The Problem with Positive Thinking

Positive thinking is often presented as a panacea for all that is wrong with your life. If only you can think positively hard enough all good things will come to you. Now, I don’t think it’s as simple as that. How many of your dreams have come true and how many have never materialised?

For me the stumbling block around positive thinking is that, on its own, it is not enough. Having dreams and big ideas is essential and I would encourage everyone to think big and ask themselves what they want from life. However, for me the practice doesn’t stop there. You also need to take action rather than simply waiting for your dreams to arrive fully formed. So, here are my tips about achieving your goals.


Ask yourself what it is you want to achieve: is this in a professional sphere, or maybe a relationship goal or achieving work-life balance to stop feeling overwhelmed? Think fully about what you want to achieve and imagine it in as much detail as possible. How will you feel when you achieve it? What will be different in your life? Take time to make this as real as possible.

What’s going to get in the way?

Once you know where you want to go and what you want to achieve, you need to identify what will stop you from getting to where you want to go. Having dreams or goals can be the easy part, but being realistic about what will get in the way and creating a strategy to deal with it is just as important. Is it an internal thought pattern or behaviour that’s holding you back or are there external influences that you need to deal with? At this point, acknowledging what is and isn’t in your control is key. Focus your energy on what you can control and how you can work with or get around those obstacles.

Make a plan

Once you have this knowledge, you can formulate a plan for how to reach your goals that will be realistic and will help you achieve your dreams. This is how I work with my clients. I liken myself to their own personal cheerleader, someone who is permanently in their corner cheering them on, helping them get past any obstacles on the way, and keeping them on track. Having a plan will take the pressure off and help you to feel that you are moving in the right direction. Also, check that you are still excited about your dreams, if not, maybe you need to tweak things or identify another dream.

So why not have a go and see where your dreams can take you.

I was excited today to come across the work of Gabriele Oettingen, which backs up how I work with my clients. She has a framework called WOOP, which stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan and can be applied to many situations. You can find out more at

If you want to find out more about me contact me and we can chat.