When you’re planning a trip, it is more efficient to focus on the roads you want to travel, not the ones you want to avoid. Sure, you may make decisions to skip certain routes that are too long, too dangerous, not interesting enough, or ones that are simply impractical. If you’re driving from Los Angeles to Denver, you generally don’t want to go by way of Orlando. You can waste a lot of time if you worry about routes that include Orlando once you’ve decided to not go there.
You have many options for how to move through life, and you can waste a lot of time worrying about where you don’t want to be or what you don’t want to do. That’s energy and effort that could be used to get you to where you do want to go.
Don’t want to get into a relationship with someone like your parent/you ex/a person who hurt you? Fantastic to have that knowledge. Focus on the positive traits that you seek. “Not a liar” becomes “truthful and open,” and then get specific on how you’ll be able to recognize that. What does “not an alcoholic” mean in terms of drinking or abstaining?
Don’t want to end up in a dead-end job? What does the opposite mean to you, then? Do you need a job with the chance to keep earning more and more money? With more promotions? With greater opportunities to express yourself intellectually or creatively? What are the positive traits of the job you’re seeking?
Thinking about starting a new endeavor, but you’re worried it won’t be a success? Define what success looks like. Instead of focusing on “not being a failure,” figure out what you can accomplish that defines “not a failure.” And don’t convince yourself that doing things perfectly is an adequate definition.
If you want to lose weight and are not going to eat highly refined foods, what will you eat? No ice cream for dessert? What will you eat?
If you don’t know where you’re going, then how do you know when you get there? You could waste a lot of time driving around side streets or zooming down the freeway in the opposite direction. Success via avoiding Orlando is not a good road map to Denver. The same is true of where you want to go in life.
Getting specific will help you to figure out the route that will help you get there. You may chose and discard routes along the way, have to consult your GPS again to get back on track, but you’ll improve your ability to do that if you don’t spend so much time worried about ending up in Florida when where you really want to be is in Colorado.