Figure Out What's Next

Ten Steps to Personal Reinvention

career change nancy irwin purposeful living Jan 07, 2010
woman psychologist

by Nancy Irwin

photo by cvpericias

Dr. Nancy Irwin offers tips for motivation, mission and goal-setting

Excerpted from You Turn: Over 40 Stories from People Over 40 

1. The word motivation comes from the Latin “to move.” Self-motivators start their own motors. The mistake many make is to wait until they feel motivated before they act. That’s like waiting for your car to start itself before you drive it. YOU make your motivation. Certainly, fear can be a great motivator, but that generally is an external force. You can poke a hole in that phantom fear by motivating yourself.

2. Break your process down to simple steps and figure out just what putting the key in the ignition would be.

3. Create a mission statement for yourself: What is the point of your goal? How will it serve humanity?

4. From that mission statement, it should be easy to know what your values are. The mission is the purpose of the trip: the values are the wheels that get you there.

5. Write out your short-term goals. Your mission is the big picture; now plan the short-terms goals that keep you moving toward your destination.

6. Check in with yourself periodically. Reward or at least acknowledge yourself for how far you’ve come. Honor ALL progress, no matter how slow it seems. Remember, we get whatever we focus on, and if you focus on how slow or behind you are, you’ll only create more of the same.

7. The actress and great wit Carrie Fisher says, “If my life weren’t funny, it’d be true.” This is a woman who has been diagnosed with a serious mental illness—bipolar disorder. She continually finds a way to turn pain into humor. Can you use humor and laughter to get a new perspective on your situation?

8. Celebrate all milestones and wins along the way.

9. Share your success and your road stories with others. Remember where you started … that is your unique path. No one else’s is quite the same.

10. Set new goals. It is human nature to always yearn for something, even if it is simply rest and reflection. Many people who find success very young end up tanking because they don’t know how to set new goals. They imagined their goal was the end of the road. Success is always a starting point. Great people keep expanding.

A pre-licensed psychologist and clinical therapeutic hypnotist, Dr. Nancy Irwin is in private practice in Los Angeles, and is also a busy public speaker for Children of the Night, the Rape and Incest National Network, and Planned Parenthood. She’s been quoted extensively in Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Women’s World, and others, and has appeared on numerous radio and TV shows, including The Greg Behrendt Show, My Fair Brady, The Eddie Griffin pilot, The Fashion Network, Blind Date to name a few. Learn more at Dr. Irwin's website.


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