Anxiety Is Not the Enemy

anxiety-bannerAnxiety sucks. It can make even a slow, chill weekend miserable with stressful worries about the future and all the tension that goes with it.

Even worse, if anxiety is nothing new for you, it can call in its close cousin — shame. Shame and anxiety can then start to bully with thoughts like: Why can’t you just relax? How come everyone is more laid back than you? You’re such a [fill in the blank with your mind’s favorite name it calls you to make you feel bad about yourself].

Trying to stop or avoid this pattern is what most people do, only to feel frustrated and self-critical that they can’t conquer or resolve their anxiety. The pattern is bound to repeat, accumulating more and more frustration and a lessening of confidence of being able to work through anxiety.

If anxiety is seen as the enemy, as something to get rid of or something to overcome, then this will only produce more of it. The more you don’t want anxiety, the more you have it. Fighting it only binds you to it.

If you can relate to this then I invite you to consider a different way of looking at anxiety.

Anxiety is not a problem to be solved. Anxiety IS the attempt to problem solve.

Anxiety is, in part, the natural and useful ability to scan for threat and forecast an imagined future taken to an extreme. These two abilities (scanning and forecasting) are an attempt to address problems now or in the near future and are very handy skills. However, things can start to become stuck when the looking for problems becomes the problem itself. Like the old adage says, if you’re a hammer then everything’s a nail. Anxiety will always find issues with now and the near future to label as a problem, it’s just its nature.

It’s unskillful to stop a child from yelling by yelling at them. It’s unskillful to stop someone from criticizing you by criticizing them. Examples like these show that it will just cause more of it to happen sooner or later in response. It’s unskillful to try to stop problem solving by seeing it as a problem to be fixed.

Anxiety is not something to be controlled. Anxiety IS the attempt to control.

Anxiety scans and imagines the future in the attempt to control it. Whenever you find yourself imaging what you’ll say to X when they Y is your mind doing its best to try to keep you safe. Our minds think that we always need to be more prepared, fully anticipating potential negative future scenarios along with their outcomes. The mind loves to control, it’s also just part of its nature.

It would be expected for someone to feel uneasy, if they perceive their boss is annoyed with them for taking too much time off. They may start to be concerned that maybe they’ll get a negative performance review in the future. This might guide them to take the action of talking to the boss to clear things up or talking to the boss before taking more time off. The uneasiness or concern might have led to a useful response.

However, in this same scenario the same uneasiness can take a dark turn if control enters the picture. Worry thoughts about the boss’s opinion of them can start to loop and loop, becoming obsessive and causing more and more anxiety. Soon the worry thoughts turn into catastrophic thoughts that they’re going to get fired. The replaying and replaying of these future-based thoughts and scenarios are all based on trying to prevent something negative happening in the future. Unfortunately, obsessive worrying often does little to help someone in the future and just leads to exhaustion and a degrading of self-confidence.

A major difference between someone that excessively worries in this situation and someone who doesn’t is their relationship with uncertainty.  

Neither person knows for sure what the boss thinks or will do. Neither has any control over that. The person who has the skill to make space for uncertainty does not need worry to try and control what is not able to be controlled. By contrast, someone without the skill of knowing how to work with uncertainty will be forced into the only strategy they know — trying to control that uncertain situation using anxiety, even if it doesn’t work and it makes them miserable.

Going to the Root

A weed in a garden can be pruned or it can be addressed at the root. Pruning anxiety is trying to fix or control the symptoms of anxiety. It will inevitable come back, perhaps with more strength later.

Behind all worries there is a felt sense that drives it. The worries of today will be similar to the worries of tomorrow by a different name or mask. They will all have the same root. Until someone can peel back the protections, defenses, and controls around it, it will continue to sprout and interfere.

The good news is anxiety is workable. When you go to the root you can begin to form a relationship with the source of all this suffering. You can learn to live better, develop skills and build resiliency so that anxiety has less and less influence over you. Heck, people often tend to learn a lot about themselves and experience large amounts of personal growth when they take a break on fighting anxiety and start to learn to work with it.

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Modernist Birdhouses Inspired by Bauhaus, Frank Lloyd Wright and Joseph Eichler

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. – Frank Lloyd Wright Sunset Modern Teal #customcolors #sourgrassbuilt #modernbirdhouses #midcenturybirdhouses #uniquegifts A post shared by Douglas Barnhard (@sourgrassbuilt) on Nov 26, 2017 at 9:24am PST Is there a design geek lurking among your fine feathered friends? Some chickadee or finch […]

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Dan Savage of Savage Lovecast – American Sex Podcast Ep 44

Dan Savage of the Savage Lovecast and Savage Love advice column talks with Sunny & Ken about growing up gay while attending an all-boys Catholic seminary school (and the extreme measures he took to get expelled), the impact the It Gets Better Project has had on LGBTQ youth, how he accidentally became the go-to sex […]

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Study: Mental Disorders Should Not Keep Obese Youth from Bariatric Surgery

A new study published in the journal Pediatrics finds that psychiatric disorders should not necessarily disqualify a severely obese adolescent from bariatric surgery.

The new findings counter the prevailing belief which holds that mental health disorders could influence a patient’s ability to adhere to the pre- and post-surgical guidelines and as a result might contraindicate surgical intervention.

Rather, the study found that identifying anxiety, depressive disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders among young surgery candidates had no predictive value for how much post-surgical weight loss an adolescent would achieve. Still, the researchers recognize that identifying these disorders remains a crucial pre-surgical evaluation step.

The study is the first to look at a large, diverse sample of adolescent patients with severe obesity to investigate any potential links between weight loss outcomes and pre-surgical psychiatric disorders.

“This procedure actually seems to be equally beneficial across ages, race/ethnicity and presence or absence of psychiatric disorders for weight loss,” said Eleanor Mackey, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a psychologist with the Obesity Program’s IDEAL clinic at Children’s National Health System.

“Unlike other interventions that may be influenced by cultural or socioeconomic factors, surgical intervention appears to offer all kids the same opportunity to succeed. Most important, there’s no scientific basis for denying an adolescent this procedure based simply on the presence of a psychiatric disorder.”

“This does not mean adolescents should not be evaluated and treated for these disorders, which themselves have a significant impact on functioning and quality of life, but in terms of weight loss after surgery, the presence of psychiatric disorders is not predictive of outcomes,” Mackey said.

For the study, the researchers compared severely obese adolescents (body mass index greater than 120 percent of the 95th percentile) who underwent the laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy procedure at Children’s National (169). Even after controlling for demographic factors in study participants, the findings were clear: No difference was found between those with diagnosed psychiatric disorders and those without at 3 and 12 months post-surgery.

While bariatric surgery is an increasingly utilized option for the treatment of severe obesity among young people, very few studies have looked specifically at which characteristics in obese adolescents tend to lead to favorable surgery outcomes.

In the future, the research team plans to follow participants long term to continue building their understanding of any potential links between post-surgical weight loss and these pre-existing psychiatric disorders.

Source: Children’s National Health System

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Living with Regrets and How to Deal with Them

We all have them and struggle with them. To live fully is to have regrets; they are an unpleasant, though unavoidable part of the human condition.

You may know people who proudly declare that they’ve lived boldly and have no regrets. Believing that we shouldn’t experience regrets places us in double jeopardy: we experience them and wonder what’s wrong with us for having them. If we have no regrets, then we either haven’t been paying attention or are living in denial. We all screw up sometimes.

We might define regrets as carrying sorrow or shame regarding past actions or decisions. There are many things we might regret. Perhaps we regret our partnership choice, decisions around our health, finances, or career, or not having spent enough time with our loved ones. Maybe we regret that we didn’t relish our life enough or take more risks. Perhaps we feel badly for having hurt others and are paralyzed by shame to recognize the harm we’ve caused by our narcissism or insensitivity.

A major challenge of being human is to allow ourselves to have regrets without being debilitated by them. Obsessing on past actions or decisions that we feel badly about can lead to depression and rob us of the joy of living. Replaying scenes in our mind and wishing we had done things differently can keep us spinning our wheels, creating much misery. Caught in the grip of the woulda, coulda, shoudas, we’re hijacked from the present moment and punish ourselves with an excessive barrage of self-incriminations.

Working with Our Regrets

Wisdom rarely arises without realizing how unwise or self-absorbed we’ve been. Good decisions grow out of the muddy waters of our bad decisions. Knowing what we know now, it’s all too easy to look back and wish we’d made different choices. One of the gravest disservices we inflict on ourselves is to judge the decisions we made then based upon what we know now. We only gain such knowledge through the portal of trial and error — and making mistakes.

Making space for regrets and being gentle with them is a step toward softening their hold over us. Affirming that it’s natural to have regrets may relieve some of the shame that keeps us frozen.

In a climate of gentle self-acceptance, we can turn our attention to what we might learn from our miscues. Redemption lies not in trying to eliminate regrets, but in using them as a doorway to increase our understanding of ourselves, others, and life itself.

If we made poor relationship choices in the past, we can make better ones in the future. If we hurt someone due to disrespectful or self-destructive behavior, we can commit ourselves to a path of personal growth and mindfulness that increases respect and sensitivity toward ourselves and others. We can consider making amends if doing so is not an unwelcome intrusion. We can work with a therapist or join a twelve-step program to help us move forward. As we make wiser choices, we will have less regrets.

Embracing Remorse

One category of regrets that can be especially troubling is when we’ve hurt others, especially if we’ve done so intentionally. In most instances, it is unintentional. We were acting from an ignorant or unconscious place. We’re hurting inside, so we lash out. We’re may not be fully aware of our motivation. We may want another to feel the pain that we’re in–a misguided attempt to muster some sense of power or justice. We can use our regrets as an impetus to find healthier ways to affirm ourselves, communicate our needs, and set boundaries in a healthy way.

Recognizing that we did our best with the information or self-awareness we had at the time might relieve a substantial burden of our regrets. But it might also be helpful or necessary for emotional healing to notice and embrace remorse for our actions

Remorse refers to a deep moral or emotional anguish for something we’ve done that we deem to be shameful or wrong. It is comparable to healthy shame (as opposed to toxic shame), which gets our attention and can help us orient to life and people in a more attuned way.

Remorse includes a deep, soulful sorrow. This is different than attacking ourselves or clinging to a core belief that we’re bad and don’t deserve love. In fact, toxic shame is often the main obstacle to allowing ourselves to feel sorrow and remorse. If we equate the sorrow of hurting someone with the conviction that we’re an awful person, we’re unlikely to open to our sadness. But if we recognize that a part of the human condition is that we sometimes hurt each other, mostly without realizing it fully, then we’re more likely to welcome the unavoidable sorrows that are a part of life.

If we can find the courage and wisdom to feel the natural sadness of having hurt someone, then we may find a healing pathway for ourselves, as well as a key to repairing relationship rifts. If our partner senses how sad or badly we feel about a hurtful behavior or betrayal, then they’re more inclined to trust that we really “get” it and are less likely to repeat it. Our apologies, when coupled with a deeply felt remorse, are infinitely more powerful than the mere words, “I’m sorry.”

Resting in the cauldron of our sorrow without denigrating ourselves can allow us to become a deeper person, and also to cultivate a more soulful empathy toward others. The redemption of self-forgiveness dawns as we bring gentleness to our sorrow, learn lessons in a deeply felt way, and dedicate our lives to living with greater integrity, honesty, and mindfulness. We can have regrets without being their prisoner. We can make wiser choices and thereby have less regrets going forward.

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Mouse Study Probes How Serotonin Affects Patience

Serotonin is a chemical messenger in the body linked to a wide variety of behaviors, from mood and sleep to cravings and spontaneity.

In a new mouse study, Japanese researchers at the Neural Computation Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) investigated how serotonin might influence one’s ability to stay patient while waiting for a reward.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Communications.

The power of serotonin over human behavior has made it a key focus in the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression, particularly with the use of selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs). These drugs slow down the reabsorption of serotonin and keep it active in the brain.

“Serotonin has had a lot of study in pharmacology, and serotonergic drugs are commonly prescribed, but the role that serotonin has over behavior isn’t clear,” said study author Dr. Katsuhiko Miyazaki. He conducted the study with Dr. Kayoko Miyazaki.

For the study, the mice were trained to perform a task to receive a food reward: place their nose into a small hole and wait — dubbed a “nose poke.” After a predetermined period of time, the reward was delivered.

In a previous study, the research team used a method which allows scientists to use light to stimulate specific neurons with precise timing — this technique is known as optogenetics. The neurons are genetically modified to a produce a light-sensitive protein that are then stimulated by shining light along a fiber optic implanted in the brain.

In the study, serotonin-producing neurons were optogenetically stimulated in a brain region called the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), which outputs widely to the forebrain. The findings show that increasing the activity of serotonin neurons in the DRN significantly extended the amount of time the mice were willing to wait for a food reward.

But would mice respond similarly in circumstances when getting a reward was uncertain? In other words, would mice wait for food regardless of the probability and timing of it turning up, or would they give up?

The researchers found that there are limits to serotonin’s ability to enhance one’s patience — in fact, the certainty of the reward significantly factors into the time a mouse is willing to wait.

For example, the mice were given a nose-poke trial with a 75 percent chance of a reward and a 3-second waiting period before the reward was delivered. When these mice were given no reward, their waiting time was prolonged. However, in tests where the chance of reward delivery following a nose-poke was 50 percent or 25 percent, increasing serotonin had no effect on their’ waiting time.

“The patience effect only works when the mouse thinks there is a high probability of reward,” said Katsuhiko Miyazaki.

The findings show that the relationship between the activation of serotonin and subsequent behavior is highly dependent on the rodents’ belief about the circumstances. These results may have implications for our understanding of how humans taking serotonin boosting drugs can also be affected.

“This could help explain why combined treatment of depression with SSRIs and cognitive-behavioral therapy is more effective than just SSRIs alone,” said Katsuhiko Miyazaki. “The psychological boost of the therapy is enhanced by raised serotonin levels.”

Source: Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology


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Borderline Personality Disorder Symptoms May Worsen With Periods

Symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder tend to worsen just before and during menses, according to a new study.

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image and behavior, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

People with borderline personality disorder often experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety that can last from a few hours to days. Recurrent thoughts and behaviors related to self-injury or suicide are also common, and approximately 10 percent of people with borderline personality disorder die from suicide.

“Our study provides the first evidence that females with borderline personality disorder are at risk for worsened symptoms during the perimenstrual window of their menstrual cycle — the week before and during menses,” said Dr. Tory Eisenlohr-Moul, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and lead author on the paper.

“This is particularly important since people with borderline personality disorder are at a high risk of suicide, so anything that can help patients and clinicians reliably predict changes in their symptoms is very useful.”

Eisenlohr-Moul said she and her colleagues wanted to investigate whether the menstrual cycle might be a contributing factor to the instability of symptoms associated with borderline personality disorder in females.

“While we didn’t expect females with borderline personality disorder to have higher or different hormone levels over the course of the menstrual cycle compared to those without the disorder, we suspect that, similar to females who suffer from severe premenstrual syndrome, women with BPD may simply be more sensitive to normal hormone changes, which we do know have an effect on mood,” Eisenlohr-Moul said.

For the study, the researchers recruited healthy women with normal menstrual cycles between the ages of 18 and 45 who were not taking any psychiatric medications or birth control.

Of the 310 females who met the original screening criteria, 17 met the criteria for borderline personality disorder and 15 women ultimately completed the study. This is the largest prospective study examining cyclical mood changes in patients with BPD to date, according to the researchers.

Participants completed several questionnaires at the beginning of the study related to borderline personality symptoms, past traumas, demographics, anxiety and depression and menstrual cycle symptoms.

Participants kept a record of daily symptoms related to borderline personality disorder and menstruation for 35 consecutive days.

Urine tests for luteinizing hormone and saliva tests for progesterone were used to confirm ovulation and track the phases of the menstrual cycle.

Researchers used the Carolina Premenstrual Assessment Scoring System, a questionnaire for evaluating clinically significant menstrual cycle effects on emotional symptoms, to evaluate whether the patients showed cyclical mood changes large enough to impact their day-to-day functioning.

The study found that most symptoms attributable to borderline personality disorder were significantly exacerbated in the week before and during menstruation.

“Symptoms, on average for the females in our study, worsened by at least 30 percent during the perimenstrual phase,” said Eisenlohr-Moul. “This is equivalent to going from moderate depression to extreme depression on the rating scale.”

For a patient population where almost every day is a difficult day in terms of coping with mood and stress, a 30 percent worsening of symptoms is a very significant uptick, said Eisenlohr-Moul.

“Because this group is at such a high risk for suicide, knowing that things get even worse for them during this time of the month around onset of their period, is a piece of information that we can work with to help prepare patients for a time when we know, based on solid research, that things could get worse.”

The perimenstrual phase of the cycle may be risky for people with borderline personality disorder because levels of estrogen and progesterone fall off rapidly, said Eisenlohr-Moul.

“For some women, or individuals who are freely cycling independent of their gender identity, it may be as though the plug is being pulled on these hormones that we know can help regulate mood,” she said. “Stable levels of estrogen and progesterone can improve mood and have an anti-anxiety effect. When these drop so precipitously around menses, it’s not surprising that some women with trouble regulating mood and emotions have an even harder time.”

Eisenlohr-Moul said she hopes to investigate the impact of hormone-stabilizing treatment on borderline personality disorder symptoms in women in the future.

“If we can smooth out the hormonal peaks and valleys over the course of the month, it would be interesting to see if we can reduce emotional symptoms by eliminating those hormonal triggers,” she said.

The study was published in Psychological Medicine.

Source: University of Illinois at Chicago 

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Study: In US, 1 in 5 Young Adult Deaths Are Opioid-Related

One out of every five deaths among young adults ages 24 to 35 in the United States is related to opioids, with men representing nearly 70 percent of these deaths, according to a new study led by Canadian researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. The study expands on research in Canadian populations.

The researchers calculated that the years of life lost prematurely to opioids in 2016 exceeded those lost each year to hypertension, HIV/AIDS and pneumonia in the U.S.

“Despite the amount of attention that has been placed on this public health issue, we are increasingly seeing the devastating impact that early loss of life from opioids is having across the United States,” said Dr. Tara Gomes, a scientist in the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s.

“In the absence of a multidisciplinary approach to this issue that combines access to treatment, harm reduction and education, this crisis will impact the U.S. for generations.”

The findings, recently published in the journal JAMA Network Open, show that the percentage of opioid deaths in the U.S. increased nearly 300 percent from 2001 to 2016, with one in every 65 deaths related to opioid use by 2016.

This figure varied significantly by age and gender, however. The study found that men represented nearly 70 percent of all opioid deaths by 2016, and the highest burden was among young adults aged 24 to 35 years.

The researchers looked at all deaths in the U.S. between 2001 and 2016 using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) WONDER Multiple Cause of Death Online Database. This database captures death and population estimates across the U.S. by age and gender.

The most dramatic increase in both illegal and prescribed opioid-related deaths was seen in those aged 24 to 35. By 2016, 20 percent of all deaths in this age group were related to opioid use, up from only 4 percent in 2001.

Gomes, who is also a scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Ontario, and her research team found that a total of 1,681,359 years of life were lost prematurely to opioid-related causes in 2016, which exceeds the years of life lost each year from hypertension, HIV/AIDS and pneumonia in the U.S.

“These numbers show us the dramatic impact of opioid-related harms across all demographics in the U.S.,” said Gomes. “We know this is not an isolated public health issue — it is one that spans across North America.”

This study was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and supported by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.

Source: St. Michael’s Hospital


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Expanding the Boundaries of Kink at International Mr. Leather


At the leather contest, I photographed multiple leathermen wearing sexy femme outfits. At the pup mosh, I took pictures of a person whose manly shaved head contrasted their sexy rubber dress and high heels. And in the leather market, I watched a sheepish young man with a scruffy beard try on a leather corset, then beam at his reflection: “I look cute!”

18 6 2

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10 Tips on Reaching Your Life Goals

“Having an aim is the key to achieving your best.” – Henry J. Kaiser

It’s normal to wonder what you want to accomplish with your life. Sometimes such thoughts occur only intermittently, typically at milestone events such as high school graduation, entering college, getting a first job, meeting someone who becomes a romantic interest. Other times, though, you might dismiss any focus on future goals due to a more immediate concentration on what’s happening now. Still, life goals are important, for nothing worthwhile can be achieved without having a plan and working to succeed. These 10 tips on reaching your life goals may be helpful to do just that.

1. View goals as growth and aim high.

Having a goal is part of the growth process in becoming an adult. What’s often underappreciated, however, is what it takes to achieve those goals. It is more than merely thinking of the goal, working on it and then succeeding. One point that’s both straightforward and can make the achievement of even the loftiest goal a bit less formidable is to aim high. There can be immense satisfaction in knowing that the process of goal attainment helps you grow. Another crucial aspect of successfully achieving important life goals is to put into place specific plans to help you realize the goals.

2. Include stretch goals.

Why is aiming high recommended? For one thing, it always helps to have stretch goals. Like it sounds, a stretch goal is one that you know is beyond your current reach, yet it is highly desirable. A stretch goal will require you to put in a great deal of thought, time and effort to be successful. It’s not something easily attainable or a goal that you can do with barely any thought or effort. While some successes you have are accomplishments, most aren’t all that memorable. Stretch goals involve challenges, going beyond your comfort zone, entertaining the possibility that you may be in a little over your head – for now. On the other hand, when organizations set stretch goals for employees, it may serve to undermine organizational performance.

3. Always have several goals.

In line with regarding goals as growth is the recommendation to always maintain a list of several goals. These can consist of starter goals, which can be goals you’re just investigating or want to try to see if they hold your interest, intermediate goals, such as a stepped approach to landing a coveted career, or long-term goals that may include where you want to one day retire, how many children to have, whether a one-on-one relationship is what you want. The reason to have several goals is so that you always have something to work toward that you consider valuable and worthwhile. The more a goal interests you, even if it’s considerably far off, the more motivated you’ll be to put in the time and effort required to see it through.

4. Give careful consideration to goals when planning.

To be truly memorable, and worthy of intense concentration and effort, your goal should cause you to think long and hard about how to approach it, when, where and how to revise or adapt it to changing circumstances, and what to take away from it one you either succeed, stumble, or discard it. For there is always a lesson or two to learn. Those who are most successful in achieving their stretch goals are the ones who’ve taken the time to master the lessons they learned during mistakes.

5. Stagger goals.

When putting your goals into a list, make sure to include a rough timetable for completion. It’s also wise to space out more complex, difficult or time-consuming goals so that you’re not trying to work on more than one of these at once. That’s scattering your focus and depleting your physical, emotional and psychological resources. Besides, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Sure, you can chip away at some of the easier goals to get some successes to your credit, while still putting in appropriate time, effort and attention before or after the no-brainer goals working on your high-value goals.

6. Be realistic, yet adventurous in goal-setting.

Does aiming high include taking risks? You bet. When a goal is stimulating, gets you excited and eager to begin, it’s also likely to contain an element of risk. You might not achieve it, at least not at first try. On the other hand, the journey toward life goal completion is an adventure, as it should be. Do be realistic about the goals you set, while still seeing yourself successful in some seemingly unattainable goals you’d like to master. Besides, research shows that goals that retain your interest can both improve your work and help reduce burnout.

7. Take note of past goal successes.

No matter what your goal, you’ve likely had some experience already in something similar. If not in totality, at least directionally, by aspiration, training, skill or talent. Such successes are the reservoir you can draw from for inspiration, motivation, and lessons learned. They can and will serve you well in any goal you want to pursue in life. You succeeded because you had a plan, persevered despite obstacles, found the lesson in mistakes, and were flexible enough to quickly adapt to changing circumstances.

8. Be flexible in goal implementation and be sure to monitor progress.

Recognizing that you might not fully realize a goal the first time you attempt it, keep in mind that flexibility in how you proceed with goals is crucial to ultimate success. What appears to be a rock solid plan may turn out to be less than ideal. Revision is not only advisable, but necessary. If you’re locked in and refuse to adapt and adjust, you will not only increase your frustration and stress, but you’re also much more likely to abandon the goal altogether. It’s also good strategy to monitor your progress toward goal achievement, as such regular check-ups increase both motivation and likelihood of success.

9. Allow room for error.

You can’t know everything, nor can you anticipate every possible circumstance before working on your goals. Succeeding in important life goals involves acknowledging, allowing and even accepting that you’ll make errors, mistakes, fall short on some aspects, perhaps undershoot the mark. Seniors with cognitive impairment may find themselves making more errors and mistakes than they did when younger, yet they’re still able to work toward life goals and gain a measure of fulfillment from both the pursuit and completion of goals they deem worthwhile. Practice patience, both if you are older and have trouble with concentration, focus and follow-through, or if you are the adult child, sibling, co-worker, friend or neighbor of someone who’s having a tough time succeeding with their goals.

10. Recognize some goals may feel uncomfortable — and that’s good.

Perhaps the best advice on reaching your life goals is to go for goals that are a little disconcerting. That is, they give you a twinge of uncertainty, even feel a bit uncomfortable. Why is that good? You want to strive to achieve goals that are yet beyond your reach. If they’re too easy, or too quickly achieved, you may not gain as much satisfaction, wisdom or advancement from their completion. That’s not to say that quickly-accomplished goals shouldn’t be on your list, just that the ones you really need to work for may be more meaningful to your life goals.

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