Autism and Being Happy Part 3 – Achieving The Things You Want in Life

Figuring Out What You Desire

Sometimes the things we want to achieve in life are easy and obvious.  Other times they aren’t.  In addition to this, when we finally get the things we want in life, there are many times when it doesn’t turn out the way we expected it to be.  In fact, I would say for most people with high functioning Autism/Asperger’s, the things we wish for always turn out to be different to our expectations.  Not always bad, just different.  

There is a very old and common saying which says “be careful what you wish for, as you might get it”. So it’s really worth making sure the thing you want is something you really need, and you will enjoy it as much as you expected.  Ask yourself questions like “why do I want this so much?” and “Will have be happy when I get this, or will I want more?”  Also visualise yourself having the thing you want and pay attention to how you feel when you have it.  Is it worth the effort required?

Start with a Solid Platform 

When aspiring to achieve more in life you need to be grateful, content or happy with what you have already got.  If you are not currently happy with all that you have achieved in life, the chances are you will not be happy in the future.  For example, you might think to yourself “Once I pass my driving test and own a car I will finally be happy, as I can go wherever I want and have full independence.”  But there are downsides that you may not have considered, such as: the cost of insurance, repairs, depreciation, having to buy a new car to replace the old, other people depending on you for lifts or having a long commute each day.  

Once you’re happy, grateful and thankful for everything you have got, then try to build on this a little. If you feel life has been unfair or unkind (which to be honest if you have Autism/Asperger’s you would have to be extremely fortunate to have been treated fairly and kindly) you need to let go of that past and be happy with where you are now.  If you don’t, life will pull you down and you will be on a negative spiral instead of the positive spiral you should be on.  The chances are you have had to battle hard to achieve what you have done, so celebrate it rather than looking at all the negatives and the what could have been scenarios.  Remember it is impossible to change the past.  This phrase is said so often it loses its meaning.  It really is impossible.  You can dwell on it a little and think about what you could have done in order to shape your future.  But really, in order to achieve happiness and success, you have to leave the past behind and forgive and forget everything that went before.  You have to enjoy the present time.  Then think about what you want in the future so you can move yourself towards that goal with each passing moment.

Setting Goals

Setting goals sounds a bit boring and a waste of time but believe me, all successful people do this all the time.  You really have to think about what you want, and then set this as a goal.  Try and be very clear about it.  Make sure the goal is realistic for yourself (for example a goal to make a million pounds/dollars in the next year, is probably unrealistic for most of us).  It needs to be something you yourself could achieve (but on the flip side, do not be too negative on yourself as Aspies like us often are).  Then set a time limit for when you want to reach that goal (such as by the end of 2020).  Examples of goals could be:

  • Own my own home in the next 3 years
  • Pay off my mortgages in 5 years
  • Own my own business
  • Pass my driving test
  • Be in a loving relationship
  • Get a job

Setting targets

Once you have a clear goal in mind you can start to work towards achieving it.  But goals are very big things to achieve.  Often so big our mind cannot even begin to contemplate how we are going to achieve them.  Setting a goal is important but is only the beginning.  You always need to break the big goal down into smaller goals called targets.  These targets will be the things that you can achieve one at a time, and they will gradually enable you to complete your goal easily.  It is always best to write your goal down.  Always think about how you will feel when you have accomplished that goal. Then imagine yourself in the future with the goal completed.  It gives you the extra motivation you will need to achieve it.  Then write down the steps/targets you need to make the goal a reality.  Like the big goal, it is always the best idea to give yourself a time limit.  This will give you the motivation to get the targets done in a timely fashion, enabling you to meet your main goal in a reasonable time frame.

Example of a Goal and Targets

Goal: To Own Your Own Car

Targets:

  • Set a budget for how much you can reasonable save/afford for the car.  For example, £4,000
  • Research the best used car for that money by looking at reviews.  Taking into consideration if you will personally like the looks of the car and it is the right size for your needs.  Making sure it is from a trustworthy seller. 
  • Work out the amount of money you can save each month to put towards the car.  For example, if you can save £200 per month, you will be able to buy the car in 20 months (which is just over a year and a half).
  • Start saving that amount each month and put any extra money towards it.  Perhaps you can do extra work over summer or get a Christmas job, if you’re a student.
  • Then you should be able to buy the car.

It is always a good idea to tick of the targets as you achieve them, as this gives you an increased level of motivation and satisfaction.  Often the things we want in life need to be clarified in our minds and setting goals and targets does this.  It is well known that once you do this, you will be much more in tune to achieving this goal.  Your mind will start to pick out things that you did not notice before.  For example, you may hear a conversation in the background that you would have completely ignored before.  This conversation could hold key information required for you to achieve your goal.  Helping you along your way.  It sounds strange but we all receive millions of pieces of information each day.  We only take on board what we think we need at the time and disregard everything else.  We just cannot store everything.  I have set many goals in the past and been absolutely shocked by the opportunities I have come across in conversations that I would usually filter out and ignore.

Being happy in life often means setting out to achieve certain things, and then accomplishing them.  The more you do this, the more successful you will be become and the more you will achieve.  It is not the easiest path in life, and some goals will be very hard to achieve, but the best path is not always the easiest.  You will usually get the best rewards for your hard work and effort. Which will in turn increase your confidence and self-esteem to a much higher level.  You have nothing to lose by giving it a try 🙂

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