How To Get What You Really Want (Hint: Your Mom Was Right All Along)

How to get what you really want. Hint: Your mom was right all along!


Hello there, friend! Today we’re taking a fresh look at all those Mom-isms our mothers used to say on a regular basis. And if you’re a mom now, you might have heard yourself utter these phrases a time or two.

Turns out, Mom knew what she was talking about…in more ways than one. So without further ado…I give you, Mom’s Advice for How to Make Your Dreams Come True:

Adjust Your Attitude, Missy.

Be okay with where you are right now. I meet a lot of people who have plenty of goals and dreams. Or maybe they’re not dreams, maybe they want to heal, or be somewhere else emotionally, or find a loving relationship. Those are fantastic goals, but the truth is, sometimes it may feel like they’re really far away from making those dreams a reality.

But instead of focusing on how awful “right now” is, try focusing on what you want and how you’re going to change your path to start moving in that direction. Also, take honest stock of your life and remind yourself of your many blessings. Be grateful for the many things that are going well in your life.

Changing your overall mindset will help you minimize pity parties. Trust me, you’ll get tired of hearing yourself complain about the same old problems. And when was the last time that complaining changed anything in your life?

  • Try keeping a short Goals & Gratitude Journal – keep a brief daily log of what you want, coupled with what you already have (just a few lines or bullet points will do) to remind yourself of (1) where you’re going and (2) how blessed you are to be where you are right now.


Are You Sure About That?

Do you know why you want the things you want? Maybe you’ve done the hard work of asking yourself what you want out of life–which, by the way, many people never do, so congratulations to you!–but do you understand why you want it? What is it about that particular dream that’s so important to you?

Why do you want to go back to school? Why do you want to take a vacation to Tahiti? Why do you want to redecorate your living room? What will you get other than the immediate gratification of something or somewhere new?

If you want to ensure your success, you need to dig a little deeper to the central desire– the Core Need–that’s driving your dream. Do you want approval? Peace? Passion? Freedom? Relaxation? When you can identify the Core Need behind your goal, the next step is to find ways to meet that need in small increments to keep you satisfied, but motivated to keep pressing forward to the big goal.

For example, if the vacation you dream about really represents your Core Need for freedom, how can you find ways to experience freedom right now? Could you treat yourself to a night out without the kids? A latte and a good book, instead of laundry and cooking? The big goal is not the problem. The deeper “why” is what we’re really craving, so if you can find a way to meet that Core Need, you’ll be motivated to continue towards the big, beautiful goal that may feel so far away.

  • Write down your biggest dream. Then keep asking yourself why you want it until you get to a Core Need. Brainstorm three ways you could meet that need in a smaller way until you reach your big goal.


Clean Up Your Room.

From your physical environment to your chosen relationships, atmosphere can greatly affect your motivation and clarity. If you surround yourself with Ugly (in things, spaces or even people), you’ll experience Ugly on a regular basis. Again, what small changes can you make to incorporate more beauty and inspiration to your life?

Once I read a story about an artist who spent his entire life painting a single leaf on the wall of his home. People couldn’t understand why he would spend so much time, take such painstaking effort to paint a single leaf. He told them he had a vision of the most beautiful tree in the world – that painting the tree was his ultimate goal – but the tree was so stunningly beautiful, so awe-inspiring, that he couldn’t contemplate painting the entire thing until he could at least get that leaf just right. At times, he’d grow frustrated and paint over the whole thing so he could start over, but he never gave up.

When he died, the artist had still only painted one single leaf of the visionary tree, but he was satisfied. It was a perfect replication of a leaf from the tree from his vision. He had done it right. Some people claimed he’d lived a sad life, wasted on that solitary leaf. Indeed, when the artist found himself in heaven, he burst into a flood of tears. But he wasn’t weeping in frustration or disappointment. No, the artist was overjoyed to find, not only the leaf that he’d been trying so hard to recreate, but the entire, glorious tree standing there in heaven in all it’s beauty. Here was his vision come to life! And he counted himself privileged to bring a piece of that heavenly perfection to earth. What some saw as a wasted existence was actually a life spent in pursuit of Beauty.

While cleaning up your kitchen counters may not feel much like bringing heaven to earth, it can help you stay motivated on your fulfillment journey. It’s much easier to make progress towards your goals when you see glimpses of the full-fledged dream all around you.

  • Find time this week to finally clean out that junk drawer or run a vacuum over your crumb-covered floors of your van. And while you’re at it, take a break from that negative friend who’s always dragging you down. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to surround yourself with Beauty instead of Ugly.


Say You’re Sorry.

Take a good look at the relationships in your life. How have you been treating your loved ones? Just like you did when you were 5 years old, apologize for the times that your attitude has negatively affected the people you love.

Did you yell at your kids because you were stressed? Tell them you’re sorry.

Did you give your husband the cold shoulder when he didn’t support you the way you wanted? He is responsible for his actions, but by the same token, you are responsible for yours. Apologize for your side.

Clearing the slate on your side of a disagreement will set your mind free as well as your heart. Whether you realize it or not, you’re carrying around a heavy bag of guilt for all the times you acted like a crazy person. Let go of that burden with a sincere apology and see how much more clarity, creativity, and energy you experience.

  • Think back through your week. Is there anyone you should apologize to? Any guilt dragging you down? Take 5 minutes to make it right and then leave it in the past.


Live and Let Live.

Holding on to resentment only punishes you. So be quick to forgive the people who hurt you in life. Even if they don’t apologize or realize that they hurt you, you have the power to forgive them. Love yourself enough to know you can’t change the past. And neither can they.

Assume good intentions at all times. One of the core truths about humanity is that no one intends to sabotage their own lives or relationships. Don’t get me wrong. Other people may hurt you intentionally (though often this is not the case), but it’s not because they truly want damage you. Usually, it’s just that they don’t have the tools or self-control to handle their own disappointments and frustrations in a healthy way. It’s not really about you, so you have no reason to hang on to your anger anyway. Take pride in your ability to take the high road and strive to be the first to forgive in all circumstances. If nothing else, you’ll remind yourself that nothing is really impossible…not even forgiving the unforgivable.

  • If there’s anyone you’re harboring resentment towards (no matter how much they deserve it), take a minute today to truly forgive them. And realize this may not be a one-time fix. You may have to forgive that person again—and again—but the peace and freedom you’ll gain through forgiveness will be well worth the effort.


Take Out the Trash.

Honest self-evaluation is critical to achieving any kind of life dream. No one else is responsible for how your life turns out. You have tremendous power over your daily happiness, your progress towards your goals, and your behavior towards other people.

Don’t ever stop asking yourself the hard questions. Are you still moving towards the life you want? If not, it’s time to bag up your destructive thoughts and behaviors and make a fresh start.

  • The next time you’re in the shower or driving by yourself, honestly evaluate your life as it stands right now. Are there some bad habits you need to kick to the curb? Have you let laziness, distraction, or over-indulgence keep you from progressing towards your goals? Is your attitude uplifting or unpleasant? If you start picking up a whiff of “something rotten” in your heart, don’t hesitate. Take out the trash and face tomorrow with a new outlook.

Ah, good old Mom. She always been so wise..even before we knew enough to listen to her. But it’s never too late to start, right? So get to work little lady, and don’t let me hear any belly-aching.

I’ll leave you with a few more of my favorite Mom-isms that need no intepretation…

You can do anything you set your mind to.

I’ll always believe in you.

Go get ’em, Tiger!

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