Discovering what you really want in life, or how indeed to achieve it, is not always easy. It may even evade you. By Natasha Liviero, Weighless Magazine, April-May 2012, Contributions by Joanna Kleovoulou, Clinical Psychologist, Director PsychMatters Family Therapy Centre

The first rule to a fulfilled life is to make time for what you enjoy most. Those who manage to make a living from their passions may be one step ahead, but even they don’t necessarily have it all worked out! We ask the experts how to overcome four obstacles that plague us all!

Help! I have no direction
If you meander through your days with no clear direction, you are not alone. Many people drift through life with no sense of real meaning or purpose. One way to address this is to ask the question, ‘what are my dreams?’ People tend to be quite rigid in their outlook and put pressure on themselves to be in control of everything. This can make facing crossroads extra challenging. Living in an evolving world means we need to learn to be more adaptable and accept that our direction may change, including career paths and goals. In other words, while a sense of direction is important, we similarly need to be more flexible in seeing the opportunity change provides.

“Two common obstacles I encounter in my practice is the sense of no purpose, and not setting or struggling to set goals for ones future,” says Joanna Kleovoulou, Clinical Psychologist and Director of PsychMatters Family Therapy Centre. Struggling with a solid self-esteem or having an underlying disorder such as depression or anxiety may also impact our emotional capacity to make decisions, as well as affect our ability to focus on clear paths, notes Joanna Kleovoulou, Clinical Psychologist.

So, what can I do? “It’s important to recognize that you are living aimlessly and that you can do something about it,” says Joanna, who offers this seven step guide to help get your life back on track:

  1. You cannot get what you want or move forward if you do not know what you want. If you struggle to address this on your own, a therapist can assist you.
  2. Define your short and longer-term goals.
  3. Focus your daily actions and energy on getting close to these goals.
  4. Become the person that attracts happiness and success, and life will mirror back to you what you are putting your energy into.
  5. Do what you love and love what you do on a daily basis, even if it is unrelated to your life dilemma.
  6. Work on your self-esteem and sense of worth by identifying your limiting beliefs.
  7. De-clutter parts of your life that are holding you back – whether it is getting rid of things or working on emotions and thinking patterns that weigh heavy.

“Become the person that attracts happiness and success, and life will mirror back to you what you are putting your energy into” Joanna Kleovoulou, Psychologist.

Help! I lack assertiveness
Assertiveness is a far-reaching life skill. It facilitates the ability to freely express feelings and ask for what you want (or what you don’t want) in a clear, respectful manner that does not offend others. This enables open and healthy relationships, both at home and in the work place.

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