Making Goal Setting Work for You

February 2nd 2012

I am happy to have another guest post by Jesse this week, who has posted previously a great article here at LearnThis.ca, Finding Happiness in Authenticity.  This time, Jesse writes a new guest post on goal setting. Goal setting has always been a favorite topic of mine so its great to have a new perspective on it and it can never be encourage enough to anyone interested in personal development.  Goal setting is a critical factor to success and is something everyone should be actively doing on a regular basis. So, it’s a great article and I encourage you to please add your comments and feedback below.

The whole point of making a list of goals for yourself is to meet them—so, why is it so hard for us to follow through? Part of it has to do with how we view goals; according to an article on productivity blog Lifehack, the more potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxious and stressed we are by not achieving it. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step—and sometimes, taking that first step can be tougher than the journey itself.

Nevertheless, you still have goals for different areas of your life: spending more time with your family, working toward a promotion at your job, or maybe pursuing higher education. But the problem isn’t that you don’t want to meet these goals—the problem is that you’re not working to improve your life and the lives of your family. So, how do you get back on the resolution wagon? How can you stay motivated to fulfill your aspirations?

Don’t give up

Seems like a simple directive—but it’s much easier said than done. Still, the fact is that you won’t reach your goals if you don’t work to achieve them. Find ways to keep yourself motivated: use a productivity app like Evernote on your computer, smartphone or tablet so you can keep track of both short-term and long-term tasks. You can also recruit friends and family to help you stay on track: if your goals are health-related, encourage your family to try a healthy eating plan or a family workout schedule; you can also share your goals with friends and ask them to help keep you accountable. The more encouragement and positive pressure you have in your life, the more likely you are to stick to your guns when giving up seems like an attractive choice.

Be specific

When you’re making goals, envision exactly what you want. While the journey is important, it’s the destination that matters—so be specific when you set objectives. If you want to improve your education, explore the subjects you’re interested in and decide on a degree program that works for you. From there, you’ll be able to plot a clear path to earning a degree or certification. Having clear and detailed goals can also give you clues on how to proceed: if you’re a working dad with a growing family, perhaps an online degree program or attending classes part-time would be your most beneficial course of action. With a clear set of goals, you’ll also be able to track your progress.

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Staying on track can be especially difficult when you’ve got a million things to worry about: by the time you’ve finished your workday, chances are you’ll still have a long list of chores to complete. But not everything is essential—and that can be hard to accept. You can’t be everywhere and do everything, so learn to let some things go in order to concentrate on others. That might require you to ask for help—and you shouldn’t be afraid to do so. Your spouse might need to do dinner duty a few more times a week; you could ask a friend to be your workout partner in order to keep you on schedule; or your older kids might need to pick up a couple more chores around the house. When you’re trying to stay on track to meet your goals, keeping your eye on the prize is essential—it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life.

Make some changes

Reaching your goals will require rearranging your priorities—whether it’s committing to spending less time at the office, rearranging your school schedule, or passing on activities with friends or coworkers. Try this exercise: keep track of every single thing you do for one week. From the moment you wake up every morning until you return to your bed for the night, jot down how you spend your time. How much TV do you watch? How much of your day is eaten up with Internet surfing? How long are you stuck in traffic on your daily commute?

After a week, look at the hours you spend not working toward your goals, and cut out the non-essential activities. If you have an hour to watch TV, then you’ve got an hour to work out on an elliptical machine. If you wile away your evening hours tweeting or Facebooking, consider using that time to study instead. The key is to trim the fat from your life and devote more energy to your resolutions. The more free time you have, the more easily you can fill it with tasks that move you closer toward your goals.

Celebrate

That’s right—when you reach your goals, you should reward yourself! One of the reasons why may goals tend to be difficult to meet is that many of us have been conditioned to expect instant gratification or reward. But giving yourself a reward—like a vacation, or a new electronic gadget, or maybe a party—at the end of your journey can make it easier to stay motivated and keep going. Acknowledging your own hard work—and taking a little time to review how you got what you wanted—can go a long way toward making your all your work seem worthwhile.

Of course, just because you’re committing to making your dreams come true doesn’t mean that you’ll always succeed. And that’s totally okay: the most important element of working toward your goals is that you stay persistent and focused. While you might not meet your goals within the timeframe you set for yourself, if you keep at it, you’ll get there eventually—and that’s what’s most important.

Jesse Langley specialilzes in writing about education, professional and personal development, and career building.  He writes on behalf of Colorado Technical University.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 11 Comments »

The Power of a Plan

November 2nd 2009

PowerOfAPlan

For many people, things they do at work seem to come quite naturally in their work but not so much in their personal lives. Especially when it comes to planning and seeing the power of a plan.  There is certainly power in having a plan for yourself, your life, your family, your health, your relationships and the hobbies you take on. Perhaps a plan for the way you are involved with your friends (Joel J Turney LLC), family, neighbors, colleagues. What about using a plan for ensuring you get what is truly most important to you in your life? What about a plan that ensure you stay on track and that your plan is really what you want it to be? Many people I know in my work can easily formulate a plan for some project or set of complex tasks in their job tasks yet they don’t connect the same value when they think about things in their personal lives.

There is More to Life Than Work

Even without getting to the point of how people work too much, I want to highlight the fact that the important things in life include many areas outside your work. I continually hear people say things like work most important since it is a third of your life, which is a HUGE exaggeration! Even working for 50 years in life, a 40 hour work week equates only to a complete total of 12.5 years in an average life of 75 years which is less than 17% of one’s total life. Close to 33% is spent sleeping and so that leaves 50% of life in other areas.  Everything else fits in there from birth to death.  50% of all your living hours are up to you and your family for how they are spent and many people don’t think that’s worth planning!!  That’s crazy!

Categories for Planning Life

 

Life has so many areas to explore and those areas deserve the same kind of thoughts and planning as work does.  Categories I use to look at specific goal setting and life planning are:

  • Relationships
  • Spiritual
  • Health
  • Emotions
  • Things
  • Financial
  • Career

Your categories might be different but ensure you think big picture when your making life plans.  Think about everything that you value and what you wouldn’t want to live without and ensure those areas are covered in your plans.  Think about what matters if this was your last day on earth or if you knew you had only a week to live.  What would you do?  With who?  How would you want to be remembered?  Are these your passions in life now or are you still searching for your purpose and passions in life?

Write it Down

Did you know that only about 4% of people write out their goals and plans for life?  Its true and its scary when you think about it.  There are so many people living life without a written plan. Are you one of them?  Writing down your goals and plans solidifies it, puts added committment to it and makes it something much more real than just a thought or idea.  It gives the plan real substance and provides a way to review it and visualize it.  The power of a plan extends far beyond work in all areas of life and only if its written down will it have even a chance of being realized.

What’s In A Plan

The content of the plan is where the real thought has to go.  You can’t make a plan without some careful time thinking and trying to understand how you want things to proceed.  This is true in day to day jobs and its true in life as well.  The only thing you can do well without a plan are things you’ve done over and over, and learned to do them naturally.  These may be things you need to do but for most people, the natural actions are not the things we wish we were doing in life, or the things we want to change or learn to do.  For most people, learning new things is a challenge and we all have ideas of what we wish we were better at, doing more of or doing differently in our lives.  This requires change and repeating what we’ve always done (since that is what happens without a plan) definitely won’t lead to that change.  Look for the things that matter to you in each of the categories above.  Don’t settle for what you have, ask yourself why that matters or what will you ultimately gain if you accomplish it to drive out the real reasons behind each item.  You should be able to justify true meaning to all your plans and know that they fit into your life’s purpose.  If you don’t know what that is, then clearly you need more planning, not less which unfortunately many people do when first being frustrated about questions of purpose.  Look for the things that impact others and how others impact you, that’s an easy place to start because we all form opinions of what that ought to look like.

Let Your Plan Change

Plans are much easier if you leave some room to grow it and change it.  Its unlikely that one plan will last many years and you need to adjust it as you learn more about what matters to you. If and how your purpose changes should also spark you to revisit your plan.  It is something you need to refer to often and there is nothing wrong with changing it as life changes.  The more often you look at a plan and change it the easier you can adjust to new circumstances and still ensure you are ultimately on track with the big picture goals and results for that plan.  Also, revisiting a plan lets you avoid complacency as you accomplish the things on it.  Don’t stagnate, instead keep pushing yourself and ensure you add to your plan and let it change as you do to keep you driven with purpose and meaning.

My wish is that everyone I know wrote out their goals and made plans for their life with some idea and thinking of what their purpose is with discussions and relationships founded in what is important in each plan.  This would bring happiness to many and I know the power of what could be accomplished if this were true.  I know I won’t be able to get everyone I know to take this challenge on, but everyone I know who has, has seen great results and now also understands the power of a plan.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 17 Comments »

8 Steps for Acting on Inspiration

February 26th 2009

This is a continuation from this short 3 part series on inspiration.  My original guest post called, “8 Steps to Inspire Others ” and my last article, “8 Methods to Find Inspiration ”. I hope this helps you find ways to spin your inspirations into action.

Research and Learn the Subject

Obviously I’m a big proponent to learning and so learning more about any subject or person that inspires you is a great starting point for activating your mind on the subject.  Once you activate your mind by learning more about the subject and by thinking more about it, it will more easily lead into action in your life.  If you can excite your mind and generate more and more interest in doing something, then the actions come much easier later on.

There is a definite balance here to maintain between too little time before action and too much.  That point will not be equal for everyone and I think it needs experimentation to realize.  If you spend all your time learning about a subject and don’t take any action, then the learning can be more of the inspiration than the action and when it does come time to take actions, then the learning component is greatly reduced.  On the other hand, if you take action without knowing anything about the subject, it’s possible to cause more harm than good by either frustrating yourself or in some cases causing emotional, physical or relational pain because of the actions you took without understanding them well.  Balance this by knowing at least enough about what new things you are getting into and find the right people to help or guide you and you can make the learning experience align with the actions you take keeping the inspiration that drives it satisfied and in balance.

Connect with Others

A great way to act on inspiration is to look to share and connect with others that have similar interests and activities.  As I outlined in the finding inspiration article, this strengthens the inspiration and gives you people to talk with and share more experiences about the events that drive this.

These connections can easily develop into closer relationships and friendships and these will give you friends and colleagues to act out your inspiration with.  You can use each other and work together to achieve the results you want in this related area.

Ask For and Accept Help

Connecting with others is great when perfectly aligned as your energy and synergy can be very motivating, but that is not enough with inspiration.  Inspiration is about change and new things, so there are always areas you will face that will be a challenge to act on.  This is where these connections come in as you now have people to ask for help when you need it.  They can guide you in areas they are stronger at and they can encourage you to drive through challenge far more than you could tackle on your own.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help already , and then be willing to accept it.  Accepting it is the part that means action and there is no exception with that here.

Do the same for others by helping where you can you will continue to promote your inspiration not only in yourself, but also in those learning from you.

Take Action Soon

325843_beach_flight_vi Don’t wait too long to take action towards something that inspires you.  I already mentioned the item of learning and researching a subject, but there’s more than that.  Often people are afraid to do something because it is so grand or noble or simply outside their comfort zone.  It can be the simple things that as an action, shift from from a wisher on inspiration to an actor on inspiration.

Look at the things that inspire you from the first section on finding your inspiration and pick some action to do more of that or to begin implementing one of these items in this article to make it real.  A small step today that gets you closer just lets you take a bigger one tomorrow and it will send you down the path towards the results you hope to achieve from whatever inspired you in the first place.  If it is a person that inspires you, then contact them.  You’d be surprised how easy this can be, even if they are busy people, famous or in some other way, hard to reach.  People who inspire others, do so because of connections and they know this, so will generally be happy to talk to you, to help or to at least give you some direction to get you started.

The sooner you start doing something real with your inspirations the sooner you will gain the results hoped for.  This enables you to then move on to new inspirations or to grow the original one with more intensity, more importance and dedication in your life.

Visualize Results

Action is definitely more important to take than this step, but this one can give you nearly all the same benefits when the action is simply not possible yet or because of where you are.  The imagination of the mind is a wondrous thing, it simply doesn’t know the difference between what is imagined and what is real.  This gives you a fantastic ability to experience achieving what you want from these inspirations even when you are not doing an real actions on them.  There have been countless studies and brain research conducted about how the mind’s imagination can be used to become stronger, more creative, confident and even better at actions when they are finally performed for real either the first time or after many repetitions.

If you add visualizing your results into your steps for acting on inspiration, you will see the benefits without the practice.  Beyond this, it also helps you to realize what your true desired outcomes are as you can imagine it before it happens.  This visualized results can be a strong motivator to take even more action!

Be Persistent

I’ve touched on persistence before in my productivity series, and it is just as valuable here.  Persistence is about being headed in the right direction , making progress in that direction and consistently steering your actions toward your goals.  Since taking action on inspiration will always be in some way challenging, it’s important to accept setbacks and failures along the way.  If you learn from those, get back up and be persistent by trying again, you will make great progress and eventually be where you want to be.  You can’t let a setback stop you!

Set Goals

828534_slingshot_target All of this is based on getting somewhere new with inspiration and so you can’t do that without some goals in mind.  It may be some new ability to learn, material possessions, or a special talent or ability, no matter what it is, you won’t easily get their without setting some goals for guidance.  Goals are a brilliant tool if used well and typically abysmal failures if not understood well or planned properly.

Your goals must connect to something with meaning in your life.  Luckily this topic of inspiration largely addresses this as inspirational expectations are usually seated in something already important to a person.

Goals must also be measureable.  This inherently makes them something you need to consider and be realistic with as you will have to have a way to measure it.  Something to count, to see or specifically identify and recognize.  Go ahead and set audacious goals but if you do, ensure you can easily recognize progress and keep driving forward.  If you struggle with goals, be a little less aggressive and set easier goals to train yourself and gain some ground with accomplishment while acting on your inspirations.

Also, ensure your goals are time based with specific dates so that you can focus on them and know when they need to be checked, changed and rewritten.  Don’t leave your goals to be static.  Taking on a challenge with something that inspires you will be new, and so will the goals so you can’t expect to set them early and never need to adjust them along the way.  Go ahead and drive towards them, work hard to reach them but don’t worry if they need to be adjusted along the way.

Be Enthusiastic

I just love this one!  It is so powerful and yet so under used by people who want to act on something that inspires them.  Even more of a crime is when people are inspired by another person, and that person is extremely enthusiastic yet that doesn’t seem obvious to the person looking to then act on that enthusiasm.  Well, I can tell you, if you put more enthusiasm into your actions, you will make much faster progress.  Enthusiasm will build confidence as well and it automatically attracts others and inspires them to find out more. Wouldn’t that be impressive to act on an inspiration and take it full circle, by inspiring someone else with the same thing!  I think so!

Not only will enthusiasm drive even more inspiration but it will help to engrain deeper beliefs in your mind.  Energy and excitement in the mind build stronger neural connections with new activities and things you learn so that enthusiasm can slowly turn into a deeper passion or conviction.  This will ensure you lock in place the beliefs needed to act on that inspiration at any time.  The passion will become stronger and in turn, that will continue to then be something you express, where once again you’ve come full circle as you begin to inspire others with it.

Posted by Mike King under Success | 18 Comments »

How to Empower Someone to Become a Learner

September 27th 2008

The desire to learn is not an easy trait to pass to others and while I have many of my own approaches to learn new things, there are countless other methods for learning that others use as well. None of those can simply be taught to anyone you cross since everyone learns with their own methods.  Not only that, but the desire to learn is something that has to come from an individual and cannot be expected without that person accepting to learn new things.  I believe that anyone who is a strong learner in life has great advantages in creativity, perspective, knowledge and many other areas.  If you can empower just one other person to become a learner themselves, you have given them a great gift!

This articles covers some of the methods I’ve learned to help empower others to become learners themselves.

Lead By Example

One of the most obvious and important ways to inspire others to learn is to ensure that others know you are learning yourself.  Make your actions speak for themselves when it comes to learning.  Talk about the things you learn and how you learned them.  Ensure that people know when you’ve learned something new by reviewing it with them or by presenting it to them.  Spend time studying and practising new methods and processes that you see.  Volunteer to teach new people in your work area everything about the job and make sure they know some of the resources you use for learning yourself.

Keep books on hand and talk to others about books they read.  Spend some time everyday reading books as it is the best resource for new material that exists still.  The internet is certainly an option as well but if its in the workplace, the internet is still often considered as a time waster, not a learning tool, so you should make other methods of learning more visible in the workplace.  Take some action with these as examples in your life and ensure that you are leading by example.  Doing this automatically attracts others to do some of the same things or use the same resources even without you hinting or asking them to.  People tend to copy others and if they see you learning, they will likely commit some learning themselves.

Demonstrate the Value of Learning

Sharing your success stories and failures is a great way to demonstrate the value of learning.  Take away from all your major activities something learned and share that with others.  Whether it is some life experience or project you have been on, look at what the things are that you learned from that and share that with others.  Look at how the mistakes you’ve learned from have improved you or helped you avoid such mistakes again or look at how you’ve repeated successes and learned to excel in those areas.  Demonstrating these type of results as a value of learning will help to inspire and motivate others to take learning more seriously themselves.  People value what impacts them and those they love so if you can demonstrate how learning something will improve their lives or those they love, you are much more likely to influence them into becoming a learning in that area.

Motivate with Rewards and Measures

If you are working to empower a friend, child, colleague or direct report, you should closely examine what kind of rewards and measures you use to encourage them to learn on their own.  Noticing new things learned is the easiest but often overlooked.  People want to be recognized so simply telling them what you noticed they were doing to learn more impressed you, or say thanks to them to encourage this type of behavior.  You may want to look at offering something for those who learn something new, or solve a problem by studying it or perhaps simply reading a book or fixed number of books.  Simple rewards can be very effective here especially for children.

The best kind of reward to give is one that is given without any prior promise or intent.  Do not tell someone you will give them a reward if they go learn something.  Instead, challenge them in different ways and then when they do learn something on their own, reward them for that spontaneously.  You don’t want someone to only learn if there is a reward at stake so its important that the rewards be random and spontaneous.

Measuring progress towards a goal of learning or self learning is also very helpful, especially if you have someone who you know is already working on becoming a more active learner.  Put some metric into place like the number of hours spent or the number of books read or the number of new things completed each week.  These types of measures can be highly motivating if you are a friend, parent or colleague with the intent to improve and help that person.  Don’t make it a person favor or competition, simply encourage them to become a more active learner.

Make resources Available and Easy to Access

Some people don’t know where to start when having to learn something new and this is where resources come in.  You can help provide the tools, people, training, courses, material or whatever else is needed to encourage someone to learn and empower them by eliminating any roadblocks.  You want to get as many things out of their way as possible so that the learning is easy.  Once there is a habit of learning and a desire, you can help them to get obstacles out of their way themselves.  These obstacles are things like having access to the learning materials, money to attend seminars and courses, lists of books and online sources for information, public library access, a network of people and friends who you can discuss and learn from and any other resources that would help someone learn.  Share any resources you’ve used for learning and lend out books and trade content.  Join a club that does this or look for used material or items to trade.  Introduce people to others with similar interests and learning habits so that as many resources that a person might need to learn from are readily available.

Let People Learn With Your Own Style

With all those resources listed above, not everyone is going to use them all or even like the idea of them all.  Find out how a person likes to learn and let them have their own style for content and practice.  It doesn’t matter how someone learns or even what they learn if you can empower them to become a life long learner.  Someone who learns today will continue to learn tomorrow and they will stimulate themselves to explore new areas and branch their learning experiences into new and different topics with various methods.  You should allow others to learn by their own tools and methods.  If you look at all the other headings from this article, they can each be accomplished while still letting a person learn with their own style so don’t push them into your style of learning and let them discover what works best for them.  There is certainly no problem with giving them suggestions or explaining what has worked well for you to help empower them, just make sure it is their own choice as a learner needs to have their own style of learning if it is to last.

Start Small

Empowering someone is a difficult task to accomplish so you should always start small.  You don’t want to make any massive changes or expectations on someone that overwhelms them and discourages them from being engaged in new learning activities.  Begin with simple straightforward things that you already know they can handle and build upon that to have consistency and repeatability in learning actions.  Ramp those activities up over time and make sure that you don’t accelerate too fast.  Keep in mind that you likely have a much higher ability to sustain a learning mindset and workload than someone you are looking to empower with that attitude so you need to ensure you allow them to grow and learn at their pace.  Make sure you recognize any and all progress since you want to encourage more learning and any increases in learning focus is valuable.

Set Goals and Plans

Goals and specific plans should help you to empower someone to become a learner as well.  Work with to set a specific goal that they can accept about their level of learning and ability to learn.  Something that is measurable and demonstrates an ability to learn and willingness to learn instead of a specific learning task.   Don’t teach or look for facts, content, or knowledge in these goals,  instead, teach them HOW to learn, how to think, how to approach things.  Give them space to become an individual with their own creative mind and an ability to find solutions to problems and a desire to hunt down that solution themselves.  Set the goals to help focus them and use them as a guide to review progress and help them get to a level of ability they are happy in achieving.  Continue to expand those goals over time as they are accomplished and look for new ways to complete each goal to help expand their learning capacity and ability.

Final Thoughts

Keep them away from the systemic teaching systems (like classic schooling and courses) that do nothing but spoon feed information, training memorization instead of thinking and ensure that every distraction and control is bound around a very rigid and non-flexible teaching style.  These methods are failing now to build students with individual minds and are producing less and less people with the ability and willingness to learn throughout their life!  Make sure to encourage “out of the box” thinking since thinking has become so conditioned in today’s schooling that few people ever come to realize the dangers of that system.

If you empower a person to learn, they become a learner and teacher for life with an immense ability to take on and excell with any new challenge!

Posted by Mike King under Learning | 4 Comments »

Career Help – Making Small Yet Measurable Progress

August 9th 2008

Many areas in our lives (including our careers-Joel J Turney LLC), we have things we are working towards and want to be able to see progress in.  Whether that is with our goals, success, financial aspirations, or our career and family values, there is generally a desire to make progress in those areas in our lives.  Unfortunately, life throws a lot of curve balls at us and makes these accomplishments difficult.  This can seem like a repetitive cycle unless you take note to measure every little piece of progress.

Measuring progress is a process aimed at determining whether goals are being achieved.

Defining and Understanding The Goal

If you don’t know what you are working to change, how can you measure progress?  You can’t!  So, you need to put attention to defining your goal and understanding what it looks like along the path to completing it.  You don’t want to have only a single measure, how you or have you not accomplished it.  Instead, break it down into steps and minor accomplishments along the path of completion so that you have many steps and small accomplishments along the way to measure progress with.

Recognizing Progress

Recognizing progress starts by looking for change.  Change is necessary and desirable when working on goals and so change is what you should start out looking for, not static consistency.  Once you’ve made enough progress to achieve your goal, then consistency with that will be important to hold on to it.  Progress means you are moving forward and closer to where you want to be, no matter how small that might be.  This is especially true when looking at breaking habits or tackling difficult goals since its easy to be discouraged otherwise by the time and effort needed to sense some accomplishment

Sharing the progress you make with others is a great way to recognize it as well.  Not in a bragging way, but simply to inform or include others in your journey as its very motivating to have others encourage you to continue and help you recognize the progress you are making.  Find yourself a partner or team to look for progress and show appreciation and encouragement for it.

Use All Your Resources

Considering all your resources involves looking around you to ensure you have multiple ways to measure your progress.  Just relying on your own opinion as a measure is not enough since the mind loves to play tricks on us and your thoughts from just a single day can shift so quickly, its dangerous to trust only a single source.  Ask those around you that you live and work with to help you guage how well things are going and look at other tools available to measure progress.  Having multiple opinions and many smaller factors to measure makes progress much more evident.  If all you have is the end result, its easy to miss progress along the way and be discouraged.

Let Progress Steer Your Path

While you don’t want to loose sight of your goals and visions which got you started along your path, other seeing progress along the way can help you to adjust and redirect your plans from what you originally intended.  Perhaps you learned some new things and have changed your mind about your goals or your approach to accomplishing those.  That’s OK, and in fact, its great to experience these changes and know that the progress you are making proves that you are changing.  As you measure your progress and see where things are leading, adjust your goal, your plans and actions to accomplish it and continue to work towards it.  Put value on the small progress steps that you continually make and know that stepping and looking forward, even if its just one step at a time, still has you moving on a forward path.  Be swift in your adjustments and keep progressing and measuring along the way.

Posted by Mike King under Business | 4 Comments »

6 Ways To Get What You Want

June 7th 2008

There are countless books, movies, blogs, and speakers talking about how to get what you want in the sense of achievement. If you’ve looked into self help and self improvement content much you’ve probably found this already. There is definitely a number of angles that these many resources list as ways to get what you want and I want to outline those that I have encountered both in that content and from my own experience.

Simply Ask For What You Want

This is by far the simplest, yet unfortunately, its usually ignored. Most people are truly afraid to ask for what they want because of their fears of rejection, or from being embarrassed, feeling inferior and many other emotional and fear based reasons. I’ve written before on the topic of asking for help in my article, "Ask For Help Already… " Very often you will find that others are more than willing to simply GIVE you exactly what you want. You might not get exactly what you’re asking for and you will likely not get it the first person you ask, but if you persist, you will get what you want. You might get a portion of what you ask for, or help or guidance to get you closer to what you want or perhaps just encouragement to keep asking others, but asking for help will always bring you closer to getting what you want. There is little or nothing to loose to ask for what you want and the clearly you are and more persistent, the better!

Focus Your Thoughts on What You Want

There are many books and programs available to learn to focus your thoughts. All kinds of books like Think and Grow Rich which I highly recommend reading to The Secret , which has great concepts presented in a unique way. While focusing your thoughts on what you want, it doesn’t really do anything completely on its own. Its not quite as automatic as some would like you to believe. However, there is definitely advantages from focusing your thoughts and that is to help you notice, concentrate, and think about everything that relates to the things you want because of your thoughts. You will notice more people to help or that can help you, you will see more examples of ways to get what you want and you will have those thoughts in many more situations. All these thoughts trigger small actions which is what really makes the difference. It can be simple conversations, a small amount of planning either on paper or in your head on a more regular basis, and just the continual reminders in your head to make the changes needed to get what you want are what make a difference here. Its not the thoughts themselves, but it is everything that those thoughts help make happen.

Set Goals and Take Action To Make Them Happen

Of course a major way to get what you want is to set goals and act on them. I’ve written a number of articles and a series on goal setting if you need more help with them. The real point of goals for getting what you want is to set a plan and put action to it. It doesn’t do much good to have a bunch of things you want if you are doing nothing to achieve them. They aren’t going to simple appear for you and you’ll need to put some effort into making those things happen. Countless studies and stats show the benefits of writing down and using goals to achieve what you want and that is certainly one of the best ways I’ve experienced as well. Sometimes the wants you have are very grand and take great courage to make progress towards them and that is the whole point of setting goals. Its something to work towards and if done properly, gives a way to measure progress towards them which accelerates progress and gets you motivated to keep the momentum going towards what you ultimately want.

Count on the Law of Reciprocity

This one is one of my favorites, not because its the best way to get what you want, but its the most satisfying and not intended really to even get you what you want. That reason doesn’t make much sense for being on this list unless you know what the law of reciprocity actually is. Reciprocity is that you get back what you give. So, don’t wait for things to happen, step out on a limb and be the first to give. Be generous to fulfill others’ wants and sooner or later, it will come back to you. Don’t expect it, don’t wait for it, just enjoy the giving in the first place and only marvel at the joy and satisfaction that it can give you immediately. This will pay off in the long run as well and its a sure way to ultimately get what you want with nothing but a joyous journey getting there.

Use Your Passion and Be Enthusiastic

Passion is not something that can easily be contained and is exactly why it goes hand in hand with enthusiasm. Its a contagious trait and will influence others you encounter to more readily help you. People are generally happier to donate, help or give things to a person or cause who absolutely LOVES everything about that and truly wants to make something out of what you have to give. If you share your passion and demonstrate a high level of enthusiasm for what you want, you are also more likely to get what you want.

Never Give Up

Its far to easy to become complacent and satisfied with a comfortable easy life in our rich society and so unfortunately, there are a growing number of people who roll through life never going after what they really want and giving up far to easily at chasing their real desires. Things you can do here to help with this is to look for progress and track and recognize any improvements or advancements towards what you want, instead of only looking at the end result. Value any progress made no matter how far you are from having what you want and you can motivate yourself to continue. Some of our great leaders had this attitude to never give up and show perfectly how it is needed to get what you want.

"If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed."
"I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward."

–Thomas Edison

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