How to Define What You Want in 4 Easy Steps

By Olessia Kantor

“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it’s worth watching.” – Unknown

A few days ago, my daughters’ school held a special day where the kids were to come in dressed as what they want to be when they grow up. I loved the idea and was excited to hear what my girls were interested in. I was elated to see that they are indeed their mother’s daughters. They came barrelling at me with idea after idea. I couldn’t help but beam with pride. I remember having so many ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up: a reporter, a writer, a mother, and more. My reminiscing was cut short by one of my daughters asking me a question. “How do I pick just one thing to be?”

My answer to her was that she could be as many things as she wanted, and eventually each of them settled on one idea.

My mind lingered on the question. As we get older, we lose track of all the things we once wanted. We spend time looking back, wondering if we took the wrong road, wondering if it’s too late to go elsewhere. While these are questions you cannot answer without a great deal of introspection, I did manage to figure out the process to get there. Here are my tips for how to define your truest desires.

How to Define What You Want in 4 Easy Steps

1. Definitions for what qualifies as a desire

If you ask yourself this question and find yourself with a list of things in front of you, you’re in the wrong mindset. The goal here is to tap into your ambitions, your dreams, not material items that can come and go regardless of what track your life seems to be on. Along with casting aside material wants, you should cast aside your feelings of obligation. Don’t pick the things that you feel you should pick because of an obligation to anyone. A powerful desire cannot be driven by outside forces.

2. Recognize that you can be successful and unfulfilled

A common mistake is believing that by having all the signifiers of success, we are successful and that successful people are fulfilled. Why change your aims when you’re crushing goal after goal, meeting every benchmark in your way? Because all of the success and accolades in the world will still leave you empty if you aren’t fulfilling your heart’s desires.

3. Get ready to ask yourself a lot of questions!

You’re going to need to dedicate serious time to introspection, as the answer is often not immediately apparent. Start by asking yourself what you are trying to feel by seeking out these desires. If you’ve noticed yourself picking up a quality you aren’t proud of, delve further. Jealousy, for example, can show you things you desire to have in your life but feel you cannot or should not for a certain reason. Furthermore, make note of how long you’ve desired something or felt some way. In that, you’ll notice what seems like more of a temporary desire and what’s something you’ve held in your heart for some time.

4. Keep your ultimate goal in mind

As you ask yourself introspective questions, keep in mind that the answer spans far beyond a goal or an idea. With chasing your heart’s desires, you are chasing a specific feeling. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself why that is. You are going after something that will complete a void that’s been long ignored. What’s been keeping you from getting there, and is it something that can keep you from other things in the future?

Discovering your truest desires will do more than just alert you to how your goals need to change.  It will help you escape some of the negative feelings that bog you down in your day to day life. If you’re feeling like you’re at a crossroads, this can prove to be insightful.

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