Power in the Positive

Think Positive4Written by, Katie Wilson Ferguson

I’ve read several self-help books and attended many workshops and seminars. The most beneficial thing I learned is how to cope with fear and consequently build my confidence. I also learned helpful goal-setting techniques. In my opinion, overcoming fear and setting goals go hand in hand since fear has often stopped me from accomplishing tasks in the past. As Robert Allen said, “Everything you want is just outside your comfort zone.”

In my last article, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, I discussed how I overcame some fears by writing about the outcomes I wanted. I used the same principles I use when setting goals. Here are five of my favorite techniques:

1. Only set goals you truly desire.

Don’t worry about what others want you to accomplish. Limit your goals to what will bring you true happiness.

2. Write your goals down.

It’s been proven time and again that people are more likely to accomplish goals they put in writing. Goals should be written in present tense so they don’t become a thing of the distant future.

3. Focus on the positive outcome.

This is my favorite technique and I believe it’s the most important. Focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. Our minds think in pictures. If I tell you to not think of a purple pony, what do you picture? A purple pony.

I’d rather focus on the goal of a toned waistline than the goal of eliminating belly flab. Those two goals have similar meaning, but one brings a more motivating picture to mind. The more we focus on what we want rather than what we’re trying to avoid, the more powerful the goal becomes.

In my last article, I mentioned I wrote my fears down. But I quieted those fears by writing about the positive outcomes I wanted. I wrote “I am able to transfer (my dad) safely and with confidence” rather than “I don’t drop and injure my dad.”

4. Attach emotions to the goals.

Emotions add fuel to our goals. Attaining a toned waistline becomes more exciting when you add: “I feel fit, energetic and comfortable in all my clothing with my toned waistline.”

5. Reward yourself.

Achieving goals becomes a fun and motivating experience when we track our success and reward ourselves. We, of course, need to review our goals often so we can track our progress.

Time for Reflections


Christopher, Jen, Katie, Eldin
Mark and Barbara – 2013

The hustle and bustle of Christmas is over. Now my thoughts turn to the New Year. Eager for new beginning, I’m filled with hope for a successful year. My goals are similar to last year’s with renewed faith that I can do better.

As I reflect on this past year, I did not reach my goals—I’m still not punctual; I’m still over weight, and I did not write the book I’d planned. It’s remarkable I don’t give up on these goals. I must truly believe that I have not failed until I quit trying. Life is interesting and rarely goes the way I planned. However, I do believe setting goals, is the strongest force for self-motivation.

Although I did not reach my goals, there were small victories, pointing me in the right direction. I did take a writing class to improve my writing skills, January through May and I did get two chapters written and edited. I also joined the American Night Writers Association, and I’m a part of the Salt Lake Storytellers Chapter. I have learned a lot about writing and publishing, and I realize I have a lot more to learn. I have put my book goal aside for now to concentrate on my blog and writing technique. Some time in the future, I plan to use my blog articles to help me complete my book.

Another victory, not on my goal list, was keeping up with my job as an account manager for Earthwork Property Management. I have deadlines for specific tasks for my job, and do not think of them as goals, but I’m relieved every time I meet the deadline—especially this past summer, while Mark was hospitalized twice for blood clots. He also became very weak and was released from the hospital only to be admitted to a rehab center for three weeks in August. This consumed much time and energy. Most of the hours in a day were spent by Mark’s side, but I was still able to achieve the important tasks of work. As I look back on those months, I should have felt more pleased at the accomplishment of meeting each deadline instead of just relieved.

The only known cause for these blood clots is Mark’s inability to be active. He did receive eight weeks of home health therapy after returning from the rehab center but now, it’s all up to me to make sure he gets the exercise he needs. To prevent more blood clots, he takes an anticoagulant. This affects his diet which requires better meal planning on my part. More exercise and planned meals is an important goal for 2014 improved health.

Goals take work and constant planning. When life keeps messing up plans, it’s discouraging and easy to think, why make plans? I don’t plan for seizures, illness, accidents or hardships, but they still happen.

I agree with Harvey Mackay, who said, “If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.” I don’t want to waste time on regret, or become discouraged over the major goal not accomplished. Instead I should recognize the minor victories. This new year, I plan to break down my goals into obtainable pieces and allow myself to feel joy for every small success.

While striving to reach goals I want to remember—faith, family and friends come first. It may take longer to accomplish the goal when putting them first, but they are most important and make all goals worthwhile.

I’m so grateful for new beginnings which encourage me to recommit to another year of self-improvement.