What Do You Really Want? How to Determine What You Really Want


What do you want? If you do not clearly identify your needs and wants, you cannot possibly know where to start. Although it is easier to clarify what you do not want, you also need to really know what you do want.

Making lists is a really great method of doing this. Present, short-term, and long-term wants and needs should be added to the list. Also, add what you are sure you do not want. This method will help you get clear about what you do and do not want out of your job, relationships, and life in general. After you have established a precedent, you can then go about achieving those needs and wants. After you make your list(s), it helps to make a plan and stick with it in order to achieve your goals. This article will walk you through the steps of finding out what you want and taking steps to achieve and accomplish your goals.

Use a List If It Helps

Making lists to discover what you want and do not want is not a new concept. People have been using this method for decades to achieve their goals and realize their dream jobs, personal happiness, or satisfying relationships. Most good books on finding the right life partner will tell you to make a solid, clear list before you even begin to date.

Making lists is a fine way of mapping out what you want now and in the future. There are many ways of doing this. Below are some ideas for you to try. First, purchase a good notebook or legal pad and set it aside for your lists. Then think of headings for your list and write what you want and need below the headings. Below are some suggestions and examples:

Personal Life

Work Life

A good relationship

A raise

To go out more and make new friends

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For my boss to appreciate me more

Learn a language

To get along better with Mary in marketing

Learn to ski

A bigger office

To get in better shape physically

A promotion

The above list is very broad and general. Later, once you have written down your broad wants and needs, you should then break down the list into smaller, more detailed and more manageable chunks. For instance, if you are not in a relationship and want one, you should make a separate list for that. Add to the list what you want and do not want from the relationship. Write your must-haves, things that are negotiable, and your deal-breakers. Then, as you date and seek out the companion you want, run the list through your head. If a date has a deal-breaker characteristic, then do not have a second date with that person. Likewise, with work issues, write one goal down and break it into more detailed form. If it is a raise you are after, write down how much, by when, and what you might do to get a raise. Keep doing this with goals until you achieve them. A warning to the wise, though: It is important to remain flexible. If you are offered a promotion with a new title and office but a smaller raise than desired, it might be worth giving up your ideal raise in salary. If you meet a potential partner and he or she is everything you want and need in a person except for one deal-breaker on your list, such as following another religion, ask yourself how important that drawback is to you.

In addition to the lists you make for your general wants, needs, and goals, you also should make a list for present (I want this now), short-term (I want this within an X amount of months), and long-term (I want this within a year or X amount of years).

Getting Clear on Your Needs and Desires

Whenever you waver on your needs and desires, or when things shift and change, you need to get clear again. The list method really works, but you will need to re-evaluate it and adjust the items from time to time as your life shifts and changes. For instance, a woman may have wanted to travel the world with her husband, but she just found out she is pregnant. In that case, she may need to adjust her plans and make it a trip to Europe instead. Life happens, so we all need to adjust our goals, needs, and desires accordingly. The important thing is to always remain clear.

Achieving Your Needs and Desires

Once you have a good idea of what you want, it is important to follow through. That is where asserting yourself comes in. Use your assertiveness techniques to make your wants and needs happen. For instance, you want a raise at work, but you are not sure what your boss wants from you in order to give you one. Make an appointment with your boss to discuss it. Sit down and take notes and ask him or her what you can do to achieve your goal.

Writing a note on the side of your lists of how and where you can assert yourself to make your dreams come true helps a lot. Next to each want and need write what you can do to make it happen. Then do it.

Making a Plan

Once you have done your homework, make a plan. If your boss says, "You need to get XYZ certification; learn Spanish; take a course on HTML coding, etc., set a plan in motion to accomplish those goals. Where can you take the needed course? Will your company pay for it? Can you take it online? When is enrollment? Then, sign up for and do well in the course or whatever endeavor you have to undertake to get the raise. Set a clear deadline for yourself to do so. When you have completed those goals, go back to your boss and ask for the raise based on achieving whatever requirement he or she has given you. Do this with all of your goals.


You must get clear on your wants, needs, and goals before you can ask others to accommodate them. Make lists, adjust lists, find out how to get what you want and need. Make plans for getting what you want and need. Follow through and make clear deadlines for yourself. Use your assertiveness to get what you want and need or to find out how you can get those things. Remember to be flexible because life happens.