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7 Ways to Get What You Want in 2016

7 Ways to Get What You Want in 2016

Are you ready to get what you want in 2016? If so, it’s a good idea to do more than choose a New Year’s resolution. In fact, British psychologist Richard Wiseman discovered in his study that 88% of New Year’s resolutions are broken.

Rather than announcing your resolution at a New Year’s Eve party and then quickly breaking it, here are some ways to actually get what you want in 2016 and make it the best year ever.

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1. Decide what you truly want

First of all, what is it you truly want? Consider something you desire, and then think about the work required to get it. Do you really want what you say you do, or would you rather not put in the effort to get it? Be honest with yourself. If you really want something, it’s time to work toward getting it. If you’re not sure what you truly want, get this free workbook. It has thought-provoking questions to help you discover your passion and the mark you want to make on the world.

2. Set very specific goals and write them down

Multiple studies have shown that writing down your goals is beneficial. Set your long-term goals very specifically. To learn how to rephrase a vague New Year’s resolution into a specific, measurable goal, read this article for a great example. After you’ve set your long-term goals, break them down into smaller goals, and figure out exactly what you need to do every single day to stay on course to achieve them. Breaking down your long-term goals into small daily goals helps make them less intimidating, and gives you an objective measure of whether or not you’re on track to achieve them.

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3. Find your why

As you set your goals, find your why. Your why is your purpose. It’s a personal reason you really want to achieve the goal. Having a strong why will help get you through the days you feel unmotivated toward your goal. In his TED Talk “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek describes how finding your why inspires action. What is your very meaningful reason you want to achieve your goal?

4. Make space in your schedule to work on your goals

To achieve your goals and get what you want, you must make space in your life to make your goals a priority. Assess how you’re currently spending your time. Are your days packed with unimportant tasks? Start replacing something unimportant with working toward your goal, even if it’s just a few minutes per day to start. Too many people live their lives in the daily grind, going through the motions, and leave no time in their days for what truly matters to them. Make 2016 the year you make room in your schedule to work on getting what you really want.

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5. Work on your mindset

If you’re like millions of people, your mindset holds you back from getting what you truly want. Start reframing your negative thoughts of “I could never do that” to “I don’t know how to do that right now, but with the right support system in place, I’ll be able to learn and achieve my goal.” Pay attention to your self-talk. Is it negative? Be kind to yourself and treat yourself as a friend would, with encouragement and positivity. Not sure how to be your own friend? Check out this article50 Small Things You Can Do Every Day to Really Love Yourself. 

6. Conquer your fear

As George Addair said, “Everything you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.” It’s essential to learn to conquer your fear to get what you want. Many fears will likely arise when you’re working toward a big goal. As you get out of your comfort zone and take action toward what you want, here are some of the fears that may be roadblocks for you:

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  • Fear of standing out
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of not being ready
  • Fear of not being smart enough
  • Fear of choosing a path you don’t like

It’s important to not let these fears sabotage your success. When you are overwhelmed with fear, focus on taking tiny baby steps toward your goal. Sometimes, our big goals can seem so huge and far away, and accomplishing them looks pretty impossible. When that happens to you, work on focusing on the small action step for that day only instead of thinking about your massively overwhelming goal. Keep moving forward, one step at a time, and you will make huge amounts of progress toward your goals over the weeks and months.

7. Surround yourself with people doing what you want to do

This is quite possibly my favorite lifehack of all time. The people you surround yourself with make a huge difference in how you live your life. Spend time with people who encourage, inspire, and challenge you to be your best and to achieve your big goals.

It’s time to make 2016 the year you finally get what you want. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Near the top of Ptarmigan Peak. Chugach Mountains, Alaska/Paxson Woelber via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques

How to Take Notes: 3 Effective Note-Taking Techniques

Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes effectively.

I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

What to Write Down

Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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1. Dates of Events

Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

2. Names of People

Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

3. Theories or Frameworks

Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

4. Definitions

Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

5. Arguments and Debates

Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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6. Images

Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

7. Other Stuff

Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

8. Your Own Questions

Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

1. Outlining

Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

2. Mind-Mapping

For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

Here’s the idea:

In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

3. The Cornell System

The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

The Bottom Line

I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

More Note-Taking Tips

Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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