What would you say if we were sitting down chatting over coffee and I said to you, “What do you want?”

If you’re like most people, you’d probably start stumbling over your words, struggling to give me an answer. Do you know why that is? I believe it’s because the honest truth is, you want it all.

It’s true, isn’t it? You want unlimited earning potential, you want eight weeks off every summer, and you only want to work Tuesday through Thursday, 9am until noon. When I ask you want you want, you struggle to give me an answer because you’re worried you’ll jinx yourself if you leave something out and you’ll never end up getting it.

I’m willing to bet, however, that if instead of asking you what you want, I asked you what you do not want that you’d have absolutely no problem giving me a long list of answers: you don’t want to work weekends, you don’t want to work evenings, you don’t want to have to commute more than an hour, and so on and so forth.

It’s interesting to me that most people want to move away from their pain, but they don’t really know what they’re moving towards.

In order to get what you want, you have to identify what you’re willing to do to get it, what you’re not willing to do, and also what you’re willing to give up for it.

Get yourself a piece of paper and make three columns.

Let’s say what you want is to lose thirty pounds. Write that goal on the top of your page. In the first column, write down the things you’re willing to do to reach that goal: go to the gym three days a week, hire a trainer, go on a diet, etc. In the next column, write down the things you’re not willing to do: you don’t want to give up alcohol, you don’t want to give up sleep, you won’t give up cream or sugar in your morning coffee, and so forth.

In the third column, after looking at what you’re willing to do and what you’re not willing to do, write down what you’re willing to trade. For example, in order to fit your desired three gym visits per week around your work schedule, you might have to give up sleep after all which means trading sleep in order to go to the gym.

This exercise will help you create a sustainable plan that will help you reach your goal. Have you seen the Walt Disney classic, Alice in Wonderland?

Try to picture the following scene where Alice approaches the Cheshire Cat and says to him, “Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?”

The Cheshire Cat says, “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”

“I don’t much care where,” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the cat.

Alice responds with, “So long as I get somewhere.”

To which the Cat replies, “Oh, you’re sure to do that if you only walk long enough.”

In other words, if you don’t know where you’re going, all you have to do is walk around and you’ll get there.

Now, what are you willing to trade to get what you want?

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