The Journey Principles Institute exists because we believe that everyone can and should have a better life. We believe that everyone has the power to make a better life for themselves. It happens when they start thinking differently – with responsibility, positivity, and self-awareness. That’s what it takes to get what you want.
3 Principles to Get What You Want Out of Life
In this post we’ll give you a seven step strategy to accelerate you towards a better life. The strategy will focus on creating self-awareness, because I believe this is the #1 block for most people. No one can sabotage your life quite like you.
In high school I was already searching for a better life. I was dissatisfied all the time and craved traction. Even then I was smart enough to realize I lacked wisdom, so I was reading a lot of books and listening to one self-help guru after another. Still, I wasn’t getting anywhere.
Then I got some key revelation from an unexpected source. My then-girlfriend’s mother, of all people, saw me where I was and gave me three principles I’ll never forget. As you walk through the 7 steps to get what you want, keep the following 3 things in mind:
#1 – “If you don’t know yourself, no one else will either.”
You can’t elevate what you don’t understand. In order to reach your potential, you’ll need to discover what drives you, inspires you, and discourages you. Only after you know yourself can you set yourself up for success. Once you do that, you can start to thrive, your best self will start coming through to the world around you.
# 2- “Respond, Don’t React”
Part of self-awareness is moment-to-moment. It’s understanding how you’re feeling right now, in the midst of a situation or interaction. It’s so important to pay attention to yourself in every experience, particularly interactions with others. This will tell you a lot about yourself. Keep in mind that you can’t gather this information when you’re in a reactive state. You can’t be reactive and observant at the same time.
#3 – “Mentors Have Greater Perspective Than Our Memories”
Your past doesn’t define you. If you keep living from your negative experiences, you won’t change. To get to a better place, you have to think about where you want to go instead of the bad place you’ve been. Mentors help you do this, because they can be that picture for you. Everyone needs people who are further along to provide perspective and hope.
7 Steps to Get What You Want
Step 1 – Define Where You Are Now
It’s important to gauge where things stand now so that you can monitor your progress going forward. Unless you’re keeping track of your wins, you’ll likely lose heart. Moreover, defining where you are right now can help you define why you want things to change and what it would look like to get what you want. Finally, you’ll need to focus on one thing at a time in order to advance. There are likely several areas of your life that you want to improve, and focusing on more than one at a time can slow you down.
An important tool for this step is the 8 Pillars of Life. It simplifies life into eight primary components: Emotional, Spiritual, Relational, Financial, Professional, Physical, Impact, and Personal Development. I recommend grading each category on a scale of 1-10 and giving two or three pieces of evidence for your reasoning. This can help you determine where you need to focus first.
Step 2 – Consider How You Got Here
Identifying the real problem is crucial to creating lasting change.
To get what you want, you can’t afford to work hard on the wrong solution. This wastes time and energy. Moreover, you don’t want to be taken out by something you’re unaware of. The reality is that there are patterns of thought and behavior that have contributed to your less-than-ideal circumstances. Most of these patterns came from your upbringing and experiences.
In order to get a life you love, you’ll need to understand where you came from and be honest with yourself about what went wrong.
For instance, I was abandoned by my birth parents when I was a kid. This created a massive fear of abandonment in me, which caused constant feelings of neediness, suspicion, and anger. It also made me so afraid of failure that I never tried to succeed, choosing laziness instead. Eventually, I had to acknowledge that if I wanted to have a better life, I had to be willing to work harder.
Step 3 – Acknowledge Regular Roadblocks
Why is it important to know this? Because solutions are often hiding in the obstacle you’re facing (check out The Obstacle is the Way for more on this concept). Thinking about the people and events that hurt you is painful, but if it’s done to grow self-awareness, it can be powerful. You can start to identify the patterns that came from those experiences, and then you can break these patterns. For more on this, check out my post about how to change the way you think.
Step 4 – Visualize Where You Want to Go
As important as it is to identify your real obstacles, it’s the solutions you want to focus on. Once you identify the positive thing you want to happen, you’ll need to visualize it over and over again. When I say visualize, I mean to imagine with all of your senses, including your vision. Look for details and write them down. Elaborate to yourself constantly about what you would like to happen in your life and how that would feel. The more you work on your vision of where you want to go, the more obvious your next steps will be in getting what you want.
Step 5 – Identify Productive Routines and Habits
Getting what you want out of life will require certain skills, relationships, and resources. These will come from habits informed by principles and experiences that give you wisdom. As you define what a better life would mean for you, be sure to walk backwards until you have daily routines and practices that will lead to the result you want.
Step 6 – Follow 3 Routines Per Desired Outcome
Remember how I said to focus on one area of your life at a time? This stage is when that becomes the most important. You will need to develop routines and habits to get traction towards a life you love, and you can only form so many new routines and habits at a time. I recommend 3 routines for each desired outcome.
For instance, let’s say you decide that your financial pillar needs the most work to get what you want. You decide to increase your income by $100k per year within 2-3 years, then you’ll likely need to advance professionally. If you’re in a corporate environment and want to stay there, then a solution you could choose is to get an MBA. This could get you promoted to higher positions.
But to get your MBA, you’ll need to work nights and weekends. To have time to do this, you’ll likely need to change your habits. You’ll have to get used to reading instead of TV, and you’ll probably need a more regular sleep schedule to make the most of each day. In addition, you may need to listen to less music in the car and use that time to get work done or absorb new information that will help you succeed.
This isn’t the cleanest example, but you get the idea. All of these disciplines will take your energy, time, and commitment. You’ll only have so much of each, so choose your next desired outcome carefully.
Step 7 – Measure your Results and Make Adjustments
Not all of your desired outcomes will have a 2-3 year timeline. In fact, many of them won’t and shouldn’t. Regardless, as you go you’ll want to check in with yourself to make sure you’re following through and making progress towards the life you love. Sometimes there will be long stretches where you’ll be working hard and the results aren’t coming in. This is normal and part of every journey to a better life.
However, if you see inconsistencies or lack of follow-through in your routines, that means adjustments need to be made. For instance, if you consistently fail to wake up early, you may need to go to bed earlier. It could also mean that you’re simply not a morning person due to your chronotype and need to structure your days more around the afternoons and evenings to get the most out of yourself. Still, it could mean that you have too many new routines going on and need to cut one or two in order to follow through on your top 3.
The key in Step 7 is this: focus on your own consistency, not on the results you’re getting. Learn to celebrate effort and follow-through as victory in and of themselves. You will get what you want in due time – be patient and don’t give up!
Download the E Book 5 Principles for Personal Breakthrough
Healthy habits are based on healthy principles. This free E book contains principles that will help you form the right habits and routines to get what you want. It’s available for free, so you have nothing to lose!