LIFE & STYLE

Focus On Your Goals — And Make Sure They’re Achievable

By Barton Goldsmith
McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

If you wish to reach your heart’s desire, you may want to take a few minutes out of every day to focus on your goals.

Taking this time makes it easier to attain your dreams. If you are a very shy person, this exercise can be especially helpful because you don’t have to put yourself out there at this very moment. You just visualize what it is you want out of life, to be more outgoing, for example, and paint a picture in your brain of what that would look like.

Who would you be as a more confident person? Would you change your line of work, start a new business, or climb the corporate ladder? How would you behave differently in social situations? Asking yourself these questions will help you develop a better picture of what you want out of life.

Once you create a clear goal in your mind, take the next step to write it down on a piece of paper. Then put your stated goal on your desk or tape it to the bathroom mirror, or any place where you will see it every day. This reminder will act as an affirmation and help keep you focused on your goals even when your life is at its busiest.

Remember that the more you think about your direction, the easier it will be to get there. Studies have shown that writing down your goals and reviewing them regularly makes them much easier to reach.

It’s always a good idea to keep your goals achievable. For example, it would be unadvisable to spend your time focusing on becoming a rock star if you can’t play the guitar or sing. Make sure that what you want and need are things that you can actually make happen.

When you take an inventory of your talents and abilities, you will see pretty quickly how far you can go. If you are having a hard time believing in yourself or finding things that you might be good at, you might want to ask a few close friends to name what they think your finest abilities are. People who care about us sometimes see things within us that we are unable to see for ourselves.
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If you tend to be introverted, reaching your goals may include lots of quiet time or being in peaceful surroundings, which is great. But make sure you aren’t coming from a place of fear. Our insecurities can hold us back and make us think we can’t do a lot of things that we may be more than qualified to accomplish. If you let your fear rule you, your entire life will be focused around playing it safe, and you may miss many of the good things that are waiting for you out there.
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(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)

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