The life YOU want is not out of reach though it may often feel that way. The problem is that most people mistake what it is that they really want and look to the wrong things to satisfy the craving they feel. Below I share blocks to and must-have strategies to get the life you want.
There are days when I wonder if anyone is living a life they want. When I look around pretty much anywhere, I see people hurrying through life, preoccupied or with eyes glued to their phone.
I know from thousands of conversations that most people are not living the life they want. Somehow, through circumstances and choices they end up in life, craving something more.
Often they think that having more money is the cure to this craving.
Certainly, money does give a person more choices but we all know at some level that money itself does not create happiness. The craving behind wanting more money is that we hope to create a life we want.
However, what most often happens when someone does make or get more money is that they create a life based on having more or doing more things. And none of it ever feels like enough. I know wealthy people who have everything money can buy but who still don’t have the life they want.
Because, the life you want isn’t purely money-based. It might take a certain amount of money to have the life you want, but the money itself isn’t going to make that craving go away. It’s certain feelings that you are actually craving.
The feelings most of us crave are freedom, creative expression, growth, achievement, and connection. These are deeply satisfying types of feelings. A new car can cost about the same amount as a college education. Yet, guess which one provides lasting and deep satisfaction? (And as a college advisor I can tell you which one people tell me they can’t afford.)
The REAL life you want is one built on satisfying those cravings. You want to live on purpose and aligned with your true values. You get those feelings by pushing yourself. That’s how you get the life you want.
Living life ON purpose and WITH purpose gives me more satisfaction than chasing happiness ever did. I am talking about living life ON purpose—living deliberately—and living a life aligned WITH your values.
To get the life you want, you have to live on purpose. Being on-track and on-purpose leads to a deeply satisfying, full, and productive life.
How to Get the Life You Want
To get the life you want, you have to align your life with your true values rather than what you think your values should be or what other people think they should be.
We all have some kind of internal alert system that lets us know when we are living on purpose and aligned with our values and when we’re not. Typically, when we’re off-track we know we’re off track.
I have never done anything that turns out to be a mistake that I don’t have at least a little feeling that maybe what I’m about to do isn’t such a good idea.
While I am not always thrilled with my seemingly endless ways of going off-purpose; I certainly do learn a lot from these experiences.
Yet when we live our lives aligned with our values and our purpose, we stay on track to get the life we want. You might not even know exactly what it is—but this inner compass will get you there.
I started following, really following my inner compass a little over a year ago and my life totally began to change.
In the past, I had tried to but I always felt constrained by what I thought others would think. There were parts of my life I absolutely loved but I still felt mostly unhappy for a long long time.
When I started listening the part of me that was saying yes to things I couldn’t believe I was saying yes to things began to change. Instead of hiding who I was, I started writing about it and owning it. Who I was on the outside began to match who I was on the inside.
This past weekend, this quiet introvert, who has always hated exercising or doing pretty much anything in public, went on a weekend getaway with 22 other people and road on a bike ride with about 2,000 people.
And I loved every minute of it! By attempting to live my life aligned with my true desires, I’ve become more connected to others, I have experiences that fill me with joy, I grow and learn every day. Life and the people in it are precious to me as I’ve learned to think the thoughts and take the action to get the life I want.
As I’ve basked in the happiness of this most recent experience, I’ve put together a list of what I think it takes to get the life you want. First I share a block to getting the life you want and then I share the strategy to deal with the block.
7 Strategies to Get the Life You Want
It’s taking longer than we think it should.
This is probably one of the biggest reasons people begin to doubt they are on-track for a life they want. They take action and then they feel it should not take as long as it is taking. We often overestimate how quickly we can achieve something and when we don’t do it in that amount of time, we call the experience a failure and give up on it.
We look at others and their timelines and make comparisons that ultimately do us harm. We all do not move at the same speed! Yet, taking more time does not mean you won’t achieve something and often even something that seems to being going slow will pick up momentum towards the end and propel you to finish or achieve something.
Get the life you want Strategy: Our timing is unique to us. Often, we quit before we have made the shift, where what we are attempting solidifies or takes form. Many things feel like failure…until they don’t anymore. That shift can take place in an instant. Sometimes almost without warning.
It’s so typical for people to give up on something that is going to make a real and profound change in their lives. I see people give up on exercise, education, jobs, projects, blogs, relationships. Yet, there is power in not giving up on something until it is done. This has taken me a long time to learn but it’s made all the difference.
Even if something is taking longer than you think it should—just stick with it. Go past that point of discomfort and begin to see things through.
It’s HARDER than you thought it would be.
Have you ever tried to learn something and then discovered that it was MUCH harder than you had imagined and you quit? I’m totally guilty of that. I tried to learn dancing a couple of years ago. I quit after two lessons.
Recently, I tried to learn some new technology and it was much harder than I thought it would be. I really wanted to give up. But I couldn’t because someone was counting on me to learn it and to be able to provide a service. I stuck with it and almost magically, after a few weeks, I knew how to use the technology. This encouraged me to try another new thing and the same thing happened.
Get the life you want Strategy: Now I know, that for me, learning that at first appears difficult or even impossible can often be learned with perseverance and a belief and intent that it can be learned. Set the intent, that you can and will learn or accomplish what you need to do and that you will stick with it until you do. Take a short break if you need to clear your mind.
I am amazed at the difference that setting the intent to learn something and not quitting until I do, makes. Sometimes something I’ve struggled with for weeks will suddenly become clear very quickly after declaring my commitment to myself.
We’re concerned with what other people think.
We’re social creatures. We care about what people think, like our life depends upon it. And our life did depend upon it when we were kids. Now that we’re grown-ups, we can still feel overly concerned with how others perceive what we’re doing.
Maybe we’ll look silly? Maybe we’ll look dumb? I do struggle with this. I want to look cool and in control all the time even though I know that’s not even possible. Not only is it not possible, it’s not even a good thing to try for. Being vulnerable and acting with purpose is where movement and growth happen.
We might stay more comfortable in some ways, but ultimately it is not for our best.
Get the life you want strategy: Keep in mind that most people are way less concerned with what you are doing than you think. In addition, most people will take their attitude from you. If you feel ambivalent, they will pick up on that and reflect that back. If you radiate confidence in yourself, they will reflect that back. Eventually. You ultimately set the tone for how people perceive you.
We’re concerned we’ll get kicked out of one of our tribes.
We belong to many tribes: our families, our friendship circles, our work, our churches, and our communities. There are times when choosing to live your life according to your own values will move you out of a tribe. This can be your choice and sometimes it is not.
If you have to sidestep your own values to belong to a certain tribe; you have to seriously question whether that tribe is best for you.
On a happier note, sometimes your tribe will surprise you with acceptance.
Get the life you want Strategy: The groups we are aligned with can change over time. Sometimes we outgrow a particular group or tribe. It happens. Accept that for each loss, you will have an expansion into another group that is more aligned with your purpose.
It doesn’t provide immediate happiness.
To chase happiness as a 24/7 way of life doesn’t quite lead to happiness. But living your life with purpose and on purpose leads to a feeling that might just be better than happiness.
However, sometimes living your life aligned with your values and purpose leads to very uncomfortable and very NOT-happy feelings. This can happen especially at the beginning of new ventures and experiences.
There is no guarantee, that if you genuinely believe that you are acting inline with your values and with purpose, that life will turn out all roses and happiness. Yet, I can tell you that there are feelings that are better than that.
Get the life you want Strategy: Happiness can be fleeting and attempting to hold too tight to that particular feeling can make it impossible to achieve. Enjoy and savor happy moments for sure. But learn to relish and value the feeling of living on purpose.
We hang on too tight to earlier purposes and values.
I believe that our purpose in life evolves over the years. We might have one purpose at 20 and a totally different one at 40. In my twenties I was busy being a mom, a wife, and a good Catholic. I know women who have held similar purposes throughout their entire lives—beautifully. That didn’t turn out to be my own experience though I did hang on for dear life for years!
Get the life you want Strategy: Accept that your purpose and values will change over time. Be willing to explore this at your own speed. You do not need to abandon old purposes all at once and can gradually discover and lean into new ways you want to live on purpose.
We don’t know other people who are living with similar purposes.
I have beautiful friendships and strong family connections. But I don’t know a single person who is living like me with the same kinds of values and purpose. It’s scary to be living off the narrow track that was laid out before me when I was a kid.
Get the life you want Strategy: Perhaps this is the BEST sign that you are living your life on-purpose. We are all so unique that it amazes me how we attempt to fit ourselves into boxes that we think will match up with everyone else’s. When your life is different that those around you, you have definitely stepped out of the box!
How to Get the Life YOU Want
Start with baby steps and go as slow as you need. Remember that living on-purpose and with purpose is not about knowing what your “Purpose” is. It is about aligning with your values and what is right for you.
We often seriously try to bend and shape ourselves in ways to please other people or our culture in general. Or we follow outdated ways of living in an attempt to hold onto something that worked for us before. Or we are convinced that there is NO way we could possibly be happy if we choose to do what deep inside, we know is right for us.
Yes, it does take a certain amount of bravery to live your unique and on-purpose life and get the life you want. I’m not going to lie about that. An on-purpose life can be uncomfortable at times, especially during some of the transitions. The reward is that you get that feeling, that is unlike any other feeling, of living life on-purpose—Your Purpose.
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.