How to get what you want in 2016
By tradition, many of us see the beginning of a new year as a good time to set goals for the future. There’s a sense of wiping the slate clean and drawing a line under the year that has just passed. If things haven’t gone well, now’s the time that they’ll get better. If we didn’t achieve what we wanted last year, this year will be the year that we get what we want in life.
These don’t have to be purely spiritual aims – such as inner happiness and contentment, although those are good things to aim for in life. There’s nothing wrong with including material desires – such as a better salary, a bigger house, or a new job.
Of course, we can’t expect our dreams to fall into our laps. We’re going to have to put some work in to achieve what we want. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting better things in life and the following steps should lead you to getting what you want.
- Set goals
In order to work towards getting what you want in life, you need to focus on it. Get a clear idea of what exactly you’re hoping to get in life and write those intentions down. This will enable your brain to help you plan the actions necessary to move towards your goals. For example, if you think it’s time your bosses recognised your hard work and rewarded you with a raise, then think that, and your brain will help create a plan that takes you towards achieving that improved salary.
You may have a number of goals or desires, so use post-it notes and stick them somewhere you’ll see them every day – inside a kitchen cupboard, maybe. Have a separate note for each goal – from ‘new sports car’ to ‘beautiful girlfriend’. If a new goal pops up in your mind, add another post-it note as a constant reminder to yourself of what things you want in life.
It’s also a good idea to envision how life would be if you achieved these goals. Take a minute to visualise how your perfect relationship might look, or how that dream ski trip would be. Imagine the bright blue skies against the crisp white snow and those amazing views of the mountains.
There’s also plenty to be said in vocalising your goals. If you talk about what you want in life, other people can sometimes help you achieve it. If your manager knows you’re looking for a promotion, they’ll help you build towards it.
- Take action to reach your goals
Writing down what you want in life, and talking about it, is the first step. The next is to take action towards those goals. No matter how small, do one thing to move you closer to your goals every day. For instance, if you want to move up the housing ladder, do your research on neighbourhoods where you could afford to buy a bigger place. If you feel like you need a change of direction in your career, don’t rush to hand in your resignation, but investigate what training you might need to do, or what experience you might need to gain, to move towards that career change.
- Don’t just live for tomorrow
Setting clear goals is a great start, but we won’t always achieve all of our goals. Our lives may take a different course to the one we have imagined. If you get too hung up on reaching a goal, you may be in danger of missing out on fun along the way towards that goal. Don’t resist the present too much by loading all your hopes and expectations into future goals. Enjoy the present moment for what it is and for what it offers you. Remember the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson: ‘life’s a journey, not a destination’.
Mindfulness is the ability to live in the present moment
One way to increase your enjoyment of the present is through practising mindfulness. Being mindful is being able to live in the present instead of worrying about what the future holds. If you can be mindful, you gain a greater awareness of your own thoughts and feelings and an awareness of the world we live in. Mindfulness allows us the possibility to process all the thoughts we have and to release those that are not important or just serve to add to our stress levels. You can learn more about mindfulness at TheCircle, but the basic principle is very simple. It’s about focusing on the present instead of constantly looking back at the past or fearing the future. Being mindful will actually help you to action those hopes and dreams you have. But, at the same time, allow you to enjoy the life you already have.