Start with finding out what you want
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If you want a happy life, you must be able to get what you want.
Three years ago, I existed. I had no goals. No direction. No destination. Every day was stressful because, in the end, I had no idea what I was doing.
From time to time, new shiny things appeared that I was sure I wanted.
I wanted it immediately and without effort. But whenever I started doing something, another thing appeared. A shinier thing.
Luckily I got out of the spiral of blind consumption.
My life now represents my goals. I want to be a great partner, so I am working on my relationship. I want to be a great writer, so I write daily. I want to be a great software developer, so I code daily.
Here are 4 steps I took over and over again to get what I wanted. Try them to get what you want.
Work on Meaningful Projects
Getting results requires working long enough.
To do that long-term, you must enjoy the work. Pursuing your goals is what makes you want to live your life. Nothing makes you feel fulfilled better than doing the work you want.
When a man can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure.— Viktor Frankl
Meaning is a feeling.
You feel it when you pursue the goals you decide to pursue. Let me repeat. You feel meaning when you pursue the goals you decide to pursue.
It’s about deciding on our goals more than finding them.
At least initially, you get to choose what you think you want to do.
That realization was crucial for me.
I thought goals would come to me from the Universe without my input. And maybe that happens for others, but never for me. I’ve waited 28 years.
Decide what you want to do and start creating your meaning in life.
How to work on meaningful projects
First, you must decide which projects are significant to you.
It’s not that you can’t get inspiration from others. Some things make most of us happy:
- Stable relationship
- Good health
- Enough money
But the point is that you must decide.
]When you do, the goals you decide on will create a direction for your life.
Direction decreases life’s complexity. You transform infinite possibilities into a digestible meal. Still big, but at least you know it’s a meal.
Then each next project should bring you further into the direction you follow.
- you never know everything
- you can improve later
- you can change your mind
- you want to start asap
One Thing at a Time
Working on everything is toxic.
It seems productive to run many projects at once. You feel good when you juggle many tasks. But do you get results?
The reality was I always worked on one task. But I switched the task many times a day. My brain got used to fast context-switching. It felt so productive to touch all those things every day.
I was deceiving myself.
There were no results because I never finished anything. I dropped the idea after a few tries because something else always awaited me.
The way through was focusing on one thing.
We fight the battle between our finite resources and life’s infinite possibilities. You can do anything, but never everything.
The trick is to use what you want to choose what you’ll do.
Let the rest go
Work on what you decided for as long as needed to get results.
Turn off all your notifications. Close the doors, and put your noise-canceling headphones on. Prepare the environment so it facilitates work.
Prioritize and decide what you’ll do.
On the level of projects, choose the one you value the most. On the task level, select the most efficient in pushing you toward your goal.
Having one active project terrified me because I thought I wouldn’t be productive. Working on many at once resulted in me spending 15 minutes here and 30 minutes there. I worked on details, rarely touching essential topics.
Because what’s important is also what’s hard. Hard things need time to build up a context to work on them. When you finally know what to do, you must switch because another thing is waiting.
Single-tasking is more than working on one thing. It’s a way to push forward what matters most in the areas you care about. It’s a perspective on life that gives you the freedom to let everything else go.
One Bite at a Time
The bigger the change, the bigger the fear.
We’re rightfully afraid of the unknown. But we don’t have a choice of not facing it. The question is how to do it without getting overwhelmed.
The unknown represents danger.
It also represents opportunity. The bigger the fear, the bigger the treasure. But you don’t have to face it all at once.
Small steps allow you to face only a fraction of your initial fear.
This is how you eat an elephant. One bite at a time.
I used this idea to stay sober.
Instead of imagining my whole life without a beer on a sunny day on the beach, I focused on today at my flat when it was raining outside.
Face your fears but in bites.
Learn to bite so you don’t choke
Your dreams are your goals.
Changing naming gives you an actionable perspective. The goal is no longer that fuzzy intangible dream. To get to a goal, you need a project.
How to translate long-term goals into actionable steps?
You aim to have daily tasks you can execute now.
How to do it?
Define key actions you must take to get what you want. I wanted to be a writer, so mine are:
- engaging with the community of writers and readers
- hitting publish
There is no need to overcomplicate this.
When you start, you know nothing. Whatever effort you put in will help you navigate later on. Even if you step in the wrong direction, you can correct it later.
I started with this vague idea of what writing is. Later I split it further to:
- mind map
- first draft
Take small bites so that you can process them easier.
Measure The Progress
Life is too short to be sad.
Does it mean you have to be happy all the time? No. You have to enjoy the life you have, whatever it is. No one has to enjoy what you do except you.
That said, we should remember life is a process.
You won’t enjoy it if you focus on results. If you can only celebrate your wins, you celebrate for a fraction of the time. The far more desirable skill is to enjoy the way.
For me focusing on the progress was the key to enjoying the process.
You see, there is always more of what you don’t have. So much to get, so little you have. Does it motivate you?
It didn’t motivate me.
I wanted more and more, and that never stopped. But hear me out. I deal with it by balancing the scales. Instead of comparing it to the endless possibilities in the future, I compare it to what I had yesterday, a week ago, and a month ago.
Each day is a chance for improvement.
Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I don’t. But in the longer perspective, I move forward. And that’s what keeps me going.
Dare to test how far you can get before you die.
Notice what you’ve accomplished
Seeing progress is a perspective shift.
The key idea is to compare what you have now to what you have.
Use your past for comparison to highlight the changes you introduced.
The best strategy is having achievable goals broken into daily tasks. Because each day, you do the work for the greater goal. Each day becomes a data point. Visible progress you made.
Right now, I’m sober for 1153 days. Every day marks progress. I may have more than 1153 days to live, so there is more to do. But that doesn’t matter because I’m sober for one more day.
Build your progress, one day at a time.
Getting what you want is hard because you must admit what you want.
Then you have to choose one or two things to chase. Working on those is effortful and harder than watching Netflix.
The cure is the opposite of sexy.
It’s the boring work you do daily. It’s accepting your limitations and using them for your benefit. You know you can’t multitask, so do your best to avoid it. You know to meet your goals, you must do the work, so you do it.
My framework is about adjusting perspective.
It relies on the premise that working on the right things gives you a feeling of meaning. Working on meaningful projects makes you the supplier of life’s meaning. Focusing on one thing teaches you discipline and how to let the rest go. Do that one bite at a time so you don’t choke. So you can measure the progress by working on small tasks that align with your goals.
Do you sometimes wonder how your life would look if you could get what you wanted?
Wonder no more. Get What You Want with My Free Ultimate Guide ♥️