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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

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

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

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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