And the rest of the story.

1. Long-term goals are valuable even if you don’t pursue them now.
Where is the value? If you ignore them completely, what will they do for you? If you don’t forget them completely, you are using up some brainpower to keep them. You probably have something more valuable to do with that brainpower. Like putting it to work on more urgent goals.

2. If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
Who runs the definition of well? If you run that definition for yourself, doing a thing well probably means doing it in a way that meets whatever goal led you to do it. That may not be what somebody else means by well. But that won’t bother you if you know what your goal was.

3. The key to success is in your ability to focus.
Does it matter what you choose to focus on? Not unless you want to choose what success you get the key to. You will probably succeed in what you focus on over the long haul. But whether you call that success will depend on where your focus took you.

4. The key to your long-term goals is self-discipline.
Or is that just the way it looks to other people? What looks like self-discipline from a distance is just a swarm of habits. Built one habit at a time. The only advantage in calling it self-discipline is that it sounds like a natural gift that way. Call it a habit and you know they had to work for it. Then you know that people who don’t have it haven’t worked for it.

5. The key to success is will-power.
And what is the key to will power? There are thousands of steps to any success. And when you put those steps together right, it looks like will-power. One of those steps is figuring out where you want to go. Another is planning the route. Step by step. Key by key.

6. Procrastination is a personal defect.
Or is it just a habit in need of adjustment? After all, some people consider impulsiveness as a personal defect, too. Procrastination and impulsiveness are both timing problems. Maybe they j are ust ineffective timing habits. Habits can be hard to change, but not as hard as personal defects.

7. The way to avoid stress is to learn how to relax.
And the way to avoid hunger is to learn how to not be hungry? No. You eat. The way to avoid stress is to deal with what stresses you. Maybe you solve problems. Maybe you give up goals as unreachable. Maybe you figure out how to make lemonade out of that lemon you got. Maybe you come to terms with the discovery that you don’t always control your world. Maybe you call those things learning how to relax.

8. People can build self-confidence by telling themselves how good they are.
Only if they have enough self-confidence to believe what they tell themselves. People can undermine self-confidence by telling themselves how ineffective the are. But if you want to build your self-confidence, you will probably do better by noticing what you are good at. Maybe noticing what you are getting better at. Maybe deciding what you want to get better at. Maybe noticing that you get better at something when you decide to get better at it. That’s harder than talking to yourself. But probably more convincing.

Author's Bio: 

S. H. Evans was Professor of Psychology at Texas Christian University and an independent consultant in behavioral research. Now retired, he works with Dr. D. F. Dansereau, Professor of Psychology at TCU. They maintain a free website based on work by the Applied Cognitive Research Lab at TCU. This site,, provides simple, commonsense tools for self-improvement, self-direction, learning, and other psychological fixes.