How to get (almost) whatever you want: 3 slow and painful steps
So, how many times is it that you have been told that you cannot get whatever you want in life?
You know why?
Because all of it was a well-framed lie. It was a lie constructed by people who failed and were too afraid to try again. It was a lie told to those who had that light in them which shone so bright that others could see it too.
It was also the lie which was told to people to keep them away from the journey of following their dreams in life because, well, those are not “real”.
Some said “follow your dreams” and others, “you will never get exactly what you want. So you might as well be content with what you have.”
Both these statements are true because you will never get what you want in life if you don’t work for it. Life is difficult.
But you can get (almost) everything you want by following the 3 steps I lay down for you in the article. There's also a caveat that I talk about towards the end of article.
Here goes step #1:
1. Make a plan to change your behavior
For whatever you want in life, you need to make a plan for moving forward and achieving it. I've already shown you in detail how you can create a personal plan for massive change.
The key though is execution. Trust the process and stay grounded. Even under uncertainty, stay patient.
According to a study published in the European Journal of Social psychology, for an average person to acquire a new habit, it takes 2 months of time, or more (66 days to be exact).
If you are a late sleeper waking up early can feel a real uphill battle. So how about taking it gradually by getting up 10-15 minutes earlier than your usual wake up time? Maybe you can try sleeping in earlier. And say no to digital gadgets an hour before you arrive in bed.
All of the above "generic tips" will work. You've to just find out what works for you and focus on execution.
According to researchers Neal and Wood, there are three ways you can change your “bad” habits or those which you want to get rid of:
Remove the cues from your life which lead to habit-breaking behaviors. Like, keep junk food in inaccessible places so that you don't see them everyday (if you're trying to eat healthy food).
Eat, sleep, love, repeat. Neal and Wood et al. believe that the key to habit-making is to repeat.
Fit in cues into your life which leads to the behavior. For example, having a cup of herbal tea after lunch where having the meal would be the cue to having tea.
If you fail in implementing your plan (most people do), then don't fret. Analyze what went wrong and see if re-attempting the same plan makes sense. Else, try to set lower behavior changing parameters the next time and retry a different strategy.
2. Take responsibility and keep doing THIS...
It's easy and convenient to shift blame on external factors.
Late for a meeting? Blame traffic. Forgot about the assignment? Blame electricity.
But if you're serious about achieving success, you've to take responsibility for your behavioral slip-ups and all your actions.
You shouldn't blame others when it doesn't work out. You shouldn't blame your fate either.
So what should you do when your plans fail?
You've to bypass the emotional clout. Understand your emotions as they will drive your everyday decisions and thereby govern your progress towards your goals.
John and Gross researched on how changing the way we look at emotion-provoking incidents in our lives can change our outlook. They found that by only changing our perspectives we can change our attitudes too.
See, you can either make a mess of your life. Else, create a wonderful life with the time you have and the opportunities you get.
The chain of the blame game will keep growing until you cut it. At Amazon, Jeff Bezos has inculcated a culture to "disagree and commit." In a team environment, often all the people aren't on the same page.
As an exemplary leader, it's your duty to disagree and question decisions. But once you commit, you do so wholly.
Similar should be the case with your life decisions. You need not wait to have 100% necessary information before you make a critical life decision. Make a decision at about 70% (like Amazon does) and aggressively move forward with that commitment.
Remember HUSTLE is all you got to do. Because that's the sole aspect in your control in the equation of success.
3. Have faith in yourself
It's cliched. And even may sound preachy. But to reach your goals, you've to believe in yourself. You'll receive criticism. Hate. Unknown aspects will spring up in your path.
You can't control the external events. But don't fall for the distractions and negativity around you. Deep down in your heart, you've to believe that you deserve everything that you work for.
No! You're not a fraud.
Suppose, you wish to lose some pounds. Now, don't get all ambitious and set a hefty target. You don't need a few days or weeks. Set up small objectives and give yourself a pat on your back for achieving them.
Your efforts might fail to achieve desirous results. And your friends might turn their back on you. Now is your real test of character. So don't fall back. Take inspiration from J.K. Rowling. She tasted success only after failed relationships and experiencing grief in her life.
So how can you develop mental resilience to accept failures?
Ellis, Carette et al. found through an extended study that not only are our failures a way to educate ourselves, but our successes are good teachers too. Pointing towards a “systematic” way of learning, they concluded:
Self-explanation (reflecting on our acts and finding why we succeeded or failed)
Data verification (checking and analyzing the other probable ways to have approached the situation)
And feedback (concluding whether the end product was failure or a win, and planning ahead)
You cannot dream of achieving it all. Atleast not together. So you've to let go of the activities that deviate you from your main goal (path). Take help from Mr. Pareto when you're facing issues with time management and prioritizing.
The principle will help you find the high-value tasks that deserve your attention.
Remember, it's not about sequentially ticking off your to-do lists. Don't let routine take over and the motions of the day run you.
It's slow. Painful. And challenging. But if you're persistent, dedicated and determined, you can achieve almost whatever you set your eyes on. Just stay patient and keep hustling.
Did you find the 3 steps useful? What is your number one takeaway from reading the article? Let me know in the comments below.