How To Get What You Want in Life (3 Practical Steps)

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How To Get What You Want in Life (3 Practical Steps)

How can you get what you want out of life?

Maybe you want to be a best-selling author. Maybe you want to travel the world with your family. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to become a Hollywood actress.

Or maybe you just want to try out a lot of different things… to figure out what you do and don’t enjoy.

Whatever it is, there’s a big difference between knowing what you want and knowing how to get what you want.

So what’s the first step?

What’s the second step?

And how do you know if you’re making real progress or not?

That’s what we’re going to cover in this article — let’s get started.

Step 1. Learn To Manage Your Fear

When you don’t want anything more than video games, television, and a comfy couch, what is there to be afraid of?

Nothing really…

Now that you want to chase your dreams, become the best that you can be, and make a real impact, you’re afraid…

What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t do it? What if I never accomplish my dreams?

The prospect of not fulfilling what you’ve set out to accomplish — or worse, finding yourself inadequate to do so — is terrifying.

But it’s also normal. Moreover, it’s a natural part of getting what you want.

Everyone talks about successful people who had to overcome failure… but what about the fear they experienced? How did they overcome the fear of failure?

It’s easy to imagine history’s greats as having never experienced the fear of inadequacy or the fear of not accomplishing what they set out to accomplish — that somehow, they went from failure to failure without ever losing enthusiasm.

And to some degree, that’s true.

Winston Churchill once said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill Quote | Get Your Gusto Back

After all, if history’s greats had given up because of the fear they experienced or the failures that crippled them, we wouldn’t know their names today.

Still, those people did experience fear and they did have moments of doubt, just like you and me.

But they also had strategies for managing that fear, overcoming setbacks, and getting back on the damn horse… every single time, until they’d achieved what they set out to achieve.

How did they do it?

In the same way that anyone accomplishes anything of significance: by asking the right questions.

How To Eliminate The Fear Of Failure (Ask Better Questions)

Humans think to themselves or entertain self-talk in a question-and-answer format.

Think about it.

Why do I keep biting my nails? That’s so frustrating.

Why is my wife talking to me like that? She must not appreciate me.

I wonder how I can get in better shape? Man… some people just have it so easy. I was raised eating unhealthy foods.

I wonder why some people are so successful but I’m not. What’s wrong with me? Something is DEFINITELY wrong with me.

On and on it goes.

That is the reason you experience so much fear of inadequacy or of never accomplishing what you want to accomplish — because your self-talk is actively trying to make you afraid with disempowering questions and answers.

And since most of us believe that our thoughts prove our identity — that is, we are our thoughts — we unknowingly entertain an assumption that we can’t change the way we think…

…that we are stuck.

We assume that we are simply a byproduct of our controlling, manipulative self-talk, and the best we can do is try to ignore that negativity every once in a while.

(Descartes famously proposed the philosophy, “I think, therefore I am,” as a way to prove one’s own existence and Western culture has almost entirely adopted this philosophy)

But that’s not true.

In fact, YOU have total control over your thoughts.

This is something that the greats of history and your most successful friends all know — they have control over their thoughts, which means that they can, on a whim, change the way they perceive something, the way they feel, and even the way they behave.

After all, the way you think automatically determines everything else — how you feel and how you act.

What if YOU had this super-power? What if YOU could, on command, change your thoughts, and by so doing, change… well, your entire life for the better?

Wouldn’t that be a total game-changer?

Here’s my “quick-start guide” to changing the way you think, the way you feel, and the way you behave (then, once you’ve got your thoughts under control, we’ll dive into steps 2 and 3 where you’ll create a detailed action plan).

Change Internal Self-Talk | Get Your Gusto Back

Once you’ve learned that your fear of failure is just a negative thought pattern and that it can be changed, you’ll be better equipped to hit your goals and achieve what you’re setting out to achieve. Rather than letting fear defeat you, you can use it as a reminder that you’re heading in the right direction, that you’re doing something significant. With enough practice, you’ll even be able to interpret that fear as excitement or anticipation for what you’re about to do!

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Now, it’s time to get practical.

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A Quick (But IMPORTANT) Introduction To Steps 2 and 3

In preparation for this article, I wanted to interview someone who is mind-blowing good at setting goals, achieving those goals, and getting massive long-term results.

Jacob McMillen immediately came to mind. He’s been a close friend of mine for about three years now since we both operate in the freelance writing world.

Jacob consistently astonishes me — it seems like everything he sets out to do (build a business, lose weight, learn to make great coffee, etc), he does with diligence, intentionality, a plan, and he almost always accomplishes his goal.

So I hopped on a call and said, “Alright, Jacob. Imagine that someone knows exactly what they want to do with their life. They can see it. They can feel it. But how do they actually create a plan and get it?”

I didn’t really get his response at first: “Well, they have to understand their macros and their micros.”

“What do you mean by that?” I said.

He responded, “So for example, when I wanted to lose weight, I knew the macro steps; eat less, exercise more. But I didn’t know the micro steps, the granular day-to-day actions I would need to take to actually get results. When I found an article with a detailed weight-loss plan, the pieces just fell into place and I was able to accomplish my weight-loss goals.”

(In case you’re wondering, this is the weight-loss article that Jacob was referring to)

That blew my mind… and the more I thought about my own life, the more I realized that, yeah, understanding your macros and your micros IS the answer.

So here’s the follow-up process I used to determine my macro strategy and my micro tactics — steal it. 🙂

Step 2. Create Your High-Level MACRO Strategy

The first step to creating your easy-to-achieve action plan is to map out and understand your macro strategy.

These are the high-level things that need to happen in order for you to reach your goals.

For example, a friend of mine recently told me that he has a dream of becoming a music producer.

I asked him, “How would you do that?” and he said, “Well, it’s really difficult in today’s world.” So I clarified: “What would be the high level steps you’d need to accomplish to pull that off?” I could see his wheels start to turn.

He said, “Well, I’d need to get a better laptop — probably a Mac — so that I could start producing my own music. And then I’d need to build an audience of people who like my stuff. If I could get that audience big enough, then I’d be able to make good money on iTunes or maybe Buzzsprout.”

It’s amazing how asking ourselves the right questions can unlock our creativity, isn’t it?

And that’s what I’m going to ask YOU now: if you were going to accomplish what you want to accomplish, what are the high-level steps to making it happen?

Most things can be broken down into at least 3 high-level steps.

Let’s pretend that you want to make a living writing fiction books. To start, the three highest steps include…

Build a Loyal Audience —> Get a Book Proposal Accepted —> Sell Books

The steps that you come up with will largely depend on how much you already know about the topic — if you know next to nothing about the book publishing process, then you might assume that the high-level steps you need to take are…

Write a Book —> Pitch The Book to Publishing Houses —> Get Accepted


Write a Book —> Self-Publish —> Get People to Purchase

But that’s not right — those macro plans are actually a few steps ahead if you’re just getting started.

(I know because I’ve talked with people who’ve written best-selling books)

When you’re brand new to something, it’s really easy to oversimplify your macros.

This is where doing some research is really important. Before you come up with your macro strategy, I HIGHLY recommend reaching out to people who’ve done what you’re trying to do and asking them, “What are the first three steps to doing X?” You’ll be shocked at how much you learn just by doing that.

You can also search in Google or purchase a book to learn how people have done what you’re trying to do.

Once you’ve educated yourself, start by outlining your 3 highest level steps. Let’s go back to the book example…

Build a Loyal Audience —> Get a Book Proposal Accepted —> Sell Books

Then, choose the most logical step to get started on right away — in this case, that’s probably building an audience (because an existing audience makes it way easier to get a book proposal accepted).

Build a Loyal Audience

Next, we want to turn just that step into 3-5 high-level macro steps (but keep your larger vision in mind as well). This might require further research. Here’s an example…

Choose a Platform For Building My Audience —> Create Consistent Content —> Set a Goal For Audience Growth

From there, we can go ahead and create our micro action plan!

The key here is to find your starting place — most people never start because they’re overwhelmed by all the things they’re going to have to do to accomplish their goals.

But I’ve found this process to be really powerful for making me feel unstuck.

As time goes on and you make tangible progress toward your goals, the macro that you’re working on will change (that’s good!) — you’ll go from working on building your audience to creating your book proposal to writing and then marketing your book!

But remember… first step first. 😉

Now, it’s time to move on to creating your day-to-day action plan.

Step 3. Create Your Weekly MICRO Action Plan

By this point, you know how to overcome the fear of failure (by asking yourself more empowering questions) and you know how to create your high-level strategy.

But what about… well, your low-level action plan? What about the tasks that you need to do today, tomorrow, and next week in order to actually accomplish your high-level gameplan?

That’s what I call your micro action plan.

Remember the example from Step 2? Let’s keep running with that. Here’s where we ended…

Choose a Platform For Building My Audience —> Create Consistent Content —> Set a Goal For Audience Growth

So, with this example, the first thing on your to-do list should be choosing a platform to build your audience on. But that’s just a one-time thing, same as “Set a Goal For Audience Growth.” But some of your other macros (like “Create Consistent Content”) will require consistent action-taking.

This illustrates the importance of keeping your micro weekly action plan or to-do list flexible. Some tasks will come and go, others will stay there forever.

You need to be sensitive to which macros you’re currently working on and which tasks for accomplishing those macros are the most important at any given time.

Remember, all of these tasks fall under the umbrella of…

Build a Loyal Audience

When you’re creating your micros, keep your macro in mind or you might get off course down the road and lose sight of your long-term vision.

After I’ve chosen a platform and set a goal for audience growth, my weekly micro action plan for building an audience might look something like this (based on what I already know about building an audience)…

  1. Publish one new piece of content every day.
  2. Measure each content’s performance in a spreadsheet to determine what works best.
  3. Interact with my follower’s posts for 15 minutes per day.

Your list might be longer or altogether different than mine because you’re a different person with different ideas.

That’s okay.

The point here is to discover what works for you… what’s sustainable for you.

Which brings up my next point: some of the stuff on your action plan is going to work tremendously well… and some of it isn’t.

That’s why your action plan should remain flexible.

Here are some tips for adapting your action plan as needed.

  • Delegate Things That Work… But Are Draining — You’ll probably come across a few strategies that work really well to accomplish your goals, but that are pure drudgery for you. To avoid burnout, consider hiring a virtual assistant on UpWork who can help you tackle menial tasks (I found an amazing VA on UpWork that I pay $6 per hour).
  • Remove Stuff That Doesn’t Work — If something isn’t helping you accomplish your goals, get rid of it.
    • The only time that you should keep doing something that isn’t getting results is if it’s something that brings you a lot of joy and you expect will benefit you over the long-run.
  • Tap Into Your Ingenuity — Get creative! You don’t always have to do what everyone else is doing and you definitely don’t have to do the first thing that comes to mind. If something is burning you out, it might just be an indication that you’re not making the most of your strengths. Your brain has incredible processing power; use it to look at your goal in a new way. Could you do something that no one’s ever done before? How might you specifically be able to accomplish your goal in a way that’s sustainable and fun?

In the end, your macro and micro plan should look something like this…

Achievement Funnel | Get Your Gusto Back

Final Word: Remember To Stay Flexible!

You now have a plan to follow. You know what your MACROs and your MICROs are for making real progress and achieving what you want to achieve.

Pretty cool, huh?

But before you go, I want to remind you about how important it will be along your journey to stay flexible and to adapt as needed.

Some stuff you wrote down will work… some of it won’t. Some stuff will resonate with you for a long time… other stuff won’t. So don’t be afraid to adapt your vision and your tactics as needed.

That’s an important part of the process. 🙂

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Create a more meaningful life in just 30 days.

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Mike Blankenship

Mike is the founder of Get Your Gusto Back. He has a passion for traveling, he LOVES to write, and he’s been mentioned in Forbes and Entrepreneur for his expertise as a marketer and personal-development expert. He currently lives in Hawaii with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

1 thought on “How To Get What You Want in Life (3 Practical Steps)”

  1. Excellent reminder. The Macros and Mirco action plans make absolute sense. I probably need to start delegating some work to UpWork so I can focus on the more important stuff.

    I have a lot of fears but I’ll learn to ask better questions.

    “A person is limited only by the thoughts that he chooses.” – James Allen


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