If you’re interested in self improvement, you likely spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get what you want out of life. Many times, it’s not a lack of opportunity that stops you from getting what you want, but your own perceived limitations. That’s why they say you have to get out of our own way to accomplish our heart’s desires. So, how do you get what you want out of life? Here are eight ways.
1. Be brave.
To get what you want, you have to step outside your comfort zone. That’s true in work, romance, and all areas of life. When I think about happy couples I’ve known, for example, they met doing something that scared them, like an improv class or a solo vacation.
When we stretch ourselves this way, we open up to endless possibilities and opportunities. But, those doors remain closed to us if we stay stuck in our routine and refuse to take risks and try something new.
2. Tell people what you want.
Ask for what you want and you might get it. Don’t ask and the answer is always no. When you tell people what you want, you invite them into your world which makes them feel invested in your success. Now that they know what you want, they can help you reach your goals.
Sharing your heart’s desires with another person makes those goals seem more real and attainable. Writing them down achieves the same effect. So, journal your life aims at the same time you tell others about them to double your chance of success.
3. Be other-focused.
Thinking of others is the right thing to do regardless of your reasons. And we should never lend a helping hand with the expectation of return. But focusing on others rather than yourself can reap benefits for you, too. The law of reciprocity means that what you give out comes back to you. Whether that’s from the same person you helped, or somewhere else, it’s a basic law of the universe. Regardless of your intention, people are inclined to remember you gave them a helping hand and want to return the favor.
4. Know your strengths and weaknesses.
We’ve all heard the cliche you can do anything you set your mind to. But, that’s not always true. If you’re 5’5″ you’re not likely to become a star basketball player. Knowing what you’re good at will help you develop your skills in areas that prime you for success. Rather than pounding on a closed door, you’ll easily push open the one that gives way to your unique talents and abilities.
5. Put your feelings first.
One of the big reasons we set goals is because we believe they’re going to make us feel a certain way. Happy, proud, exhilarated, fulfilled. But when we reach the goal and those feelings don’t follow, we feel let down and go in search of the next goal to fill us up.
What if instead we set goals for the way we want to feel? That would mean you could feel a certain way without having to earn it through random metrics. Tony Robbins says emotions drive us, so if you put feelings first, your positive mindset will go a long way toward helping you get what you want out of life.
6. Make outrageous requests.
A common negotiating tactic says to ask for more than you want, and some say the request should be so big it makes you cringe a little. You may get a no to that first outrageous request, but when you follow up with a smaller demand, you’ll get a yes. And that second request was more in line with what you wanted, anyway.
7. Use semantics.
Use words to your advantage when asking for something. When selling a product, for example, we talk about an offer rather than a product for sale. This gives the buyer the impression she’s receiving something (your product) rather than losing something (her money).
8. EXPECT to get what you want.
Psychologist Jennice Vilhauer says we act based on what we expect rather than what we want. There’s often a disconnect between our true desires and what we expect to get. In an effort to protect us from the pain of disappointment, our subconscious mind will lower our expectations and we’ll act according to those rather than pursuing our big dreams.
Expect something better than you’ve got in the past by overriding automatic thoughts with your conscious mind. Elite athletes do this by visualizing themselves winning the big game. When you change your expectations you change your life by acting in ways that support you achieving your goals.
Laura Connell is author of It’s Not Your Fault: Subconscious Reasons We Self-Sabotage and How to Stop. Her work has appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, Possibility Change, and The Self Improvement Blog. Take her 1-minute quiz to discover your purpose here.
Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.