Lets take some time to consider our wants. Wants can be as simple as an urge, “I want that cookie”. Or they can be deep and meaningful such as “I want life to have purpose”. You know that humans are wired to have wants, and once we meet our basic needs of food, water, clothing, sleep and shelter we begin to want other things.
Unfortunately, many of us have a very hard time discovering our deepest wants. The question “What do you want?” often stops us in our tracks with, “I don’t know”, and “I don’t know” keeps us stuck.
When we’re stuck not knowing what we want, our primitive brains decide for us. It’s easier because it’s automatic. We make decisions about a job, friend, food, activity, and purchase on a whim based on a current urge. Life goes on and we do okay, but we believe there is something missing.
So, lets discover what you truly want. A wonderful place to start, is with gratitude for what you have already.
Make a want list. Write down all the things that you want, which you already have.
They can be objects, beliefs, feelings; Anything at all. Don’t limit yourself to small things or big things. Example: I want a nice pen to write with, and I have one on my desk in front of me.
Keep writing until you can’t come up with any more. Let yourself feel the WANTING for the things you already have. The result is true gratitude and it feels wonderful. Do this exercise often to have a feeling of abundance in your life.
What do you want that you already have?
For me, I want: A loving husband; children; good health; an income; dogs; cats; electronics; food in the refrigerator; A decent car; a place to walk; A shower with hot water; Hugs; A journal to write in; A computer; Lots of books; and I HAVE them!
This exercise will ground you on where you are honoring your wants and can help point you towards what’s important to you. You have these things for a reason, and feeling gratitude for them will help you see what’s important to you deep down. Allow yourself to see your desires without judgement, and with appreciation for what you have accomplished.
What else do you want?
Next, make a list of things you want that you don’t yet have. They can be small things or big things. Do NOT limit yourself. Don’t edit the list if your brain tells you the things aren’t possible. Don’t let your brain prevent you from writing it down if you think “it’s silly”.
All we’re doing is writing them on a piece of paper. Just list the wants that come up and keep writing until you can’t come up with any more. What do you want to have around you? To do at work? To do when you retire? To have for your family? For yourself? keep going.
(some of mine? – I want a new pair of sneakers and a new pair of jeans; Another cup of coffee; A horse; To help people find peace and joy in their lives (that’s you). I want to live in the moment; and a tribe to help me. To retire with enough money so that my children don’t have to support me later. To have enough money to help my kids graduate from college debt-free. )
Now go back and highlight the wants on both lists that you think make your life amazing when you have them.
Regularly ask yourself “What do I truly want?”
Finally: As you go through life you will be faced with many decisions. This want exercise can help you clarify your wants, and will help you make those decisions from your executive brain (not your primitive brain). If you have a decision you are making, look back at the two lists you just created and ask yourself. “What do I want?” and from this point forward you are not allowed to say “I don’t know”.
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