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As a psychologist I need to always try to figure out how to help people.  This begins with having a clear understanding of what they are struggling with, their goals and then linking these things with strategies available so the goals can be reached.

A long time ago I figured out that there are actually four simple categories that need to be assessed in order to do see progress in one’s life:

  1. Can – Does the person have what it will take in order to set and reach goals?  This involves being realistic, able and willing.  Sometimes it might appear that ability is lacking but determination despite this can lead to success! Think about the 99-year-old Tom Moore who, during Covid, raised millions of pounds for the National Health Services by doing laps through his garden with his walker.  Some might have thought that his age and mobility issues would make the goal impossible to reach.    Moore, however, focused on “can” and succeeded above all expectations.  What an inspiration!
  2. Can’t – I don’t like to focus on this because someone will likely prove me wrong. There are specific situations, however, when the odds are definitely against certain things.  I really don’t think, for example, that at 70 years of age and standing 4 feet 11.5 inches tall makes me a good candidate to be scouted for Olympic basketball.  There are some things that interfere with achieving goals.   Unfortunately, many people tell themselves “I can’t” without even trying or researching to figure out ways to do the things of which they dream.
  3. Will –Each of us has exactly the same number of hours in a day – 24 – as well as the ability to choose what we will do during that time. Those who set SMART goals (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound) will usually invest their time and energy into achieving them. Being willing to do something starts with making a plan.
  4. Won’t – There are many reasons why a person refuses to do things. The timing might not be right.  Perhaps there are other things that are demanding priority status.  Some might not think that the project has good values or ethics.  Many tend to procrastinate.  Perhaps stubbornness is a factor for never even getting started.

Let’s think about the things that you want to change or new dreams that you want to realize.  Can you come up with a plan and the steps needed for this?  Are you willing to do whatever it will take? Or are you stuck in the excuses, the “can’t” and the “won’t” side that will lead to ultimate failure?

This week, start putting things on paper. At the top of the page, write one specific goal and the time that you want it to be completed.  Then list all the things you can do and will do to make that goal come to fruition.

Once you have done this, it is important to list the things you think you can’t or won’t do.  Are these reasonable or just excuses?  How can you turn your can’t and won’t into can and will?

Perhaps this would be a good time to think of Tom Moore.  Isn’t he a wonderful example of how you can’t let things stop you from doing what you believe in your heart is the right thing!

One more thing:   you don’t have to wait until you are 99 years of age to begin!

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