Men Without a Rudder: Dealing With Unclear Goals

Feel like you’re lost and wandering through your life? Envious of those who seem to have a clear route to their own personal success? Many men I speak with feel this way, and blame not knowing what they want, or having unclear goals. Goal setting is difficult when you don’t know what the goal is in the first place. It can be difficult to get somewhere in your life without having a laser focus set on things you want, whether that’s into a good relationship, better muscle tone, or finally buying that home you’ve wanted.

Does this describe you?

  1. Feel fuzzy and not sure what you really want
  2. Appeal to other’s versions of success, either for you or for themselves
  3. Not sure what you get fun or pleasure from
  4. Have negative self-messages about success
  5. May be afraid of success
  6. Just lazy? Or playing a victim?

I think the most important step towards dealing with unclear goals is to identify and understand those road blocks which get in the way of your forward motion. There are others that claim (haphazardly) to just “push through it” and start making goals, and accomplishing them. “No excuses” is the mantra, which doesn’t really tackle the problem at hand, nor honor the stuck place we get into as men.

Here’s some rocks to start turning over to help you deal with unclear goals:

  1. How do you prevent yourself from having what you want in your life, whether that’s more variety in your personal life, a different career, or a change in behavior (decreased alcohol use, quit smoking, eat better).
  2. What negative patterns from your parents have you picked up? Did you have a parent that limited themselves, and if so, how do you repeat that pattern?
  3. What did you do as a child that you loved to do? Are you doing those things, or something similar, today? Why not?
  4. If you could put yourself in the right ___________________, what would that look like? What are the barriers to get there (list them out with a brainstorming session)
  5. How do you talk to yourself? Positively? Critically? Start paying attention to the language you use with yourself, and see if you get caught in criticizing yourself and stopping yourself from moving forward.
  6. Does fear (of success, of failure) play a role in your unclear goals. How does this limit you?

Getting in touch with our goals is, by default, a process of getting in touch with ourselves. If we can learn to tune into ourselves, and listen for what we want and how we talk with ourselves, we develop better awareness to deal with the barriers we have often self-imposed on our forward motion. You may need some professional help, and as someone who specializes in Phoenix therapy, I work with guys to unstick themselves. Call me, or e-mail me, for more information about how to help unstick yourself, and get to work on the goals that are right there for your taking.


About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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