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imply Well

Set Goals for the Changes You Want to Make

© John W Travis MD, MPH

The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Simply Well by John W Travis MD, MPH. View all columns in series

Jim Zarvos

Traps to Avoid
Hundreds of different mental messages, including doubts and fears, will arise to discourage you from designing any goals and from sticking with them when you hit your first temporary setback. Some of these messages might include:

* "I already tried this once, and it didn't work."
* "People are always trying to get me to set goals. I'll show them who's boss!"
* "What if I set a goal and then don't make it? I'll feel worse."
* "What if I do make it? Will people expect me to do it all the time?"
* "It's a waste of time to make plans. Nobody can predict the future. Just take whatever comes."

These messages are dangerous because each of them is partially true. Of course you can't predict the future. And people probably will expect more of you if they see you are a person who can achieve a goal. These messages can become self-defeating if you give them energy, but remember that they are only thoughts. Don't let them stop you. Keep moving ahead. The difference between a life of greatness and a life of mediocrity is that great people move beyond their limitations, while the mediocre sit around talking about them.

Approach those "impossible" goals by breaking them down into workable daily actions. Or, think of it this way: How do you create a garden where there wasn't one before? You start today by removing one rock at a time.

Reprinted with permission, from Simply Well by John W. Travis, MD, & Regina Sara Ryan. Copyright 2001. Celestial Arts, Berkeley, CA.

The online version of Dr. Travis' Wellness Inventory may be accessed at ( The Wellness Inventory may also be licensed by coaches, health and wellness professionals, and organizations.

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About The Author
John W. Travis, MD, MPH, is the creator of the Wellness Inventory and its parent, the Wellness Index. He is the founder and co-director of Wellness Associates, a consulting and publishing group whose mission is to transform the culture from its current focus on authoritarianism/domination into......more
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