Is Your Goal Setting Journey Successful…And If Not, Why?

It’s hard for our minds to stay in the present, and we tend to want a better future. So we set goals. We’re taught this principle with slogans like, “Going for the goal; success is measured by reaching goals; without goals, attempts at success are futile; etc.” Although there are many skeptics about setting goals, we’re a goal setting nation from individuals to large organizations.

According to the World Book Encyclopedia, a “goal is a thing for which an effort is made” or a “thing wanted.” Things you want generally fall into 3 categorieshaving, doing, or being something. Examples: I want to have a patio behind my house, or I want to learn French, or I want to be 10 pounds lighter. Each one suggests a goal. But we’re all different and reaching the goal may or may not involve a specific plan to get there. Some people need prodding, and others don’t. Some of us would not get out of bed each morning without goals for the day, and some of us cringe at having to function with pre-set goals.

“No one knows how far his strengths go until he has tried them.”  ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Goals may be small achievements or life changing, but they all offer an opportunity to learn and grow. And goal setting probably produces rewards more often than not. But it can also go the other way. When successful, it provides a sense of motivation and purpose, with focus, passion, direction, improved self-esteem, and something to look forward to. But for some people, setting goals can be limiting, and may do more harm than good. It can create a sense of ‘I should’, self-doubt, pressure to succeed and fear of failure, too much living in the future and neglecting the present, and feeling unworthy and depressed if they do fail to reach their goals.

“Determine What you want and Why you want it. Once you understand what’s important, you can utilize your Passions and achieve anything.”  ~Brooke Griffin

One size doesn’t fit all, so it’s wise to choose an approach in which you feel comfortable; detailed planning, tentative planning, available doors as you move along, or any method that feels right for you. Whatever your method, get a clear vision of what you want to achieve, why you want it, and how much you’re willing to go through to get it. Then begin creating your process to get there.

I set goals for myself, but I’m not one to map out a way to get there. In my forties, I wanted to work in the Mental Health Field, but had no money for necessary education. I had no idea how I could accomplish such a goal, but I had to do it. So I quit my job, moved to another city, stayed with friends, got another job, and enrolled in school on a loan and later a stipend. While in school, I reached out to some wonderful people for help, I volunteered at seminars for free admission and volunteered at a Mental Health Center to gain experience. And eventually, I had the degrees and training I needed for many happy years doing work I loved. Nothing planned…just opened one door at a time, and reached my initial goal.

“Be stubborn about your goals, and flexible about your methods.”   ~Unknown

If you have a goal and choose to plan ahead, go easy on yourself, and keep your demands reasonable. And to minimize stress, set realistic, flexible standards within your capabilities. Include whatever you will need in each step toward your goal, and list resources for help along the way. Allow for any unforeseen situations that may occur, and be ready to alter your course if needed. Keeping your eye on the goal will keep you motivated. And monitoring the process as you move through it will furnish valuable insight if in the end, you need a second attempt. Don’t give up!

“We can’t become what we need to be by remaining where we are.”  ~Oprah

Do you want to make a change in your life, but scared to take a step forward? Well, choose your goal, and ask someone you trust to stand by you through the change process so you don’t feel alone in a threatening world. Be understanding and patient with yourself. And if you fall back, don’t criticize. You’re stronger than you think, and you can make it. And it could make a difference in your life. Move forward into freedom.

I wish you much sunshine on your journey…

Marilyn Fowler,  Author/Writer of  SILENT ECHOES  ~  Visit Me On Amazon

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Are You Running Your Life or Is Your Life Running You?

Ours is an excessively conscious age. We know so much, we feel so little.”  ~ D. H. Lawrence

We’re living in a time when we’re bombarded with so much information, it’s hard for our brains to digest all of it. So we run through each day trying to sort out what we need in order to function with little time to see where we’re going. In a way, it’s a good thing much of our functioning is based on habits that keep us in line. But on the other hand, it doesn’t give us much room to see beyond those habits. And our wonderful gift of creativity gets lost in the process.

“First we make our habits, then our habits make us.”  ~ Charles C. Noble

The habits we use in adulthood are learned during our childhood years. We take every piece of knowledge from our environment, sift through it, accept and reject, and come up with what makes sense to us or what is expected of us, or both. And the habits we form become our pattern for living. In years past, our innate gift of creativity was nurtured and encouraged. But over the years, in many schools, little time was allowed for creativity. And we’ve learned to survive in a material world where gadgets are the answer to daily functioning…push a button for this and a button for that.

“If you are not consciously directing your life, you will lose your footing and circumstances will decide for you.”  ~ Michael Beckwith

Unless we’ve chosen to live creatively with freedom to direct our own path, we can be swept along by the dictates of current expected behavior. And we wake up every morning to follow our mental ‘to do’ list for that day without question. When unforeseen situations come up, we move into whatever direction they take us and do our best to resolve them with robotic precision. Days end, and we’ve once more fulfilled our mission to solve problems as they arise and maintain our status quo. We’re the sickest industrial nation in the world, and our drug industry is a booming business. We’re supposed to be running our lives, but it appears our lives are running us. And it gets overwhelming.

When you look at your situation, what do you see? Probably work, paying bills, maintaining a home, maybe raising a family, tending to health issues. helping someone close to you. You know…all those having and doing things. Your daily responsibilities are so very important, and maybe you’re reasonably content. But you don’t have to let them dictate the quality of your life.

Walt Whitman said, “I am larger than I thought and more wonderful.” And we are. But sometimes we get so caught up in having and doing things, we forget about being. And life cannot be measured in things. Things are finite…here today and gone tomorrow. It’s intangible qualities that make life worthwhile and memorable…those qualities that express our larger, more wonderful self.

When was the last time you watched a quiet sunset, listened to birds welcome a new day, tasted an apple pie just out of the oven, enjoyed a long conversation with a friend, said a prayer, or experienced a good old-fashioned bear hug with a child and felt the loving energy between you? Have you forgotten? Those blessings don’t happen unless you take the reins and direct your life to include them as a vital part of your busy world. Balance is key in all things, and we can reach a balance between feeding our material needs and feeding our souls…even in today’s gadget world.

“Live your dreams. Create your life. Lead with intention.” ~ Leslie Schwartz

If you feel your life is being run by responsibilities, and you want a more fulfilling life, go within and explore where you are now and where you want to go. Whether you share responsibility with someone or you shoulder it alone, by leading with intention you can create the kind of life your heart wants. Your life is a journey, and you have the power to direct your steps along the way…your way. Be happy, dear one. You are larger and more wonderful than you think.

I wish you a full and happy life.


Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer 

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Approaching The Unknown. Friend-Foe-or Challenge?

HELLO and WELCOME Friends and Readers,

There are things known and things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.”  ~ Aldous Huxley

The unknown…the dark, scary, unknown…that place you don’t want to go…but it’s there…always there…looming in the realm of unanswered questions where anything can happen…and you don’t know what you’re facing. Stress builds, and you’ve gotten yourself into a frightening horror film when a can of soda and a box of popcorn in the latest Mickey Mouse film is really all you’re going to need to survive. have you ever experienced such a trip? This example may be exaggerated, but don’t we sometimes needlessly chew over something trying to resolve an issue in our mind to avoid the unknown?

But we can’t escape. Life is full of unknowns, and not always anticipated. The very next moment from your present moment is an unknown. And events can happen without any warning at all. So relish every precious moment you have. Last year, with no thought of any next moment, I was hospitalized twice for a sudden accident. Now after 14 months, pain is subsiding, and I’m more at ease. But still dealing with nerve damage. And I had no idea anything was coming in that very moment.

Everyone is afraid of something, but usually, we’re not faced with situations attached to dire circumstances. We don’t have all the answers, but outcomes are fairly predictable. And we can calm our fears with some positive reassurance. “It’s okay if I’m a little nervous on a new job; I can find new friends when I move; etc.” We survive these unknowns and move on.

But when we’re faced with a critical situation that could lead to painful repercussions, it becomes a gigantic question we’ll have to answer at some ominous time in the future. We don’t know what path it will take, and we get caught up in ‘what ifs’ over one imagined scenario after another. “How can I cope if my marriage ends in divorce? Where can I go if I end up losing my house? What if I can’t work after surgery? etc.” The outcome rests in the unknown, and stress builds as time passes. What a waste of our mental and emotional resources.

“The fears we don’t face become our LIMITS.”  ~ Robin Sharma

Sometimes our challenges are within our own minds where we can have control. But fear might hold us back from things we want to change in our life, and we refuse to act. At age 47, filled with fear, I left my waitress job and went back to school. It changed my life. Had I not stepped out of where I was, I would not be writing to you now. What would your life be like if you stepped out of what you don’t want and into what you do want? Fear might say, “What if you make a mistake or maybe you’ll fail and look stupid.” But fear is a reason, not an excuse. And in situations like this, you have some power over the unknown.

“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.”  ~Michael Althsuler

Sometimes things happen for which you’re in no way responsible. “Unexpected turn of events, painful loss, a plan falls through, broken promises, someone turns against you, etc.” But that’s life, and you have to deal with it. And while you may not be able to alter an outcome, you can alter your response to it with courage over fear.

It may seem easier to look the other way, but when you stumble, you fall hard. So start by taking a look at your life every day. And if you’re facing a disturbing unknown, prepare yourself now to experience the best response possible given the circumstances. The better you understand what you’re dealing with, the wiser will be your response. Clarify with questions like, “Do I have time to plan; what are my alternatives; is there a way out if I need one; will I be able to function effectively; etc?” Your courage will build as you go along.

“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”  ~John Maxwell

No unknown situation is comfortable. So use your discomfort to move you forward, and grow with each unknown. You’re here for a reason. Step out and find your answers on the other side of fear, knowing that whatever the unknown holds, you have what it takes to find your way.

Blessings in all your Unknowns….

Marilyn Fowler, Author/Writer of  “Silent Echoes”  and  “Me and Granmama in the Hill Country

About The Author:

I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. My professional experience includes Mental Health Team Leader, then Director of Mental Health Services in the Duval County Jail in Jacksonville, Florida; coordinating Mental Health Services in nursing homes, working on inpatient units, and in private practice for a number of years. I teach a class at the University of North Florida on The Influence of Childhood Messages on Adult Life. I enjoy reading, writing, and blogging to help others in their life journey …..

The Depression Pit And The Road To Recovery: Part 2


Some people can respond to their own efforts to recover, but sometimes a person is too weak to do the required pushing for that recovery. Then medication may be necessary until they’re strong enough to participate in the recovery process. This may be a consideration.

 Think about your own situation. In spite of your suffering, you may be strong enough to begin recovery yourself. Either way, support is important, so in the beginning turn to someone close to you who will understand, advise you, and be with you through it. If no support is available, find a good therapist who will be supportive.

“Be not afraid of changing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”  ~Chinese Proverb

If you know deep within that you have the inner strength to rise above your pain and realize the peace you long for, then begin your journey to wholeness. Even with fear, in truth you’re stronger than you think. And you can create miracles.

“Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak knits up the o’er wrought heart and bids it break”  ~Shakespeare

1. Accept and Clarify: Accept depression as where you are now on your journey. Owning the problem and being willing to face it and resolve it weakens its power over you. Now put your feelings into words. Clarify what you’re dealing with and help yourself understand it. If the cause is external, clarify the problem. If it’s internal, ask your Higher Self to reveal what you need to work on.

“I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.” ~ C. G. Jung

2. Intention: State your intention to climb up out of that pit, and you intend to get out one way or another. State your goal. Write down what you choose to create in your life…peace, joy, love, etc.

“For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.”  ~Larry Eisenberg

3. Your Needs: Give yourself permission to be good to you during this process. Meet your commitments, but your main focus now is you. This is your time to heal. Even if you don’t feel like it, use props to raise your mood…music, walking outside, exercise, watch a sunrise, eat ice cream, create belly laughs, whatever it takes.
When you feel overwhelmed with your pain, and you feel like crying, ranting, raving, swearing, etc, don’t hold it back. Let it out, but allot a certain amount of time for this kind of outlet. 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, whatever you decide. Then when the time is up, cut it off, and turn immediately to a planned pleasant activity. Do this as needed, and this need will diminish.

4. Quiet Time: Each day set aside some time to be quiet, and use denials and affirmations. Say aloud, “I deny that this depression has any power over me, and I affirm my ability to rise above and find the freedom and peace I desire.” Repeat this with feeling several times each day. Your inner child is hurting. During your quiet time, talk to your inner child with comfort and love, and reassure him/her that it’s okay now to release the pain.

“Peace is not something you wish for; it’s something you make, something you do, something you are, and something you give away.”  ~John Lennon

5. Help Someone Else: This is one of the most important things you can do to help yourself. Look for ways to help someone else, and give and get hugs, You need them too. Give and accept all the love you can. Love is the greatest healer.


The journey back is not easy, and you may have to start over numerous times. But never give up. The will to life will push you forward and give you the strength you need. You were meant to soar like an eagle. Accept help when it comes, but ultimately you have to flap your own wings. And you can.


I wish you freedom to smile as you soar.

Marilyn Fowler, Author & Writer




Congratulations on getting 200 total follows on The Self-Help Road To Freedom.

Your current tally is 205.

“A very BIG thank you to those who helped me reach
another new milestone here on my blog!”
Marilyn “-) 

The Power Of Choice. A Good Thing Or A Bad Thing? And Does It Help Or Hurt?

In every single thing you do, you are choosing a direction. Your life is a product of choices.
~Dr. Kathleen Hall

We’re given free will, and we have power to make choices. Then we tend to label things good or bad, helpful or hurtful. But the initial outcome of our decisions can be deceiving. What we at first consider a negative outcome can be a blessing in disguise. Our choices take us in many directions. And the process can be complicated.

Formula for choosing: We choose with our mind, our heart, or both, and our formula in this process depends upon many variables. We come into the world with inherent traits, and during childhood those traits are either nurtured or discouraged by our environment. We’re molded into a personality, and what we learn from our experiences influences the way in which we make choices.

Blockages to positive outcomes: In our own unique way, we sometimes create outcomes we don’t consciously intend to create. An impulsive person may make impulsive decisions, and then suffer disappointing consequences. Being fearful of making a mistake can cause hesitancy in choosing. A lack of self-confidence may cause someone to lean too much on the opinions of others, and lose out in the long run. Much depends upon our personal approach.

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.  ~Flora Whittemore

We don’t realize how many hundreds, maybe thousands, of times each day we choose something…coffee or tea, which radio station or TV channel, back door or front, answer that call or not…on and on. And most of the time we don’t say, “I think I’ll choose this instead of that.” We simply choose and then act upon our choice, unaware of the brain and heart activity at the time.You may believe that only the ‘big’ choices are important, like those pertaining to work, relationships, health, finances, etc. The rest is just little stuff. But that little stuff is part of your overall approach to decision-making. And all of your choices determine the quality of your life, with consequences depending upon the importance of each choice.

Choice is strength. Having choice is also freedom.  ~Coulter Watt

And having choice is a blessing. You choose what you want in your life, and you can choose to be happy with a positive attitude. You choose. Then the happier and more satisfied you are, the more good you can bring into your world. Maybe you’re already a good decision-maker but, once in a while, when you create a negative outcome, you can choose to learn from it and find a blessing in that lesson. I used to be an expert in creating painful outcomes from well-meaning choices. And I didn’t see a blessing in any of it. But sheer frustration and 2 years of therapy saved me. Now when I occasionally goof up, I can find the blessing. We’re all works in progress, aren’t we?

So how do we reduce the goof ups?

First step in decision-making: The first step is to train yourself to be a good decision-maker, so you can choose wisely.
1. Get to know how you make decisions. Impulsive, thoughtful, thorough? Clarify your strengths and weaknesses.
2. Notice what you feel when faced with a minor/major decision. Fear, discomfort, confidence?
3. What do you really want in your life? Or not want? Be specific.
4. How much do you trust yourself? Or others? (family, friends, sales people)
5. Think about your past mistakes, and what you might change. How do you handle mistakes? Guilt, anger, let it go, learn from it?

Next step: Choosing.
1. Know the outcome you want, and clarify your requirements.
2. Gather information. Read, ask questions, explore your possibilities and ways to get what you want. Will your choice hurt you or help you?
3. Analyze and compare different choices.
4. Explore your alternatives. Consider outcomes, positive and negative.
5. Now leave your mind, and quietly go within to your intuition. What is your heart telling you? Listen with your full attention.

Now choose, not in fear, but with confidence. You know yourself better, and you’ve done your homework. You’ve learned well, and you will goof less. And you’re blessed.

I wish you many wonderful outcomes  . . .

Marilyn Fowler, Author of  “Silent Echoes” . . .

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How To Bring Abundance Into Your Life

Many of us go through life everyday thinking we must live with whatever life deals out to us. But you don’t need to be content with the status quo. Life can be abundant with love, harmony, health, good relationships, rewarding work, financial security, whatever goodness your heart desires. But it takes daily time, attention and work.

There is only abundance. The only scarcity we have is based upon holding onto certain modes and models.   ~James Arthur Ray

The answer to abundance is within each of us waiting to be tapped into when we know where to look. The Universe functions on energy vibrations, and whatever we manifest depends upon those vibrations, negative or positive. We block our good with low vibration negative thinking. But if we raise our level to a new positive energy vibration with positive thinking, the Universe will answer in kind. Our abundance is already there. We just need to tune into the right vibration and claim it.

Our life journey is usually a mix of positive and negative experiences–rarely all good or bad at one time. But sometimes we’re so absorbed with a difficult issue, we forget about a positive issue that exists at the same time. Recently, I was feeling alone and depressed with a health problem, and I couldn’t see anything but the pain. Then I had a birthday, and so many birthday wishes flooded in I was re-awakened to the abundance of love in my life. Sometimes we need reminders when our mind is focused on lack.

It takes practice to develop a new ongoing mindset so abundance can become a positive ‘yes‘ attitude–not a sometime thought or desire…not maybe someday…but now.

1. Intention: Intention is a powerful tool that puts productive energy in motion. Write a letter to the Universe asking for what you want, and declare your intent to have it. And hold this thought of intention.
2. Inner blocks: Search within for any messages or beliefs that may block your abundance. ie You’re not worthy, you will never have what you want, you will always be poor, you don’t have what it takes, etc. Every time you have such a thought, confront it with an affirmation such as this one by Louise Hay, “I deserve the best, and I accept it now. All my needs and desires are met before I even ask.” You might even write affirmations on file cards to read through the day.
3. Move to the heart: A desire begins in the mind, but it must move to the heart to manifest. So feel your desire and intention in your heart. Make it your heart’s desire, and feel as if you already have it.
4. Focus and Allow: Keep your focus on what you want and envision it in your life. Don’t get caught up in where, when or how it will manifest. You don’t need to know this. Tune in to a state of allowing it to happen instead of forcing it into manifestation. And let the Universe do it.

Expect your every need to be met. Expect the answer to every problem. Expect abundance on every level.   ~Eileen Caddy

5. Expect: Expect your good, and record each instance with gratitude when something you want comes into your life, even in a small way. The energy in acknowledgment and gratitude encourages more abundance to come.

There will be challenges and difficult times, but by raising your energy vibration level something good can come out of each experience, and more good will come into your life. If a sense of lack creeps in, immediately change your focus from lack to plenty and note other areas where there is positive abundance.

Do what you know, and stay with your intention to keep your energy positive. If you slip back, it’s okay. Stay vigilant, start over and keep going. Love your life, and love your efforts to make it better. You deserve an abundant life!

I wish you the blessing of abundance on your journey.. .. ..

Marilyn Fowler, Author and Writer

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I’m a retired Licensed Clinical Social Worker/Psychotherapist. However, retirement is not for me, so I stay busy. I belong to a writer’s group and am active in my church. E-mail me at:

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The Pain of Rejection. What Do Your Feelings Tell You? Part 1

Hello and Welcome Friends,

Everyone knows rejection. We’ve all experienced the feeling. It can be a simple put-down with surface wounds that heal quickly. Or it can wound the soul so deeply, it robs you of your full potential. Maybe once you were a confident, easy-going person, but since the rejection you’re guarded, skeptical, and you feel you’ve lost part of your real self. For long periods of time you may not even think about it, but it’s reflected in different aspects of your daily life, and you carry it with you with no sign of recovery. It sounds extreme, but it does happen.

Children especially need to know love and acceptance, and they’re sensitive to rejection from any source. A child may not be chosen for the team, one child in a family may be left out, they may be called stupid or useless, etc. And scars can be left on young hearts. When I was a child, I moved to a northern city with my southern accent, and my classmates kept asking why I talked funny. I took this to mean I didn’t fit in, and to me that was rejection. I cried sometimes when no one saw me, but in time they got used to my curious speech, and I finally felt acceptable in my new school.

Sometimes rejections come in innocent ways, without intention from others to say or do anything hurtful. Or other times they may be deliberate. Either way, we live with them. Adults may feel rejection in broken relationships, problems at work, being left out, their race or religion, different lifestyles or life situations, any way they’re considered different. Reasons for rejection are numerous and can come from any source with minimal or severe consequences. And we feel the pain.

“The greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity or power, but self-rejection.”
~ Henri 

Rejections from outer sources hurt, but what about the way we reject ourselves with all kinds of inner criticism and fault-finding. Maybe that comes from messages when we believed negative remarks and treatment in our world–messages that said you’re selfish, ungrateful, unworthy, unimportant, incapable, you don’t matter…whatever. We picked up those messages and sent them to our subconscious as truth. Then our subconscious said, “yes“, and spits them up when our buttons are pushed.

Healing begins with self-reflection to expose those rejection messages and regain your strength to erase the scars you carry. You may be familiar with feelings of rejection but not clear about what the message is telling you.

1. Get quiet, close your eyes, and identify any fears, negative beliefs and behaviors you see in yourself. Make a list of whatever you come up with.

2. Now connect a feeling with each one. Examples: (belief) Nobody cares what I have to say, and (feeling) that makes me feel unimportant. Or, (behavior) I don’t ask for help, because (feeling) when I do, I feel selfish. Continue your list, matching feelings with what you see in yourself. And allow yourself to really feel your feelings.

3. Now ask yourself where you got a message that coincides with each entry on your list. Examples: How did I get the belief that nobody cares what I have to say that makes me feel unimportant and rejected? Where did I get the idea I’m selfish if I ask for help? Now put a check mark only by those that have a sense of rejection connected to them. Those are the only ones you will need to deal with in this exercise.

“Never be afraid to fall apart…because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you always wanted.”
~ SoulKu

This may seem like a lot of work, but most people will actually come up with a short list where rejection is involved. And it shouldn’t take much time to clarify the needed information. Next week I’ll get into ways you can begin to confront the messages and change your feelings from rejection to freedom. This week research, and next week heal.

I wish you freedom from the pain of rejection.

Marilyn Fowler, Author


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