Ask Miranda- How To Get What You Want

This week, a bunch of my readers asked me the same question:

“How do you stay motivated and in the mindset to get what it is you want?”

Well, instead of making this a video, I decided a list would be easiest in this case (and, to be honest, I suck at editing videos), so here it is:

I firmly believe that motivation comes in two forms: organization and self-confidence!


1. Create a To-do List
All too often, before I learned how to seriously organize my thoughts and ideas into actual plans, I would start a million things at the same time and never finish them, and so, the “list” was born. Mine range from day-to-day, basic tasks (usually a list of 3-4 things I need to work on), to big lists (i.e. college applications/book work) that I get through slowly. If the task of making a simple list seems daunting, try making your lists fashionable by getting a cute notebook here: May Designs.

2. Invest in a Planner
At one time, I was forced to use a planner every day in elementary/middle school meaning that at the end of the day/ class, we were required to write in our planners (agenda books then) each assignment for each section of the class. Sadly, this wasn’t exactly required in high school, so I stopped writing anything down. “I’ll remember this/that” was my most commonly used (and most regretful) statement throughout high school, and whilst I had (and still have) a pretty impressive ability to remember dates/appointments/life events, getting a planner provided me with a bit of a “cushion” in case I’m not exactly sure of a date. Again, if you’re interested in having a fashionable planner to motivate you, here is a list at great prices from Staples, or if you’re interested in spending a little more money than usual on a lasting product, here are some (SERIOUSLY) adorable options from my personal favorite, Kate Spade (here is where you can also find to-do lists and helpful tablets for $8-10).

3. A Little a Day
Divide your time into increments if your tasks are bigger. For example, since I have decided to prolong my book to the end of my journey at community college, I spend an hour (sometimes two, depending on the inspiration I’m feeling) writing a certain number of words and then stop, moving on to another thing. You’d be surprised how much you actually get done.

4. Check Things Off 
When making the to-do lists as suggested above, make sure to check off all your accomplishments, no matter how big or small. It truly is a liberating feeling knowing there is one less thing to worry about.

5. Space is Important 
The most beneficial thing I continue to do is clean my room. I’m the type of person who cannot have other people around when I’m cleaning because I like having it done before anyone gets home, which allows me to work on my own time, how I want. As luck would have it, I had the house to myself a few nights ago, so I utilized that alone time to really take inventory of the clothes/shoes/miscellaneous things that I don’t use anymore and throw them away or donate them. I decided to rid my filing cabinets of all the unimportant things, making sure to put the things I used most at the very top. I made sure that both my desks were as cleared off as possible, too, because I know that when school starts, I’ll need to make room for more binders and books. Once you figure out how you need to organize and where things should have their place, your room or office will feel like new, thus helping you feel like new as well.

Perhaps the biggest piece of advice I give to my readers/audience members is to work on yourself every day, little by little. So, now that you have the outside organized, it’s time for the biggest (and sometimes hardest) job of all: your inner self.

1. Zero In and Keep Focused
Despite all the hardships I’ve faced and obstacles I’ve had, I’ve had one scholastic goal since the age of eight: get to Stanford University no matter what it takes. Find one thing, even if it is a small goal, that you want to achieve and see it through to the end. Who knows? That one small goal could lead to something bigger. If you hit a low period and find that all you want to do is give up, repeat your goal to yourself five times (slowly) and take a deep breath.

2. Experiment with Different Creative Outlets 
In high school, I fooled around in different subjects and tried different extra-curriculars. At one point, I thought I wanted to act because Drama club was so fun, then it wasn’t after I realized that ‘fun’ was all I got out of it. I’ve always had a “pipe dream” of being a singer until I realized I couldn’t actually sing. But hey, I tried it. I finally went back as far as my memory could reach and found the one thing I loved and was successful at: writing. I love to write and I have loved it since I was seven-years-old. Through all this exploration, you will find something that speaks to you. I promise. If you’re a shy person (me), do one thing completely out of the ordinary, something that forces you to break down that wall. Even if you’re not shy, just go for everything that seems interesting or that excites you. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more your self-confidence builds.

3. Question: Public Speaking- How & Why?

I get this question a lot and since it relates to the point above, I figure it fits as point three. As I told you above, high school presented many creative outlets for me, and true to form, I tried as many as I could to pull myself out of the emotional state I was in at the time. In the midst of my own self-exploration, I found that, with my disability, there comes a lot of curiosity from those around me. I decided to put myself out there and educate people, answering any questions they might have about my disability as well as anything else pertaining to my life. It was with this discovery that my career was born. Never in a million years could I have dreamed this for myself, and one day, you’ll experience that same feeling, too.

4. Stop Making Excuses- Stay as Positive as Possible

I understand that everyone has different home lives, certain financial circumstances, and no one’s journey is ever the same, but I cannot tell you how many times I come across people who immediately shut down any of my positive and encouraging words by saying, “I can’t because _____” , and then complain because they’re not getting what they want, often times becoming jealous of the people around them. I was this way when it came to my chair, as it often became my “go-to” excuse as to why I couldn’t accomplish something. Truthfully, I cringe at that very thought because now, I am antipathetic to excuses. I’ll tell my audience members that if they want something, and I mean, really, want it, they have to put in the work, stop saying “I can’t”, stop thinking of all the reasons why you think it won’t work, and start saying “I can”. I’m not saying this will make your hardships go away, but it’ll definitely be a reminder of why you should keep going.

5. Surround Yourself With Amazing People 

I truly believe that self-confidence is something that can be nurtured by the people you surround yourself with. For a long time, I had severe anxiety about going to school in my middle and high school days because I was afraid of what would be said about me by people I ignorantly called my “friends”, and all they did was further diminish the little bit of confidence I was clinging to at the time. I arrived at college pleasantly surprised by the warm, energetic, and supportive personalities I encountered. Make sure that whoever you surround yourself with is able to recognize and more importantly, appreciate, everything you are and all that you offer. A few good friends makes everything easier and more fun.

All in all, to get to this point of success in my life, I’ve had to keep reminding myself of every goal I have. The to-do lists keep me on track and organizing everything helps me feel more together. I try new things on a weekly basis and as much as I get down on myself sometimes, my drive and motivation keep me from doing so too much. So, do everything. Challenge yourself. Stay positive. And, most importantly, don’t give up on yourself, your dreams, or your goals.

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