Going nowhere fast? When you want something and you’re not getting it.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Ball recovery

Recovery and Resiliency.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Questions to ask – things to do when your dreams are not happening.


Some people seem to be able to make everything come their way. Others of us seem to keep struggling, the only thing coming our way is an oncoming truck. Here are some things to look at if you just can’t get things to happen.

1. How bad do you want it?

For several years now I have been saying I wanted to lose some weight. Every time the choice between exercising and sitting down to read a good book or write another post comes up – the weight loss goal losses out. I am just not that committed to losing the weight.

Motivation plays a role here and later this year there will be a series of posts on motivation, how you motivate yourself and others. But no amount of motivational efforts will help if you just don’t want it enough to put in the effort.

2. Do you believe in yourself and in your ability to reach this goal?

This is really about two different things. Do you deserve to be successful? If you have doubts in this area you need to do some work on that issue. I believe that we all deserve success and happiness. What success means to you, that is a different question.

The second part of this is do you think that if you set out to accomplish something you will be able to do it? If you have doubts about your abilities, you need to get more skills training. Work with a good counselor or coach may help establish or improve the skills you will need to get where you want to go.

3. Have you identified your objectives, short and long-term?

Saying you want a more successful, productive or happier life is a start, but we need to operationalize those goals. What will it look like when you get there? How will we know you are headed in the right direction? Are there any markers along the way that will tell us we are headed in the right direction?

4. Are you taking action?

All progress begins with taking action. You cannot succeed at something if you do not try. The first step in reaching more goals in your life is taking more actions.

No one hits one hundred percent of the shots they take but you have to keep putting the ball up in the air to make any baskets.

5. Are you cheering yourself on?

People who keep telling themselves they can, they often do. Tell yourself that you can’t do this, that this will never happen and you create the failure. Are you urging yourself on or holding yourself back? Positive self-talk contributes to success, negative self-talk ensures failure.

The highly successful keep telling themselves they can. The also look at results that fall short of their mark as improvement opportunities rather than failures.

6. Have you learned the technology of success?

Success is rarely the result of some sudden stroke of luck. Some people do win the lottery but we have repeatedly seen winning does not produce happiness. There is a process for technology, involved in moving from wishes to results.

Learn the technology of success and practice it. Become good at reaching goals, small and large. More on the technology of success in a future post.

7. Keep on the success path.

People who are highly successful are “single-minded” meaning they are not easily distracted. They do not change goals frequently and they do not put reaching those goals aside on any kind of regular basis. They do keep reevaluating their progress, am I on track, am I doing what I need to do, and is this still something I want to accomplish?

Very successful people do reexamine goals and change them from time to time. They also may have several or many goals they are working towards. What they do not do is vacillate. They are either in or out.

8. Enjoy the journey to your goal.

If you hate the process, the things you have to do to reach a goal, then it is not likely to be meaningful when you get there. People who have the greatest success are working at things they enjoy doing. The more you like a subject the better you will learn it. The more you enjoy an activity the more likely you are to repeat that behavior and the better you get at it.

Sure every worthwhile endeavor involves some sacrifice and some difficulty. Remember the old saying “no pain no gain.” I think pain, in that sense, means effort and struggle, not suffering. People who are highly successful learn to enjoy the struggle as well as the result.

Is your life the way you want it to be? Do you have goals that are not coming to pass? How are you doing on goal setting, motivation and creating your happy life?

David Miller, LMFT, LPCC

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

2 thoughts on “Going nowhere fast? When you want something and you’re not getting it.

  1. Pingback: Finding Success and Avoiding Failure | counselorssoapbox

  2. Pingback: You can choose your life – happiness or depression, success or failure? | counselorssoapbox

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