By American Counseling Association
Special to Valley News 

Develop a realistic approach to life


Last updated 7/12/2018 at 6:39pm

Everyone, in their younger days, had dreams and hopes about the things that would bring success and happiness to their lives. But for many people the dreams and goals that they once had just never came to be.

It doesn’t mean they’re unhappy in their lives today, but at some level they may still feel slightly frustrated or disappointed about what they haven’t achieved.

While there’s no magic way to make all their dreams come true, people can take action to get closer to their life’s goals and lessen any feelings of frustration.

They should start by putting the past behind them. Unresolved anger and resentment over things that didn’t work out uses up energy but accomplishes nothing. Instead, they need to begin managing their daily life so that it reflects who they are and what they value today.

Then they should evaluate their old dreams and goals. There is, for example, no “ideal” romantic relationship or “perfect” mate. But there can be someone who can accept and care about the real them and who is able to get things right more often than not. Similarly, there’s no perfect job but there are work situations that can challenge someone and provide a real sense of accomplishment.

Knowing themselves is vital to feeling more fulfilled. Identify personal strengths and interests and put time and energy into nourishing them. They shouldn’t try to be someone they’re not. Whatever they do well, if they do it frequently and proudly, they’ll find that rewards will follow.

To achieve specific goals, it’s vital to take action toward them, rather than simply dreaming about them and waiting for something to happen. Small steps in the right direction make a difference – maybe a first phone call, rewriting a resume or taking a class. Reaching the desired result will happen only if someone takes that first step.

They should also want balance in their life. Saying “no” to excessive demands on their time, talents or goodwill will allow time for the things they really want to do, without the resentment and anger that comes from agreeing to things they don’t want to do.

Reaching life’s goals means someone stops letting old beliefs and others’ ideas define who they are and what they have to do. Instead, they must accept that the only person who can take action to reach the dreams and goals that matter is them.

Counseling Corner is provided by the American Counseling Association. Send comments and questions to [email protected] or visit the ACA website at


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