We have all had times where our best plans get thrown off course. Things outside of our control
– pandemics, inflation, layoffs, you name it – change our outlook from one moment to the next.
It can be overwhelming and even disheartening when new hurdles make our dreams seem that
much farther away. But when life presents setbacks and challenges multiply, it becomes more
important than ever to strategize for success – in health, in relationships, in work, and in life.

Strategizing for success is more than repeating positive affirmations while waiting for a
storm to pass. It is a decision we make to acknowledge the storm and plan a way through it. We
do it when we sort things out in a journal before bed, examine our problems in therapy
sessions, and find shared aspirations in conversations with those close to us. Moments like
these are opportunities to step outside of our daily cycles and obtain a broader perspective on
where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we’re going.

Strategizing takes focus, concentration, and brutal honesty. Often it requires that we
willingly confront the things troubling us most. Taking stock of where we’re at, courageously
envisioning where we desire to be, and charting a course to get there is how we renew our
motivation to forge ahead when things get rough. Also, it has been said that a person traveling
alone will go fast, but people travelling together will go far. Strategizing for success can solidify
plans for personal wellbeing, but it is even more powerful when we include the wellbeing of
those around us.

Success is an experience, not a material possession. It is a journey, not a destination. It is
an inner change that we pursue in hopes of improving the outer world. It is not about getting
one up on someone else. It is about becoming more today than we were yesterday. Whether
we are pursuing better health through exercise and food choice, better mental health through
therapy and self-care, better relationships through communication and action, or better

contributions to the world through skill learning and meaningful work, success comes when we
recognize how our intentions and efforts can lead to growth we never imagined possible.

What does success look like in the coming day, week, or year? How can the inevitable
challenges ahead be overcome? How can we work alongside others to achieve success beyond
ourselves? These are questions that require us to set aside our social media, our news, our
work, and our duties for just a moment as we grab a pen and paper, enter a therapy session, or
sit down with a close friend, and strategize for success.

Written by Louis Nicholas, Graduate Student in Mental Health Counseling