Bring Your Goals Into Focus

green typewriter on brown wooden table
Photo by Markus Winkler on

I have long been an advocate for my clients to use writing as part of their therapeutic process. Writing not only incorporates our emotions but seeing things in writing also holds a form of accountability and truth.

Writing things out that you want to change, that you want learn to accept, that you want to understand, that you want to create makes them tangible and real. Words flowing on to paper offer emotional transference and a reference of who we truly are. We can know ourselves better and on a deeper level by writing about all the parts of our lives – past, present, and future.

I recently discovered an amazing journal that allows not only the writing of emotions and experiences, but also allows for goal planning and accomplishment, habit forming and reinforcement, and vision for the present and future. This journal was found on Amazon and I have no affiliation with Amazon or the maker of this journal, however I highly recommend it. The Phoenix Journal is a three month exploration of many parts of oneself. It is undated allowing for use at any time of the year.

The journal offers daily planning of schedule as well as key actions, tasks, a place of focus, a place of gratitude, guidance for the day, a place for daily victories and ways to improve. It also offers a blank bullet journal page for each day so that every day emotions and experiences can be recorded and examined.

There are weekly targets and targets for the entire three month span. There are weekly check ins at the end of each week of writing to see how you have done on your goals and actions. At the end of the journal, there is a comprehensive place for reflection.

Building goals and habits takes repetition, reinforcement, and accountability. We can make all the goals and plans in the world, but if we never question if they have been accomplished the result is only thoughts or words. A journal like this offers us a place of vision, of gratitude, and of self examination along the way.

I am sure there are many similar journals available, but this one has personally allowed me to establish goals, lay out a vision, and reflect on both myself in the past, the present, and the future. Perhaps it could be of help to you as well to bring your goals and yourself into focus.

“The successful warrior is the average man with laser-like focus” ~ Bruce Lee

Be Smart About Your Goals


Goal (noun): the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result or the destination of a journey.

The new year brings many things including the desire for many to make changes in their lives. We often hear about making new year’s resolutions. Resolutions always sounded like something congress does when they decide to make or change laws. It doesn’t really sound like a goal the word resolution.

To be successful about your goals you have to be SMART, not smart. Goals need to be:

S – Specific – Drill down to the most specific description of your goal. State exactly what you want to do.

M – Measurable – You need to have a way to measure your progress. Without measuring how do you know anything has changed?

A – Achievable – If you have no chance of success why would you start? Your goals have to be something you can actually do. If your goal is change someone else in your life, it is not achievable.

R – Realistic – Your goals need to be realistic meaning can you do what you want in the time you have specified for achievement. If you have smoked for 40 years is it realistic you can completely quit in 4 weeks without relapsing?

T – Timely – There has to be an end date of achievement for your goals. A goal that goes on forever is just a plan or a wish. The destination of a journey.

If you are thinking of making goals for the new year, really take time to think about them in terms of being SMART and also in terms of what you want your result to be. Consider all the areas of your life – mental, physical, spiritual, relationships, career/school, etc.

Also remember that if you start a goal and find yourself struggling, remember you can set a new timely end to your goal and hit the restart button. Some goals are daily, some weekly or monthly, and some are for life. An every day goal can be restarted every day. Make sure you pay attention to the successes, however small, they are important.

Happy New Year!

Until next time,

Pros and Cons

Many times during therapy sessions I ask clients a question, “What do you want?” It seems simple, straightforward, but in fact it is quite the opposite. The answer is tangled up in emotions, the past, fear, low self esteem, and much more. It can be very difficult to come up with what you want, with what you want to happen or change, with what your goals are. But deep down everyone knows them, fear usually prevents acknowledging what they are and accepting what will have to happen in order to obtain them.

When I talk to clients about what they want, I ask if they have ever made a list of the pros and cons for each one. Usually the answer is no. The only way to weigh them out is to truly see them. Writing is one of the most therapeutic ways available to all of us to analyze different parts of ourselves and our stories. Write out the pros and cons of what you want, what you want to happen or change, and your goals.

For example, if you want to remove yourself from a toxic relationship, what are the pros of that and what are the cons. You may be thinking, how can there be cons when removing something toxic from our lives, but every choice has consequences. Some are good and some are not. Pros – You might be happier, safer, freer, gain more self esteem, find better relationships, not be abused by that person, start a new life, protect others, etc. Cons – You might be alone for some time, you may lose family or people that are important to you but toxic, you might feel badly for the other person’s emotions if you leave, other people may blame you for how the toxic person reacts, you might not be happier or feel safer being alone, you might fear the changes that come with ending a relationship, etc.

But what is your ultimate goal in wanting this change? And if you don’t change will you ever be able to reach that goal? Can you continue the same as you are now and have anything change in yourself, for yourself? Remember we cannot change anyone else. So it is only you in the decision to change.

Fear will be the greatest enemy when weighing the pros and cons. Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision. “Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” ~ Jack Canfield Acknowledge what you fear and continue with the pros and cons. Acknowledge the cons, and proceed with the pros. Do not let fear keep you from what you truly want.

Until next time,