How to figure out what I want

Looking down a path lined with trees

For some of us, knowing what we want is easy. It’s crystal clear in our minds.

But for rest of us, there doesn’t seem to be a clear “thing” that we want.

Sometimes it just depends what area of our life we’re talking about. I know that I want my Bachelor’s degree (which I just earned a couple of months ago, yay!). I know that I want to have the option of early retirement. I know that I want free time to relax, read, garden, and be in the outdoors.

But I have no idea exactly what to do to achieve early retirement and create the leisurely life I would like.
Some things I know and others I have no idea.

If you don’t know what you want your life to be like – that’s okay.
Maybe we can help you get a little bit closer.

Making your own personal mission statement is a small, but potentially impactful thing that could help you get a little bit closer. It can allow you to examine your desires and values. Then you really dig down deep into what you truly want from your life.

Over at MoneyBoss, he has some great tips on creating your own personal mission statement. If you have the time and the inclination, I recommend giving it a try. I found out some interesting stuff about what I truly value by doing his exercises.

We’ll try something similar right now, but on a much smaller scale.

Activity:

  1. Find 15 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted time.
  2. Picture yourself being financially free – no work, no place you have to be.
  3. What do you see yourself doing?
  4. Write down each thing you are doing – yes, all of them. The money and possibilities are limitless. Right now, you write it all. No crossing things off. We’re just practicing so we can open our minds to the possibilities.
  5. After 15 minutes, file that paper away in a safe spot so you can find it later.

Wait a week, then without looking at your other paper, do it again.

If you feel like it, you can do it 3 or so times. At some point though, we need to start focusing in.

After you’ve done the practice a few times, look at all of your papers.
Write down anything that appears in all of them.
Write down anything you absolutely have to do.
Then finish adding anything you’d really like to do.

This is the life you’re going to create.
You can make it as big or as small as you’d like. Try to stay focused on the things you really want to do while also keeping in mind the things you still have to do. Your time and energy are limited resources so try not to waste them.

The next step is to start visualizing yourself in this life.
I know it might sound weird, but our brains are pretty easy to trick.

If your goal is to live on a deserted island – imagine the sounds, sights, smells of the ocean all around you.
If your goal is to make art – picture yourself doing it and feel the brush in your hand. Smell the paint. Feel the pleasant emotions that arise.
If your goal is to read all day, feel the book and taste the cup of tea as you lounge and fill your mind.

Habitude: Visualize yourself in your new life each night (if you can) for about 5-10 minutes before bed.

It’s small and it’s simple, but it will help you believe this life is possible. It will help you focus and make space for it. Then you can slowly make little changes and transition to this more fulfilling life.

How this works:
Let’s be clear – picturing your new life each night isn’t going to make it magically appear. This isn’t some “secret” bullshit.

Regularly picturing your new life helps you focus. It gives you a clear direction. It helps you to start believing that what you want is something you can achieve.

If you haven’t achieved the things you want in your life, it’s probably because you’re afraid. Of failing. Of achieving it and having others hate you. Of trying and having others resent you. Of any number of things.

If you can identify exactly what you want and work through these fears, then you have a pretty good shot at getting it.

So start with this little habitude and take the first step on the path of creating your new life.

 


Image: “Path” by gorfor CC BY