Marilyn Paul, PhD

Turn a Wish into a Goal – 2013

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As you continue through January, you may notice that there are cherished activities, people or places that you may not get to if you don’t focus on them.

Is there something in your life that you keep meaning to do?  Something big like moving, changing jobs or looking for a mate?  Perhaps it’s learning another language, going out to the theater, making more time for friends, going kayaking once a week.

Or maybe it’s playing the piano, meditating once a day, becoming an environmental activist.  Large or small, there is often something that we are not getting to that we would deeply savor if only we could make time for it

Make sure that this one thing is on your list of goals for 2013.

Then, turn your wish and hope into a goal by asking yourself several questions.

What’s my wish or my dream?  (Be as evocative as you want.)

Why is this so important to me?

What would I really savor if I let myself do this activity or have this experience?

What is blocking me? (Are my negative thoughts holding me back?)

What’s at risk for me if I don’t get to it this year?

Who can and will support me?

What might I have to give up to do this?

What frame of mind can help me get there?

What small steps will help me make this happen?

Write down your answers to these questions.  The answers don’t have to be long, but hopefully the questions will make you think.

One client I worked with really wanted to put together family photo albums. She had boxes of photos from years back and a computer full of  digital photos.  One reason she didn’t create albums is that it seemed trivial, and so the years went by.  She grounded her goal by answering the following questions.

What is your dream?  To really capture my family’s history in pictures.  To create albums that we can share easily.  The real dream is to value our past, our stories, our precious time together.  I run so fast that much of my life is a blur.

Why is this so important to me?   My photos are scattered and inaccessible.  I want to remember certain trips and share the joy of the memories with my kids, but I’m not sure where the photos are.  But, even more important, I now realize, my family’s history seems fragmented.

What would I really savor?  I’d savor looking at the photos and treasuring the life we had and have.  I’d like to deepen our sense of family history and create a ritual of reviewing an album or two every New Year’s Day.

What is blocking me?  I’m afraid I won’t be able to find the photos.  I sometimes think that  creating photo albums is a waste of time.  That  I might have to throw some photos away.  Also, I’m a little scared to acknowledge how much time has gone by.  I also think this is a trivial effort.

What’s at risk for me if I don’t get to it this year?   That I’ll never get to it.  My kids are growing up.  If we don’t create this ritual soon, they’ll be out of the house.

Who can and will support me?  I’d like to do some of this with my daughter who is actually into creating albums.

What might I have to give up to do this?  The feeling that time is frozen.  The feeling that I am not aging.  I can give up some of my internet surfing time – mostly checking the news – to get 15 minutes a day to work on this.

What thoughts do I need to be thinking in order to do this?   This sense of family history is vital to me and my family.  I actually love doing this.

And now is the time.

What is my next small step?  Step one:  Find the boxes full of old photos.  Step two:  Buy an album.  Step three:  Set aside an hour with my daughter to create a few pages.

She told me later that she was really excited about doing this, and so was her daughter.

“Working through these boxes of photos was so much more satisfying than I had anticipated.  I had turned this valuable activity into a chore, and then I avoided it.

I have some unsorted photos from twenty years ago.  I’m hugging some people I don’t even recognize.  Sad.  But now I know how that making these albums is important to me and to us.  Thanks, I would never have done this if I hadn’t answered your questions.”

And, now you, what are you not getting to savor in your life, that would deepen your soul’s journey?

 

 

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