Too often we know much more about what we “don’t want” than about what we “do want.” If we stop there — aware only of our dissatisfaction — we won’t know how to change. Consequently, we are prone to return to the safe haven of the familiar — those old patterns of thinking and behaving that we have already effectively proven to be ineffective. Try this instead: once you determine what you don’t want, develop specific goals, and set your sights on those specific goals.
Any motivational speaker will tell you that in order to succeed; you must be open to the positive. Learn to see — and to seek — the greater possibilities. Take the time to develop clear images of your goals. Take the risk to practice expecting positive outcomes. When necessary, make use of a simple slogan heard repeatedly in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous: “Fake it ‘til you make it.” Look to the past only as long as it takes to learn the lesson. Once you identify what you don’t want, put into words, and into a visual image, what you do want. Establish a direction.
Knowing that you want to leave a place (or circumstance) is only the beginning. If I tell you simply that I want to get up from this chair, you won’t have very much information about my plans. Do I just need to stand up and stretch my legs before I sit back down and type some more? Do I plan to leave the room? Maybe I intend to leave town. But leave town to go where? Without knowing where I want to go — what I want instead of what I have — I will remain aimless.
The same principles apply to any change that you or I desire. Think about the times when you have known what you didn’t want, but were not aware of what you wanted instead — an unsatisfactory relationship or job for instance. What did you do in those circumstances? Did you complain? Did you just build a higher tolerance for your dissatisfaction? Wouldn’t it have helped to have some direction?
It has been said that life is a journey, not a destination. I like this one better: “Life is a journey with many destinations.” When you decide that a change is needed, have a destination in mind.