be enemies to want what’s bad for you. They may be operating out of fear for you. But fear is a terrible place from which to build dreams.

4. Do more of what you love to get what you want

Many of us fill our days with obligations and things that bring us no joy. As we become responsible adults, we forget how to have fun. Some of us never learned how because of our terrible childhoods.

Now is the time to get to know your likes and dislikes, maybe for the first time. Take time to journal all the things that make you feel most like yourself. The things that make you lose track of time as you get lost inside them.

Do more of those things and you will get more of what you want out of life.

5. Consider what frustrates you

Beverly Cleary started writing because she couldn’t find any books that appealed to the kids she encountered as a librarian.

Is there something that frustrates you by its absence? Or a traditionally accepted approach that seems limited or erroneous to you?

For example, this blog is inspired by my frustration over common self-help advice that ignores the role of childhood trauma in self-sabotaging behavior.

6. Receive support to get what you want

Are you surrounded by friends and family who are afraid of change and act out of fear? If the majority of your circle are naysayers or you feel uncomfortable sharing your vision with them, that’s a problem.

If the majority of your circle are naysayers or you feel uncomfortable sharing your vision with them, that's a problem. Click To Tweet

Spend more time with people who have similar goals and dreams. People who know change is essential to a fulfilling life. And who aren’t afraid to pursue their path, no matter how unconventional.

7. Face fear of change

Maybe it’s you who fears change! That’s a common human denominator and nothing to feel ashamed about. The key to get what you want out of life is to feel the fear and do it anyway.

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