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Hello Readers,

About half way through writing this month’s Feature Article I realized I was writing about goals for the second month in a row.  But, being half way through and clearly still focused on this topic, I decided to carry on.  This month I am focusing on staying persistent in the pursuit of goals. Persistence is the subject of the Feature Article.  The Top Ten addresses some important elements of creating a plan to achieve your goals. 

I am already working on some new topics for next month so stayed tuned.

Take care,
Barbara

Just Keep Sledding

Less than a month ago Chris Mazdzer, a young Olympic luger, posted on his FaceBook page that “there comes a point when giving it everything you have and believing in yourself starts to fade”.  He had just finished the latest in a series of disappointing races.  Yet, just last week he earned the first USA medal in men’s single luge in history.  In order to understand how he accomplished this feat it is important to read the rest of his post in which he describes his continued self-confidence, even in the face of setbacks, his intention to continue working toward his goal and his belief that he could achieve it. 

Chris Mazdzer had more than a mere desire to achieve.  He had a goal.  A goal is something for which you are willing to work.  A goal can be concrete such as winning a race or writing a book.  However, other goals can be harder to quantify.  The types of goals I see in my office typically fall into the latter category.  My clients may want to, for example, improve a marriage, set better boundaries or recover from a loss.  In either case the elements for success remain chiefly the same and persistence is essential.  Sometimes it is not possible to reach a goal that is dependent on others but more often than not success is dependent upon our own efforts. 

In the Top Ten I will review some of the steps to achieving our goals, but here I want to expand on the idea of persistence.  If I only take actions to reach my goal when I feel excited about it then, at best, I will have periods of progress followed by long periods of stagnation.  The less action I take the less I will want to take. The law of inertia applies to people as well as objects.   Motivation will ebb and flow but to be successful our actions must stay fairly consistent.

The key to persistence is forming habits.  If a person develops habits, such as writing a page a day or spending twenty minutes in face-to-face conversation with a spouse or going to a therapy appointment, then he or she will make progress, even on days when they don’t feel like taking on more ambitious tasks.  Habits can sustain us when motivation lags.  To create effective habits start small.  You can always add on to your habits when you have become consistent.  For instance, rather than writing a page a day you can commit to writing for ten minutes each day.  Similarly, instead of committing to a twenty minute conversation with your spouse, you could commit to saying “good morning” each day rather than rushing out the door. Whatever habit you choose, make it something you can do with minimal effort and commit to doing it even when you aren’t excited to do so.

 I have guided many clients through the process of identifying or achieving their goals. If you would like some assistance with these areas, I am always here to help.

Top Ten Ways to Achieve Your Goal
  1. Is it a goal?In order for it to be a goal you must be willing to work for it.  If it is only a wish accept it as that and don’t let it burden you.
  2. Imagine success.  What will it look like?  How will you feel when you achieve your goal?
  3. Be on your own team.Believe you can do it.  Encourage yourself the way you would encourage a friend.
  4. Develop habits.Make taking steps toward your goal a daily practice.
  5. Recognize your stumbling blocks.  Notice which aspects of your plan challenge you time and again.  Devise a way around or through those challenges.
  6. Keep learning.  Read.  Talk to people who have achieved your goal.  There is wisdom available to help you on your path.
  7. Be flexible.It’s likely your initial plan will need many revisions before you reach your goal.
  8. Take breaks.Do things (or nothing) that help you rejuvenate. 
  9. Keep good company.Spend time with others who are working toward their own goals.
  10. Stoke the fire.  Keep picturing success on a regular basis.  That vision can pull you forward.

About Barbara Hill
Barbara is a psychotherapist with over 20 years of experience helping individuals and couples to achieve happier, more fulfilling lives. She assists clients to better understand themselves, improve their relationships and develop more effective responses to life's problems. Barbara works with adults confronting all types of challenges but is especially skilled at helping survivors of trauma.

Barbara always welcomes the opportunity to work with new clients.
 
Copyright © 2018 Barbara Hill, LCSW-C, All rights reserved.

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