Dr. Mary E. Lee - Registered Psychologist - Grande Prairie Alberta

Achieving Personal Goals

A new day

Eager, smiling, loving life

A new challenge

I can do it;


Have you ever felt this way? You are eager to change, to fulfil your goal; whatever that may be. It could be losing weight, getting fit, being more positive with your family and co-workers, eating healthier, getting out of debt or any other multitude of things. The problem is you’ve tried before and you feel like you failed. Even though you tell yourself “I can do it” there is that niggling doubt and you hope it will be “this time”. How can a person take away the “this time” and really make the change occur?

One problem with personal change is our goal often is not achieved quickly. We live in an instant society. If you want to know something; Google it and you have the answer. If you want to talk to someone; email, text or phone them. We have instantaneous results. Personal change typically is not instantaneous; and most of us are not particularly good at waiting, at persevering to get to the end result.

Another problem may the goal itself. Do we really know what end result we want? We say we have a specific goal such as losing weight, getting fit, eating better, being more positive, getting out of debt and so on. It that the ultimate goal or is there an underlying goal we are unaware of?

Perhaps the real goal we want to achieve is to establish a sense of control over ourselves and our life. We want to have the control to stop eating junk food, to stop eating when we are not hungry, to stop using our credit cards, to find a new job or to save our marriage. The initial goal would be nice but perhaps what we really want is deeper and it is an enduring change.

Another underlying goal we may have is to be living a life which is different than our current reality.  Perhaps your spouse or children are not like you imagined they would be. Perhaps that job is not as fulfilling as you hoped. Perhaps you do not feel emotionally or spiritually as you imagined you would feel at this point in your life. Maybe life isn’t as it was envisioned; it is not the way it was supposed to be. Once again the initial goal would be nice but the problem is something deeper.

One activity to try in goal setting is to investigate what you really want. Yes, you want to lose weight, or get fit or get out of debt or be nicer to others. But is that all your desired change is about? Asking yourself the following questions may clarify what you really want:

  • What is under the drive to achieve these things?
  • How will my life be different once I achieve this goal?
  • Do I want a short-term fix or a life-long change?

By discovering the answers to these questions you may discover you need to adjust your goal or give yourself more time in achieving it. Then you will be able to say I did it “THIS TIME”.

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