In life, you don’t get what you want, you get what you work for.
Here are some ideas for making it happen:
1. Every morning ask: “Is this what I want for myself?”
Whenever the answer has been “no” for too many mornings in a row, you know it’s time to make a change. If you follow this principle a lot of life’s big decisions are actually pretty simple.
Long-term happiness is the settling of your soul into its most appropriate spot. This spot contains the ideas, passions, people, and places that move you.
Accept responsibility for making these things possible in your life. Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else. Be honest with yourself. If you catch yourself following the crowd on automatic pilot simply because it’s the easiest option, it’s time to pause and reflect. Read Quitter.
2. Turn your dream into actionable steps and execute.
Action breeds results. Slice your big-picture dream into a set of small goals and meet them.
Execute, execute, execute. You are responsible for getting things done. It always comes down to your actions. You choose: either action and results or inaction and excuses. You can’t have both.
The pain of discipline is far less than the pain of regret. Do what you have to do – 100% of it. No one has ever given a dream their best shot and regretted it.
3. Take a few small steps every single day.
Don’t build mountains in your mind. Don’t try to conquer it all at once. Take everything in stride, one step at a time.
When you seek instant gratification you make life unnecessarily painful and frustrating. When you choose instead to treat each moment as an opportunity to make a small, positive, long-term investment in your future, the rewards come naturally.
Although each individual effort may seem to have no effect when you make it, at some point you’ll look back and realize the momentous impact your efforts created once they were added together. By moving at this sustainable pace, you’ll be able to continue moving forward for as long as it takes to get precisely where you want to go.
4. Exercise rock solid self-control.
Your ability to restrain an impulse by cross-referencing your moral values and goals creates the essence of your long-term happiness and success.
You are never going to get what you want until you learn how to do what’s right even when it feels wrong. Every time you do what’s right by a decision of your will using discipline and self control to go beyond momentary feelings of weakness, you get that much closer to what you want.
5. Practice until you’re an expert, and keep practicing.
In all walks of life, achieving greatness is a choice. Practice makes it possible. You are what you practice most.
Whatever you decide to do, do it well. Do it so well that when others see you do it, they enjoy it so much that they want to come back and see you do it again, and they also want to bring their friends along so they can show them how incredible you are at doing what you do. Read The Success Principles.
6. Mind your thoughts and your words.
Understand the power of your thoughts, and guard them more closely. Understand the power of your words, and prefer silence to anything negative. Through your thoughts and words you create your own weaknesses and strengths. Your limitations begin in your mind where you can always replace negative with positive.
So stop worrying about negative scenarios that are merely figments of your imagination. Allow your thoughts to encourage you rather than hinder you. Focus on the moment in front of you. Free yourself to deal effectively and successfully with what is real and what is now.
7. Surround yourself with people who lift you higher.
You are the average of the people you spend the most time with. The great danger of being around negative people is that you start to become like them without even knowing it.
Relationships must be chosen wisely. Bad company corrupts good morals and human potential. There’s no need to rush into a relationship you are unsure of, or associate with those who hold you back.
8. Give back.
The great Zig Ziglar once said, “You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
For it is in giving that we receive. In other words, what goes around comes around in this world. As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way. Read Better Than Good.
9. Create balance.
Be diligent and committed to your work, but also make sure you leave time for pleasure and exploration. It is not enough to succeed at one specific goal; you also have to take part in the different dimensions of your life – while you can, while there’s time.
Lift your head up from your work every now and then and take a long walk, hold hands with your beloved, go fishing, spend time with your friends, swim, bask in the sunlight, try something new, meditate, breathe deep, or sit quietly for a while and contemplate the goodness around you.
In other words, balance yourself – work diligently, but don’t ignore every other aspect of your life. Keep your mind fresh, your body active and alive, and your relationships nurtured. Do so, and the things you want most in life will come more naturally.
Photo by: Chimpr
Tim Grey says
Thanks for these great words of wisdom. I definitely need to work on taking action this year. I have all these goals, but I slack waaaay too much. I just printed the article and taped it over my desk. Motivation! 🙂
So true. The only real failures in life are not trying or not changing when you know it’s time.
Thanks for your amazing motivation. Looking forward to a productive year ahead…
This was a great post for me to read today! I am returning to school to become a registered nurse (a huge passion of mine!) even though I am currently a full-time teacher. It’s not easy, as I’m supporting myself and paying for classes, but (after ignoring my inner voice for 2 years) I knew that I would not be happy as a teacher for the rest of my life and so I am daring to make a change. But it’s scary as heck…not going to lie. Failure however, is NOT an option!
Lovely, motivating post which I badly needed…
I will follow it… 🙂
Wow, for a moment there I thought you’d peeked into my diary… On Monday I did a tally for 2012, focusing especially on the lessons I’ve learned over the past year. A lot of what I’ve come up with aligns with what you wrote in this post. Specifically points 1-3, 5-7 & 9… I guess I’ll have to take a closer look at 4 & 8… I’m sure those lessons were there somewhere along the way…
Thanks for spreading motivation and positivity all over the place!
Great way to start the new year. 2013 is going to be a crazy year for me. I’m studying abroad, traveling, starting my last year of college, and etc. Going to try and follow your steps to achieve everything I hope to get out of this year.
Great post. The big takeaways for me are found in the ideas of taking small actionable steps on a consistent basis, and always giving back.
That last is an often ingnored point.
Zig Ziglar had the right of it. Value can only be traded for value. And by choosing to give that value on occassion, without asking for anything in return, you actually become valuable yourself — the real key to getting what you want in life.
Donna Marie says
This article is perfect.
I spent the last couple of days getting clear on my intentions for 2013 and putting in place some rituals to help keep me focused. The area I traditionally stumble is in demonstrating “rock solid self-control”, in that I have the disease-to-please and often have trouble saying no to requests for my time that are not in line with my intentions. Thanks for the motivation to exercise that muscle!
Thanks for this, I was greatly blessed and encouraged!!
It’s true. You do become like those whom you associate with on a daily basis. If you know in your heart that it’s time to limit the time you spend with your pessimistic family and friends, have the courage to find a new group of people who are on the same page as you. You don’t have to abandoned your pessimistic family and friends, be kind, be gentle, but be strong to say, “I won’t go down that negative road with you.”
Make 2013 a great year! Take control of your life and start living.
Thanks for the reminder that baby steps forward, celebrating all success and setbacks and truly moving others to succeed really make a difference! Blessings in 2013!
tara dillard says
Noticed several years ago when ‘life’ is blah, stagnant, not going where I think it should it’s because I’m not ‘giving’ enough.
Pro bono is now on the regular agenda along with small private acts of daily giving.
Thank you for all ya’ll do.
Garden & Be Well, XO Tara
Happy New Year! Angel and I are committed to working beside you to make 2013 an incredible year for all of us.
And again, thanks for keeping us inspired with your kind, insightful comments.
@Lisa: Good luck and congrats on pursuing your dream.
@Trevor: No question about it. It’s all about formulating goals and taking action. When people approach us for advice because things at their end aren’t moving along, we usually find that lack of action in the right areas is the culprit. And when these actions help others, it makes the little victories that much sweeter.
@Donna: Saying “no” to right people gives you the time and resources required to say “yes” to right opportunities.
@Amandah: Excellent advice! Soar with the Eagles…
@tara: No one has ever become poor by giving. 🙂
You are both so infinitely inspiring. Are you both INFP’s on the Myers Briggs MBTI?
Thank you both so much for what you write and post – 2012 really became the year that I worked on becoming a more positive person and living a truly happy life! Discover your passion and find a way to not only make a living in that field – but VOLUNTEER and give back – my cup ran over this past year with all of the goodwill that came back to me. 2013 is going to be a very exciting year!
Great list! Thanks for the inspiration and the reminders! Cheers!
Thank you again for such a great post. Reading your messages in 2012 truly helped me get through some tough times and helped me on the right path! I have learned the importance of personal development! May 2013 bring you all many blessings. Excited to see and read what’s in store for us in 2013. It keeps getting better and better!
Any thoughts on getting what you want when there’s truly no one to help you in practical ways or otherwise? At some point people need help from others, no?
Seems to be very simple and I will try to follow it for my own sake. Thanks for such a wonderful post.
Hope & Sugar says
Perfect post. I like the start where you said ‘You don’t get what you want, you get what you work for’. So true
Action and results or inaction and excuses. That could not be said any better. Have a huge day at work tomorrow requiring a lot of action. It’s up to me to break through the reluctance/fear and just do it. thanks for the motivation!
love the post. those also happen to be valid tips for happiness 🙂
Wow. So refreshing, I love every point you’ve shared here. More power to you both. Blessings 🙂
This post is so inspiring… Great job. 🙂
Jorge Blanco says
Wonderful. Number 5, especially. One should never stop polishing his skills, no matter how good he is already, because stopping might make you rusty.
Anthony Lowery says
Cool article in the fact that it is super helpful.
-If I may add to the list: “look where you are going.” In that way, at least know what you are doing and why.
Building on this idea:
“Your ability to restrain an impulse by cross-referencing your moral values and goals”
Restraining impulse spending (e.g. the $2 or $5 snack on the way home from the office) is something I’m working on this week. Successful restraint in that area means more money for a big goal in 2015 – attending the World Domination Summit event in Portland.