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You won’t achieve your goal if you stop moving forward

Once you achieve success, psychotherapist says, create a new goal so you have something to work toward

We tend to give ourselves more grief than anyone else gives us. Some people might believe beating themself up will help them achieve their goals, but are they are actually enjoying their journey or just trying hard to get to the end?

The truth is, happiness comes from moving toward what you want — not from getting it. So the moment you reach a dream, you need to create a new one. This allows your psyche to have something to anticipate, and it creates more serotonin in the brain, which allows you to feel more joy.

Summertime is a great time to get inspired. You may be about to take a vacation or just getting back from one. If you’ve just returned from a pleasure trip — and hopefully it met many of your expectations — it’s never too early to start planning the next adventure. That way you’ll have something to be excited about and build on. Every little plan or idea is a new source of pleasure. It’s a simple process with great results.

The same principle holds true for moving toward what you want in your work life and in relationships. Whether your goal is to find a new job or to get into a different line of work, it’s important to keep moving toward that goal. If it just stays in the back of your mind, as something that might happen if you were in the right place at the right time, you will be disappointed. You need to take steps — perhaps not everyday, but regularly — toward what you want to achieve.

Sending out resumes is obviously very important in any job search, but it is equally important to do some networking. Many people forget to do this, especially if they already have a job. When you put yourself out there and meet new people, who knows what will happen? As you seek a new opportunity, you will become more aware of what is going on in your community and in your industry. All of this will make you feel more empowered and give you some extra energy to find your dream job.

Similarly, with relationships, Prince or Princess Charming will not knock on your door or magically text you out of the blue. It’s important you put yourself in a position where you can meet people, hopefully with some common interests.

If you like working out at the gym, there are always moments —while waiting for a machine or taking a break — where you can get into a little conversation. Work-related events can also be a good place to meet new people, so don’t just hide behind your computer screen; let the people at your job know you exist. A great way to get attention is to bring in some food. A box of doughnuts and some light conversation could get you a date with someone you know but with whom you’ve never really spoken.

Finding a relationship is like finding a job in that you have to do something about it regularly to reach your goal. With the vast availability of online dating websites, you may choose to go that route, which is also fine. But please be careful. I recommend doing a background check on anyone you are considering dating. That being said, when looking for potential partners, the process of finding someone you might like will give you a little lift.

You may experience disappointment, but you will find more happiness moving toward your goal than doing nothing but waiting for all your dreams to miraculously come true.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books, and a blogger for PsychologyToday.com with nearly 35 million readers. He is available for in-person and video consults worldwide; reach him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com

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