Category: Goals

Why You Haven't Achieved Your Goals Yet: and how to overcome them.

If you’re like most people, who have some things that you would like to achieve. You may have goals, dreams and aspirations. Some goals may be small, like going for a walk three times a week. Some goals may be large, like starting a business or saving a large amount of money.

During New Years, many people set goals but by the next month, most have already abandoned their goals. Why is that? Why is it that so many people want to improve their finances, want a healthier body, want better relationships, but a year later, nothing has changed.

Here are a few common road blocks to achieving the things you want and how to overcome them.

You worry about what others might think.

Many people will say “I don’t care about what other people think” But deep down most people do care.

After the initial excitement of your goal, the negative thoughts start to creep it. What will my parents/spouse/friends/family, etc. say?! What if I fail and they throw it in my face?! What if I look dumb?! And on and on…

Caring about what others think limits you. The reality is what other people think has very little to do with you. You may get the relative or friend who will point out the negatives, and that may come from a place of worrying for you. Others just talk from what they “heard” and not from experience.

You really have to learn to think for yourself. As long as you’re not hurting others in the pursuit of your goal, keep moving forward.

You don’t believe in yourself.

Believing in yourself is HUGE to pursue any goal. You can have all the talent in the world and all the support from friends and family,  but if you don’t believe in yourself, you’ll find an excuse to stop or slow yourself down.

Even if you don’t have all the resources, when you believe in yourself, you know you’ll figure out a way. When others criticize you and you believe in yourself, other’s opinions don’t affect you.

Many times this comes from past experiences where maybe someone did put you down and was not supportive. That experience contributes to negative thinking.

“Who am I to do this?” “It’s already been done, I’ll just be waisting my time.” “It’s too hard, I can’t do that”

When you experience negative self-talk, you have to challenge it. Ask yourself, “where did I pick up this thought?” “Is this a fact or just an opinion?”

For example, I used to see a woman who would constantly say “Nothing I do is ever good enough” When she began questioning that thought, she remembered always feeling that nothing she did was good enough. She’ll get a good grade on a test, and her dad would say “why don’t you do that all the time?” instead of just saying “good job” And her parents were always comparing her to other people’s kids. Therefore, she was always made to feel that nothing she did was enough, she developed this belief that she was not good enough into adulthood.

It wasn’t a fact, She just kept replaying old childhood wounds.

If this one is big for you, really question it. The negative thoughts may have come from bullies, a verbally abusing relationship, a boss or family members.

You’re afraid.

Being afraid when pursuing something new is completely normal. Fear is not necessarily bad. Instead of letting the fear freeze you and not take any action, prepare for what you’re afraid of.

Ask yourself, “What’s the worse thing that could happen?” Then, “What can I control to prevent that bad thing from happening?” And, “Even if that bad thing happens, how can I get out of it?”

This works for any type of fear. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of things changing.

Use the fear to prepare instead of letting it freeze you. If you take no action on your goal because you’re afraid, you’re short changing yourself and the world of that thing that you could be sharing with others.

You’re feeling overwhelmed.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed that always means that you’re doing too much with not enough time and you’re too focused on the whole goal.

The trick to overcoming feeling overwhelmed is to break down the big goal into smaller goals.

For example, let’s say you want a new job. You go on Indeed and start looking for job postings. You see one you like and apply. After a whole hour of filling out one job application, you start to feel stressed out because you have a bunch more to do.

Instead, set a smaller goal of applying to two jobs per day.

Another example is loosing weight. Let’s say you want to loose 25 pounds (or whatever number). That number seems big. You then start to think of all the things you can’t eat and all the things you have to do to loose weight. Instead of focusing on the 25 pounds, break it down. If you want to loose 25 pounds in two months, divide 25 (pounds) by 8 (weeks in two months) and you get 3.12. So instead of focusing on 25 pounds, just focus on loosing 3.12 pounds each week. 3.12 is a much smaller number than 25 so you don’t feel as stressed out about it.

Whatever you want to work on, break it down to the smallest step. Then focus on one step at a time.

“You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you have to overcome to reach your goals.” – Booker T. Washington

About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and spanish-speaking families in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.

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What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

The American culture puts a lot of emphasis on what people do for a living. When you first meet someone, they often as, “what do you do? Other cultures ask about your background, family, etc. first. We ask small children, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” A dumb question really because they don’t even know what they’re doing next month since they don’t have a sense of time.

This emphasis on career puts a lot of pressure on people, especially young people. At the age of 18 and even younger, they feel pressure from school and parents to know what they want to do, without being given any guidance as to all of their options. As an adult, you may compare yourself to other’s career success, making yourself feel bad about yourself. It’s really silly because for all this pressure we’re given about career choices, no one really teaches us how to figure it out.

At most, in high school you’ll meet with a guidance counselor and take assessment tests that tell you what jobs best match your interests. This is such an old model of looking at choosing a career. Whether you’re still a student feeling lost with so many choices to make, or an adult wanting to do something more fulfilling with your time, here are some suggestions for figuring out what you should do for work.

If you’re happily content where you are, forward this to someone who could use it.

Instead of focusing on a job title, focus on an area of interest.

There are only so many options for the types of jobs there are out there. There is Business, Health Care, Service Industry, Technology, Arts/Entertainment, Law, Sciences, and Labor jobs. Underneath these areas are a whole lot of subareas. For example, in the service industry, that could be anything in hospitality, restaurants, accounting or mechanic. Under healthcare, there’s doctor, nurse, billing, management, medical supplies, etc.

When you have no idea what you want, think about the areas you know you definitely don’t want to do. For example, maybe you’re not interested in anything healthcare related. That’s good because that just eliminated a whole area of jobs.

The truth is, most people change jobs 8 times before they find the one they feel the most satisfied in. And even further than that, most successful people change job roles, in the same industry. You don’t have to be stuck in ONE job until you retire. Typically, as you grow and gain experience, you’ll get interested in other opportunities that you had no idea even existed.

 How do you want to contribute to move society forward.

Today, we are more connected then ever. A problem that is going on in another country can affect you in indirect ways. I think instead of getting stuck on a job title, it’ll help you get clear on your passions by thinking about what local or world problem you would like to contribute to improving. A good way to figure this out is…

What gets you upset vs what gets you excited?

What are some topics that you LOVE talking about? What do you enjoy doing, just for fun? Or what are some topics that you HATE? What is something that when you see it, it bothers you so much?

Someone who hates bullies for example, can go into teaching increasing confidence, or self-defense. Or even just simply live by example and advocate for kindness.

For example, I believe mental health is the foundation for every single area in our lives. And it bothers me that there is a lot of misinformation out there on what is a mental illness vs life events out of our control, contributing to the stigma of mental health.  Your mental health status  will affect your relationships, how much money you earn, how you treat others, your physical health, etc. Therefore, I’m passionate about educating others on how to improve negative thought patters, doubt, heal from negative experiences or stop self-sabotaging behaviors. My job is not to “cure” anyone, that’s not how it works. But I’m contributing to improving individuals, and in turn those individuals can be a better parent, a better daughter, etc.

For others, they hate seeing kids being mistreated. So they go into social services, or start an after school club for kids.

And some people enjoy hands-on work and go into service type jobs.

Change the way to look at work.

All this emphasis on career and work could be a cultural thing. In reality, a job is just how you make money in order to enjoy life. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you don’t have enough for what you need, life is stressful. Therefore, how nice would it be that what you do for a living is not torture? You don’t have to LOVE it, but at least it could be enjoyable.

For many people, because of circumstances, they feel that they can’t really do what they enjoy for money. Instead, they view a job as just a means to pay bills, but then focus on their passions outside of work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this.

Explore

You are not going to figure out what you want by just sitting back and waiting for an opportunity to come to you. Instead, you have to try different things.

  • Research areas you’re interested in. YouTube or Google it. Or you can read biographies of known people who do or have done what you’re interested in.
  • If you know of someone who is doing something you may be interested in, look into how they did it and learn. If you personally know them, ask them questions.
  • Work for a Temp agency to get some experience.
  • If you’re not qualified yet to do what you want, try to get an entry level job or anything in that place just to be around the people who do what you want and learn by observation. You could have a work relationship with them and get “insider information” that you wouldn’t have know before.

It doesn’t matter what you do exactly, but the point is to explore different interests to see what it is that grabs your attention. And remember, you don’t have to be stuck with your choice for the rest of your working life.

About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a Licensed Professional Counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, Adults, and the Spanish speaking individuals in the Lehigh Valley, PA area.

 

 

 

 

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How To Create Goals That You’ll Actually Complete

Goals are the road map that tells us where we’re going. Without them you just live life without a sense of direction. New Years is the perfect time to reflect on where you are and plan for improving different areas of our life for the year ahead. But setting goals is the easy part. Sticking to them and achieving them not so much.

But there is a trick that I use to achieve any goal, small or large. The following is my recipe to create goals that you’ll actually complete.

Step 1. Get clear on what you really want. We have 7 categories in our life. Family, Relationships, Career/Education, Money, Health, Recreation, and Spirituality. Goals always fall into one of these categories. Be honest with your self about what you want to improve or change. Maybe you want to look good, get a job, spend more time with family, or don’t want to be single anymore.

If you don’t know what you want, work backwards. Sometimes it’s easier to know what you DON’T want. For example, maybe you know you don’t want to quit your job, or don’t need to loose weight, but maybe you need to have more fun in your life, or want to improve your relationships. From the 7 categories above, which areas are you the least happy with? Start with that area.

Step 2. Set a specific date for when you want to have completed the goal. It’s ok if you’re off by a few days or weeks. But when you give your goal a deadline, you’re more likely to achieve it. Plus it’s easier to keep track of progress

Step 3. BREAK IT DOWN. This is actually the secret weapon. Any goal that you have can feel overwhelming. Especially big goals. But when you break it down to the smallest steps, it really is not that hard to complete. For example, lets say your goal is to loose 50 pounds by the summer. 50 pounds sounds like a big number and all you can do is think about all the food you won’t be able to eat. But if you count, for example, from January 1st until June 1st, that’s 22 weeks. 50(pounds) ÷ 22 (weeks) =2.27 (pounds) So all you have to focus on is loosing about 2 pounds a week, not the 50.

If the goal is to get a job, think about the small steps that you have to take to get there. Such as Googling companies you’ll like to work at, downloading the Indeed app, and applying to 2-3 jobs a week.

You do this with any goal. Break it down to the simplest form.

Now that you have these 3 steps. Now you have to take action.

  • Write down your goal on an index card or small piece of paper, with the deadline and any small steps that you have to take. It’s been proven that people that write down their goals are more likely to complete them compared to people who don’t write them down.
  • Put the piece of paper or index card somewhere you’ll see it every day. This could be on your mirror, in your car, in your wallet or planner. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s somewhere that you’ll see it often. Even take a picture of the paper so that you also have it saved in your phone.
  • Try to take one simple step every day or week that brings you closer to your goal. Anything from buying new gym sneakers, cleaning out your closet for the new clothes you’ll be buying, doing a little research, or asking someone for help IS a step. Remember that when working towards goals SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. Try to do something daily no matter how small it is. This will make it easier to start and keep the momentum.
  • Look at your goal first thing in the morning and right before going to bed. The first 20 minutes after we wake up sets the tone for the rest of the day. Don’t believe me, try stubbing your toe or waking up to yelling and tell me if you’re in a good mood after. When you look at your written goal, visualize how it would feel to have already achieved it. This is supposed to be fun. Picture yourself shopping for the new clothes that you’ll need to buy because you’re fit, or feel relaxed because you know that things always work out for you.

IF you have supportive people, it’s okay to share your goal with someone. But if the people around you tend to be negative, I suggest keeping your goal to yourself and just let the results speak for its self. Goals are personal and you’ll quickly be discouraged if you share it with the wrong person.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway

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About the author.

Liza J Alvarado is a professional counselor in private practice. She serves Adolescents, young adults, and Spanish speaking families in Lehigh Valley, PA.

 

 

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