Do you know what you want Ask Dr. G
Written by Doctor G

do you know what you want?


There are birthdays coming in the next few weeks for a couple of the people I love the most. That’s lead me to spend some time thinking about what I can do to celebrate each of them, and also to a bit of (ok a lot of) asking “What do you want?” in order to get them a gift that they will actually like. Do you do that? Do you ask your people what they want for a gift or do you guess? Or, as it happens in my world, do you ask, get told “I don’t know!” and then have to guess anyway. 

Also (and here’s another insight into my twisty brain) I connect music to my thoughts all the time. Add to that, last week one of my sons was in his middle school’s musical Into the Woods and so I’ve of course had the song If You Know What You Want (OK, it’s actually calledCinderella at the Grave) in my head on a loop. Which got me to thinking…

All of resilience is based on knowing what you want.

Resilience is the ability to navigate change with purpose and intention towards a goal. Something I think we don’t focus on enough is How do you pick your goal? It’s a skill, actually (one of the 8 resilience skills) to be able to figure out in any situation what you want at the end of it. Getting to that goal may also be challenging, but you will definitely NOT get there if you can’t even imagine what it is. 

When you face a change – whether it’s getting some vacation days or a parking ticket or a bad diagnosis – a crucial step is to decide what you want at the end of it.

  • For your vacation – is the goal to end up relaxed? Excited? With new stories or a clean kitchen or a peaceful mind? 
  • For your parking ticket – is your goal to stand up for yourself in court? To pay it and be done? To postpone it til you have the money or pay it in parts?
  • For your diagnosis – is your goal to beat it? To learn from it? To use it to change your trajectory?

If you’re not sure what you want, in any situation, you can build this skill. Think of a change you’re facing right now that is causing you some stress. If it’s an unavoidable or useful change, ask yourself “What’s my goal with this?” And if you’re still not sure talk to someone you trust. Do a little research to see what’s possible. Or schedule in some time to take a walk or sit and think about it.

To quote Stephen Sondheim in Into the Woods… “Do you know what you wish? Are you certain what you wish is what you want?”

What’s a goal you have right now? Comment and tell me! And also, if you have any suggestions for birthday gifts for 21- or 49-year-old guys, let me know!

Lastly, many of us are celebrating holy days this week. And so I wish you (in order of appearance in history) Chag sameach, Ramadan Mubarak, Happy Easter.

All my best,

Dr. G

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A widely recognized media personality, Dr. G is your go-to expert on resilience. Countless broadcast outlets rely on her contagious humor and illuminating stories to tackle tough topics. She is regularly seen on TV, as well as interviewed for print and digital outlets. Here, she’s answering your questions. Search for the answers you need, or ask her your question now!
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