1. Ask Yourself: What Do I Want?
To know what you want is the first step for you to get it. If you don’t know what you want, how are you supposed to get it? Many people know what they don’t want, but that does not help them to get what they do want.
Walking through life with a clear understanding of what you don’t want is not sufficient to empower yourself. It is like going shopping with a list of items you don’t want to purchase. It can help to keep you away from the things you don’t want, but it does not help you to get he things you do want.
So ask yourself, “What do I want?” and keep listening until you hear a reply from within.
2. Ask Yourself: What Is Stopping Me From Getting What I Want?
This is an interesting question to ask yourself and most likely you will end up with an answer consisting of a mix of doubts (Maybe what I want is not the right kind of goal for me).
limiting beliefs (I can’t achieve/ I don’t deserve to achieve what I want).
attachments (Well, it would be nice to achieve what I want, but then I have to give up x).
resource issues (I’d love to get what I want, I am capable of getting it, I deserve to get it, but I simply don’t have the resources I need in order to get it).
3. Deal With Your Doubts
When you have a moment of peace and quiet, close your eyes and internally visualize yourself achieving your goal. Make it like a 3D movie with you inside the movie as the main actor. See, hear, feel, smell, and taste what it is like to achieve what you are after. Make it even more real by intensifying the sounds and colors in the movie.
If achieving this goal does not satisfy you fully, make adjustments to it and rerun the movie until you are fully satisfied and have expelled any doubt that this goal is right for you.
4. Deal With Your Limiting Beliefs
This can be a bit tricky, because some of our limiting beliefs about our self, others, and the world stem from the distant past and are hard to uncover. If you feel that you have limiting beliefs that bother you but you find it hard to identify and constructively deal with them, you might consider getting professional help from a coach or therapist.
If you can identify a limiting belief, speak to it internally, as if it was a person. Ask: “What is it you want for me?” Limiting beliefs are often protective mechanisms that try to safe us from experiencing again some kind of suffering we have experienced in the past; So when you ask this question, you are likely to get an internal response like “To keep you safe, to spare you from x happening again.”
When you know what your limiting belief is trying to achieve for you, you can start a dialogue with that belief about what you could do to satisfy its intention for you (e.g. “being safe”) and at the same time go after your goal (e.g. “committing to a relationship”).
5. Find Out What Your Current Situation Does For You
There is a very simple agenda that all humans (and animals) live by: “Maximize Happiness, Minimize Suffering.” Of course, there are different stratgies people employ to maximize happiness, and not all of them are successful. But the agenda is pretty much universal.
Even people who seemingly are unhappy often get something positive out of their misery (e.g. attention, a reason to not participate in something they don’t like, etc.) As provocative as it sounds, if you have been stuck in an unhappy situation for a while, it is likely that you are getting something out of it, because otherwise you would have moved on.
Consider this story: A businessman was transferred to a new position which meant that he had to travel around the world constantly. After a little while in this new position he picked up a habit that he had given up 10 years ago: Smoking. He was confused about that, because he had never missed the smoking after he had given it up. “Why did I all of a sudden start smoking again?” he asked himself.
Later, with the help of a professional, he realized that he had done it, because it made it easier for him to socialize. In a job where he only spent short periods of time with a constantly changing group of people, smoking meant an easy way to connect to others. Once he realized why he had started smoking again, he gave it up once more. He had to face the challenge of learning how to socializing with others first, though.
If you want to move towards your goal you have to first be clear on what you would like to keep from your present situation. Change for change’s sake only does not last. If you want to make a change in your life, make sure it keeps the best aspects of your current situation and discards all the aspects you do not like.
So take a good look at all the positive side effects your current situation brings with it and try to integrate as many of them into your goals. That way it will be easier for you to achieve and maintain your desired future.
If your problems relate to resources only, make a resolution to make an effort to access existing resources and create new ones. This can be a tough road, but might very well be easier to handle than doubts, limiting beliefs and attachments. External obstacles often are easier to overcome than internal ones.
6. One Step At A Time
Don’t bite off more than you can chew, but make sure you do take a bite to get yourself started towards your goal. Move at a pace that is comfortable for you, but not too comfortable, otherwise you will slack. As you start to invest time and energy in your goal you will find that it quickly starts to change
Your sense of self
Your relationships with others
And last, but not least, your goal itself will start to change. Yes, that’s right, as you are going after your goal, it will start changing, maybe a little, maybe a lot, but it will definitely change. It is helpful for you to understand that that is a natural thing.
Life is a system, consisting of many parts, so as you start actively changing one part of the system (going after your goal), all other parts of the system will change, which in turn will make you re-evaluate your goal.
Stay calm as all these changes unfold in front of your eyes and trust yourself. With calm persistence you will reach your goal, even if it ends up looking very different from what it looked like when you first set it.
7. Play A Bigger Game
Playing a bigger game has to do with setting a goal that does not just satisfy you as an individual, but involves some degree of unselfishness and benefits others.
It also has to do with stretching yourself. If you do not feel a little unsure of yourself, maybe even a bit uncomfortable and challenged, chances are you are not playing a bigger game.
Playing a bigger game means embarking on a journey into the unknown, where you become a tool for a higher purpose. It requires of you a certain degree of surrender. It certainly is not a good game to play for control freaks.
Why play a bigger game? Because there is no fun in life without playing a bigger game.