How to keep your goals in focus

If you are feeling regret over unreached goals, thought records are a good way of evaluating what went wrong and how it can be changed. Psychologist Cecilia d’Felice explains how you can create your own

 } by Psychologies

'Creating a thought record helps refresh your mind and outlook on a situation,' says Dr Cecilia d’Felice. 'By mapping out the issues involved, the thought record will give you a way to stop the problem from going round and round in your head with no resolution.'

1. Start by drawing a map. Divide a piece of paper into columns with the following headings: Situation, Feelings, Thoughts and Challenges.

2. Describe the situation you are in. In this column, describe the situation you’d like to change. If you want to have a more loving relationship with your partner, for instance, you might describe the issues you are facing by asking questions: do you sleep in separate rooms? Do you eat separately or together? How do you relate to each other?

3. What do you feel? In the next column note down your feelings about those issues: ‘I feel sad, I feel lonely, I don’t feel listened to, I feel relief that we don’t interact.’ Feelings can be conflicting.

4. What do you think? In the thought column write what goes through your mind: ‘he/she doesn’t love me any more, we are not friends any more, I wish things could be better.’

5. Challenge what you see. Now, challenge these thoughts. Is it really true that he/she doesn’t love me? Ask yourself what’s truly going on. For example: ‘We had a really nice drink together.’ Look for evidence for or against your thoughts.

6. Take on a new perspective. Finally, once you have set it all out, you can now try approaching the situation from a different perspective: ‘I’m going to send a loving text now and we’ll spend the evening talking.’  

More information:

Read Dr David Hamilton's Why you should write your goals down on LifeLabs

Read The power of perseverance by Susannah Hebden Moore on LifeLabs