Planning for the Future while Recognizing the Present

While I was reading one of my textbooks for class, I read a statement that said some of the models used in therapy and research are not effective use for certain groups of people, such as people of color, people of various gender identities, people who are not heterosexual, people from lower socioeconomic areas, people with disabilities, etc. because some of these models/theories do not address the unique needs of each of these populations. Reading this statement made me think, “I want to revamp a therapeutic model to make it applicable to at least one of these populations.” Then I thought, “Greatttt, something else to add the long list of career plans. You just don’t stop, do you?” Then I decided to write down everything I am interested in doing as a mental health professional.

Normally I do not write down or make a big deal about goals as you can read about in my For the New Year post  but I need to start to keep a record of everything I plan to do cause honestly, I forget sometimes. At first, I was going to keep it to myself, but I decided to make a blog post about it. Usually, I am the type of person who will not say what I plan to do, I just get up and work toward it. Currently, I am learning that sometimes talking about my plans could help people to get to know me better and I could gain some valuable insight. I still do not really see the point of constantly announcing my upcoming plans, but I do believe in speaking things into existence among the right people. Now I may or may not accomplish all of these. As time pass and I continue to grow, I may no longer want to do some of these or want to do something else. But for now, here is what I want to do as a mental health professional:

  • Earn my license as a professional counselor then later as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
  • Provide therapy for children, adolescents, and teenagers from underrepresented populations, such as children of color and children from lower socioeconomic status.
  • Contribute to revamping a model to make it more applicable to at least of one of the population previously mentioned.
  • Ted Talk/Speaking Engagements/Interviews/Panel Discussions
  • Membership in professional associations/organizations
  • Own a private practice/Be a director of an agency
  • Collaborate and work with other professionals to conduct workshops
  • Conduct group sessions for teenage girls of color
  • Contribute to a publication in a peer review journal at least once
  • Earn a trauma certification
  • Earn a crisis and suicide preventative certification
  • Complete Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Training. It is a form of treatment to help those who have experienced trauma. It is pretty recent compared to other forms of treatment that has been around for decades. I am still researching and learning about it.

Yes, I am fully aware that all of these are very time consuming and will take a lot of effort, but I have always been ambitious. Also my work ethic is quite amazing if I should say so myself. If you know me personally, you would have witnessed it. I have always made big plans and accomplished all of them unless I decided that I no longer wanted to continue with them. They never happened over night, but they eventually got done/getting done. There are plenty of people in the field who has taken on multiple roles and done various activities throughout the span of their careers. Plus, I am young, and I have the time to plan/figure everything out.

I also decided to make a list of the things that I am already doing/working towards. While we are thinking about the future, I think it is important to recognize everything that we are doing in the present and give ourselves some credit. It’s good to think about where you want to be, but you should be proud of where you are now. I have a habit of not doing this. My brain is always focused on my next move to the point when I do achieve something I do not properly take time to celebrate it and myself. For example, I graduated college with multiple honors, awards, and numerous research projects and experiences. At graduation, I did not fully recognize everything I did in the past four years because I was too busy focusing on graduate school. Over the past couple of months, I have been creating a habit of celebrating myself more in the present moment. Here are some of the things that I am currently doing/working towards:

  • My master’s in clinical psychology
  • Blogging
  • Volunteering in the mental health field
  • Research projects and presentations
  • Advocating and spreading awareness
  • Attending professional conferences
  • My never-ending role as a student since there is something always new to learn
  • Challenging multiple stigmas against mental health
  • Networking
  • Participating in school organizations/clubs
  • Making my mom proud

Time to Focus on You:

  • Write a list of everything you want to do. Everything that catches your interest and that you could see yourself committing to in some form. You do not have to fully think out every single detail at the moment. You do not have to committed to everything for the rest of your life. As I said before, you may change your mind and no longer want to do something. That’s fine. Make sure when you are writing this list, you dream big. Go wherever your mind takes you at the moment. Do not think about “In x years I want to do this.” Just go with the flow of your thoughts. Putting a time limit could put pressure on yourself. I want this to be a moment similar to when you were a child and you said you wanted to a teacher, astronaut, doctor, and singer all at the same time when you grew up. Your imagination should be going wherever it wants to go during this activity. Later you can find out the details and next set of steps. For now, just have fun.
  • Next write a list of all of past accomplishments and/or things that you are currently working towards. Find a way to reward yourself.
  • Finally share both lists with at least one trusted person and/or make a blog post about it (let me know if you make a blog post, I want to read it). Your lists could be related to anything in your life, it does not have to only focus career goals or even include any career goals. It can be whatever you want.
Disclaimer: This post is career focused and does not tap into other aspects of my life. If I was to write about all of the other aspects of my life and related aspirations this post will probably be about five pages long. I may make a separate blog post about my non-career and non-school related aspirations.


Photo by Kelly Sikkerma on Unsplash

19 thoughts on “Planning for the Future while Recognizing the Present”

  1. Nia, what a great post! I am now motivated to a write a list of my goals, as well as what I’m currently working on now. I think it’s great to plan for the future as well as to reflect and absorb what is happening now. P.S. I love this – “making my mom proud” ♥️♥️♥️ so sweet. Much love!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved this post. I got energized reading your lists! I am currently reading a book called Essentialism by Greg McKeown about teasing out where you really want to put your energy. It’s one of those few books that changes the direction of your life. I wish I read it at your age. I just wrote a post similar to yours about priorities, but from the perspective of midlife. All I can say is stick to your plan. Life will try to crowd it out. Your doing great work and inspiring people!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ohh gosh, thank you so much! 🙌🏽🙌🏽That sounds like an interesting, I’m going to add it to my booklist. And I will check out your post, I would love to read about a different perspective

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you so much for this post. This is just the push I needed, just like you am so concentrated on what next and my ambitions. Just been slacking behind for a while but damn girl am picking things up on a whole new level

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yayyy that’s great to hear! I’m glad you found this motivational. I wish you the best of luck and don’t forget to celebrate yourself from time to time!


  4. I am overly organized with writing and thinking out my goals and how I can achieve them. It helps me because I’m not good at following through and I change my mind all the time. I’m definitely inspired to blog about my goals. Good luck with yours!

    Liked by 1 person

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