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Going for Your Goals

Every new year, we embark on our “New Year\’s resolutions” We resolve with conviction to solve a problem, arrive at a decision, or accomplish a goal. Some resolutions may be the same as last year and the year before. We resolve to lose weight or gain income; quit smoking, drinking, or spending; attend the gym and a church; be on time for others or take time for ourselves. To achieve a resolution is actually a journey and there are methods to help us get to our destination. However, as part of the process of keeping our resolutions, we must be aware of the roadblocks.

One obstacle is perfectionism. Perfectionism is based on FEAR, which can be defined as False Events Appearing Real. I failed to try anything that I could not do perfectly and all I could do perfectly was clean house. Let go of the limiting controls of perfectionism! It\’s a waste of time to wait to do everything perfectly.

Another obstacle is procrastination, which also wastes time. In terms of my own procrastination, I describe it as my ability to think and think and think about a thing and never to accomplish it at all. Yet accomplishment comes from activity!

These two obstacles are based on the fear of failure. Use failures as a learning experience and try again. To make mistakes is to be human and everyone makes mistakes. In order to grow, it\’s necessary to attempt new skills.

I thought about trying other activities, but just never got around to them. I was waiting for someday, until I realized that someday is TODAY. The antidote to perfectionism, procrastination, and the fear of failure is in taking action today.

Here are tips to help overcome the roadblocks and move forward on your journey:

1) Determine the difference between a dream and a goal.

  • A dream is a fantasy without specific steps.
  • Concrete steps can turn a dream into a goal.

2) Learn the steps to achieve a goal.

  • Be aware of the behavior needing change
  • Examine the reasons for developing the behavior in the first place

  • Have compassion for the choices made under the circumstances
  • Find new, healthy ways to meet the needs
  • Get support, a buddy system; be accountable
  • Set goals in small timeframes, one day, one week, or one month
  • Break down the larger goals into smaller ones
  • Change occurs in moments in time
  • Break down the larger goals into smaller ones
  • SET SMART GOALS = Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, Timely

    Here\’s a fun project that can help you make your desires manifest:

    VISUALS can guide the mind to making a goal manifest

    • Visuals can be images and/or words that express your desire.

    • You will be guided to your desires until they are real!


    Magazines, catalogues, brochures, glue, scissors, poster board, a picture of you, a marker


    Divide the poster board into these areas

    • Relationships (family, friends)
    • Spirituality (religion, higher power)
    • Career (professional)
    • Health (body, mind)
    • Recreation (social, activities)
    • Financial (savings)

    Go through the magazines and tear out images and words that appeal to you. This is meant to be a task that is easy on the mind: you don\’t have to give each image much thought. Try not to censor your reasons for choosing an image in the initial stages of this exercise. Just collect what grabs your attention. You may find that you clip symbols of your desires. For example, a woman I know wanted to be married, so she clipped a picture of a wedding band. When you are finished clipping images, sort the images/words into the categories named above. You can use your marker to add words. Put your picture in the middle! This signifies that you claim your desires as your own.


    I wanted to add horseback riding to my activities, so I clipped images of horses. I didn\’t ask myself how I would afford the lessons. Several months later, a friend told me she had a horse and asked me to ride with her. I rode every Sunday until I moved.

    Speaking of moving, I always wanted to live in Colorado. While living in Missouri, I placed a picture of Pike\’s Peak was on my treasure map. As I write this, the view from my house is of the mountains in the great state of Colorado!

    I wanted West Highland White Terriers, those cute canines known as “Westies.” I clipped images of a Westie in a dog food ad. Later, I met a woman who was a breeder of Westies, and now I have 2 from her litters! This pair is a match made in heaven.

    Years ago, I clipped an image of a woman at an easel. At the time, I had a secret, unmet desire to be an artist. Since then, I\’ve been led to talented art teachers. I am now a watercolor and collage artist, and have even won awards!

    Do you want to be a guest on the Oprah show? Clip an image of Oprah and put your own picture next to hers.

    How do you depict spirituality? A woman I know claims not to be spiritual. However, she loves nature, so she put images of trees, ponds, and birds onto her poster board.

    How do you depict finances? I want security in retirement, so I clipped words like 401K, IRA. Do you want to send your children/grandchildren to college? Do you want to send yourself to college? In my early forties, without any income to fund a return to college, I put an image of a woman wearing a graduation cap and gown on my collage. Within three years, I had earned my degree. The tuition was covered for two years by a scholarship that was based on the excellent grades I received in “junior college” in my 20\’s! I applied for scholarships for books, too, so my cost for texts was reduced.

    Put your poster in a place where you can see it everyday. I was self-conscious about putting it where it would be visible to visitors. I put it on the back of my bedroom door. At night, I closed my bedroom door. Every morning, the first thing I would see was my poster board. Let the images seep into your consciousness to help them become REAL!

    This process can be called a “treasure map” “vision board” Or “illustrated journal.” Whatever you call it, you can consider this collage as one way to help you determine and achieve your resolutions.


    Recommended Reading
    The Artist\’s Way Julia Cameron

    The Vein of Gold Julia Cameron

    Simple Abundance Sarah Ban Breathnach

    Creative Visualization Shatki Gwain

    Lynn C. Tolson is artist, advocate, and author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor\’s Story. This article is excerpted in part from the book. TEARS is Ms. Tolson\’s memoir about overcoming abuse and adversity to achieve health, happiness, and hope. Visit the Author\’s website at www.beyondthetears.com
    Lynn Tolson Author and Founder of Project for TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide

    After her first eighteen years in the Northeast, Lynn Tolson moved to the Southwest where she engaged in careers in real estate and property management. During those years, she survived post-traumatic stress disorder, which manifested in addictions and suicide attempts. Through the therapeutic process, she determined the causes of her dysfunction and was able to ultimately achieve a life that reflects health and happiness. Her memoir, Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor's Story (1st Books), illustrates physical, emotional and spiritual transformation. Tolson lived in the Midwest for nine years, where she returned to college to obtain a degree in Social Work. She is the founder of Project for TEARS: Telling Everyone About Rape & Suicide. She currently resides in the Rocky Mountain region with her husband and two energetic West Highland White Terriers.

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