Do Your Goals Support Your Values?

If you’re struggling to be as successful as you’d like to be, there’s a great chance that a discrepancy exists between your goals and your values. If our goals are antithetical to our values, success is all but impossible. We don’t like to behave in ways that are counter to our values. If a mismatch exists, something has to give.

If you’re forever coming up short when it comes to achieving your dreams, your values might be at odds with your goals.

Use these techniques to set goals that support your values:

  1. List your current values. Have you ever taken the time to examine your values? Most people have never given their values a second thought. This is a shame, because a person’s values guide their thinking, decisions, and actions.

● Take 30 minutes and list your values. Put them in order of their priority to you.

● Ask yourself if your behavior is aligned with your values. If there’s a mismatch, what set of values would actually represent your behavior?

● Most of us have an idealized impression of our intentions, values, and qualities.

  1. What are you trying to accomplish? What are your goals in life? What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to be wealthy? Get a six-pack? Write a screenplay? Save the whales? Build a real estate empire? The first step to any great success is to identify your objectives.
  2. How do your current values impact your goals? If your values and goals don’t match, the odds of success are dismal without something changing.

● For example, if you believe that wealthy people are fundamentally bad, you’ll never accumulate a significant amount of wealth.

● If comfort is a high priority for you, that six-pack will never materialize.

● Do you value having a lot of leisure time? A goal that requires a lot of work isn’t going to happen.

● Look at your goals and look at your values. Do your goals support those values? Do your values support your goals?

  1. What would be the perfect set of values to support your goals? Imagine you could build a person from scratch that would be perfect for accomplishing your goals. What values and qualities would they possess? How would you be different if you had these values?

● Think about the people you know that have accomplished what you want to accomplish. How would you describe them?

  1. How close can you come to matching those values? How well can you rearrange your values to match that ideal set of values? The closer you’re able to come, the greater the odds of your success.
  2. Reinforce the values that matter. Imagine that your goal is to save $20,000 for a down payment on a home. Let’s suppose that you’ve determined that you need to be someone that values saving money over spending. How can you build this value in yourself and make it a part of you?

● Prove to yourself that you’re that type of person: For example, pick up pennies you find on the ground and save them. Cut coupons. Find new ways of dealing with stress other than shopping. Save part of your income as soon as your paycheck hits your bank account.

● When you keep proving to yourself over and over again that you possess a value, those actions will build and reinforce that value.

Are your goals and values a good match? It’s important that they are. When a mismatch exists, it’s important to either alter your values or your goals. There’s only so much resistance a person can overcome. Success is much easier when your values and your intentions are highly compatible.

Love Allie

How To Create Your Own Opportunities

Chopra Melissa Eisler

There are people in this life who always seem to be in the right place at the right time. They’re the ones who appear to always land the dream job and live the dream life, fulfilling their passions, or their life’s purpose, in ways you can only imagine. Their life seems to be marked by a profound sense of groundedness, self-realization, and joy.

Fortunately, those people aren’t just subject to luck and chance. Opportunities are present all around you as well; you just need to learn how to identify and step into them. There is nothing in this world that says you can’t fulfill your own dreams and create a life you want to live. On the contrary, God invites you to step into who you were created to be, offering your unique skills to others in ways only you can.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur embarking on your next business idea or a visionary simply wanting to start a new quest in your personal life, you don’t need to wait around for an opportunity to present itself. By knowing yourself and making a conscious effort to push forward, you can create your own opportunities or find ones that fit what you’re looking for.

Here are six ways to navigate the process and step into your success:

1. Understand Who You Are

Before you start the journey of finding or creating an opportunity, you first need to know yourself on a deep level. Anything you do should come out of a sense of who you are, so that your unique skillset can be used to the fullest extent possible. By identifying what you can offer that is also in line with your personal values, you can begin to hone what is or isn’t an opportunity for you. For example, if you are highly skilled in biology and value helping others, then a great opportunity would be to look into medical or nursing school (as opposed to becoming a graphic designer.)

To get a better sense of your unique offering, take a half-day retreat to reflect on what makes you special, what you value, and what skills you’d like to offer others. Beforehand, ask those closest to you to answer the following questions (and answer them yourself) to use for your reflection:

  • What do you admire most about me?
  • If you could describe me in one word, what would it be?
  • What unique qualities do I possess?
  • What do I offer others?
  • What am I naturally good at?

2. Believe in What You Offer

Once you have a strong understanding of who you are and what you want to offer, believe in your power to offer those skills. Developing self-confidence can open up doors that you may not have knocked on before. By projecting this type of confidence, you encourage others to view you as an expert in your skills. If you believe in yourself, others will too.

3. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Opportunities rarely happen in your comfort zone. If an opportunity were prone to present itself where you are, then you’d already have one. Use your confidence to step outside your comfort zone and engage people and situations that will help get you to where you want to be.

If you want to develop an app, join a networking event in your area that focuses on the tech industry. If you want to start a travel blog, go somewhere you’ve never been and interview locals to get an insider’s look into the area. If you’re looking for a business partner, join local entrepreneurial meetups and networking events. By putting yourself out there and meeting people who will support your dream, you’re more likely to create opportunities for yourself.

4. Remain Open

You might set out with a goal in mind of exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it, but rarely will life work out exactly how you think it will. By not holding anything too tightly, you open yourself up to opportunities that may not have even been on your radar before.

For instance, if you’re a storyteller at heart and have a passion for giving other people a voice, you might be able to use those skills in a corporate communications or marketing job that develops testimonials. You get to know people and their story while also meeting a business need. Be flexible as you take action. Sometimes opportunities that use your skills are different than what you expect.

5. Create Good Karma

As much as creating opportunities is based on doing, it’s also about how you do it. Being a good person and putting positivity into the Universe invites good things to happen in return. Take time to genuinely connect with others, instead of having a one-track mind for building an opportunity for yourself. By creating lasting, solid relationships, people will remember you when an opportunity arises that requires your expertise.

And when and where you can, volunteer your time and talent! Offer guidance and counsel based on your skills, establishing credibility and laying the foundation for when a full-blown opportunity presents itself. If you have a listening ear and want to become a counselor, volunteer your services at a local community center or offer your time pro bono at a counseling firm. Even if an opportunity doesn’t manifest immediately, have faith that something is on the horizon. 

6. Be Decisive

When opportunities arise, take advantage of them with confidence. You haven’t planned, primed, and nurtured a pipeline of opportunities to let them go to waste. The amount of preparation you’ve done will equip you to know whether or not an opportunity is right for you. You’re able to make an informed decision based on your confidence, skills, and knowledge of self. Step into your power and feel assured that you cannot make a wrong decision. If you step into an opportunity that eventually turns out to be less-than-perfect, you’ll know that it served its purpose of leading you to the next one. Every step in your journey happens for a reason.

Use these tips to create opportunities that align with who you are and what you were meant to do. Remember to enjoy the process, be patient, and maintain a positive outlook. This world needs what you have to give.

Love Allie💛

One Cool Story & Three Happiness Keys

The Two Wolves

One evening sitting around the fire, the grandson of an old and wise chief asked his grandfather, “Why is life so unhappy Grandad?”

His grandfather thought for a moment, and then asked, “Can you hear the wolves howling in the distance?”

“Yes I can Grandad,” replied the boy.

“Have you noticed how some of the wolves are angry and aggressive and some are gentle and friendly?”

“Yes I have Grandad,” replied the boy, “I like the baby wolf with the stripes who follows me when I go hunting.”

“Well, we have two wolves inside us also,” replied his grandfather.

“One leads us to misery and unhappiness. 

It sows seeds of anger, jealousy, greed, resentment, inferiority and lies.

The other leads us to happiness. 

It sows the seeds of joy, peace, love, hope, kindness, generosity and compassion.”

The grandson was quiet for a while and then asked: “Which wolf wins Grandad?”

“The one you feed,” the old chief replied.

– Author Anon

Hands up who wants to be miserable!

Psychologists say that everything we do, we do because we want either avoid pain or attain pleasure.

So why do we spend so much of our time being unhappy?

Perhaps we could start by examining our goal – we may be telling ourselves that we should feel happy all the time. 

When our experience does not meet with our expectation, and we are not happy all the time, we may feel that we have failed. 

In addition we have magnified our problem by being unhappy about being unhappy!

Is it reasonable to expect to be happy all the time? 

Isn’t it natural for life to be a series of ups followed by downs, and downs followed by ups?

What would you think of someone who was laughing all the time no matter what?

You may conclude that they were not in touch with reality!

Even if our own lives were perfect, if we are compassionate people and a friend shares a sadness with us, would it not be human to be sad alongside them?

So maybe it is not reasonable, or possible, to be happy all the time. 

However, it would seem reasonable to have a goal of increasing the amount of time we are happy and to be happy more often.

How do we increase the amount of time we are happy?

1. Happiness comes from the word happy.

This is derived from the sound “ha” which is the noise we make when we laugh! 

Hopefully that made you smile – which is the first key to happiness!

2. Happiness is a feeling. 

What is the nature of feelings? 

They come and go – up and down, round and round, never resting or staying the same and always in a state of flux and change.

So is not realistic to expect that once we feel happy that we will be happy forever. 

The good side of this is that if we are unhappy at the moment, it is realistic to think that sooner or later we will be happy again.

3. Feelings are like clouds. 

Sometimes there are happy fluffy clouds in the sky, sometimes there are thunder clouds and sometimes the clouds cry with rain. 

But rain clouds pass after rain, and the great expanse of sky remains unaffected. 

The sky is always blue. 

The sun is always shining. 

Sometimes we cannot see it or feel it, but all day (and all night!) it burns bright and warm. 

Happiness is here now. 

Can you think of just one reason to be happy? 

Then be happy. 

Practice letting go of the habit of always thinking about the 2% of your life that’s “wrong,” and focus on the 98% that’s “not wrong.” 


Coaches Kathleen Cameron and Allison Garrett share their secrets to realizing massive success.


“Forge your own path,” “write your own story,” and “you define your worth.” All phrases we know and have heard, but it’s often not fully understood how much of an impact they can create. Truly knowing that you are in control of your life and your path is empowering. Once you understand that you don’t have limits beyond what you place on yourself, you have the power to remove any obstacles holding you back.  Harnessing your freedom allows you to realize that any blocks you find in your path simply require a creative solution. These lessons are preached by top success and manifestation coaches across the globe.

You Determine Your Worth

Your self-image is pivotal in realizing your true potential. As master manifestation coach Kathleen Cameron always says, “You cannot outperform your self-image.” This means if you don’t think you’re capable, you won’t be. The ability to put your all into something isn’t possible without you believing that you are working for something that is worth working towards.  Cameron’s coaching is centered around this mentality of realizing your potential. Cameron knows that everyone has potential, but it’s all about the ability to harness it, and that starts with your self-image, and most importantly, practicing self-love. Loving yourself will not only allow you to reach the greatness you are after but push you towards it.

Reframe Your Mindset

Allison Garrett is a life and success coach that has broken the mold.  She openly shares her story of a life that provided limitation after limitation if she were to have allowed it. She has appropriately called her coaching company “The Prisonbreak Coach” reflecting her own journey around the limitations a criminal record.  She realized that all she needed was to reframe her mindset and see those roadblocks as opportunities. Garrett had a choice, to either allow the limitations of the world to prevent her from finding a thriving future or to create her own path.  She chose to define her worth and determine her future, and now she’s helping others do the same and break free from their own mental prisons, realizing their own greatness.

How to Do It?

Changing your mindset isn’t a one and done task.  It takes commitment, but it is as easy as reframing your thoughts.  Garrett’s own daily practice is about positive thinking and believing in its power.  She teaches her clients to create their own reality and it will be what manifests in their lives. Instead of focusing on the negative, you focus on the positive. Instead of thinking “I don’t have a job,” reframe the thought to “I have an opportunity to find a new and better path for myself.”  You attract what you put out in the world, so put out positivity.

This goes for your self-image as well. Cameron teaches that when you see yourself as successful, you will find yourself successful. A positive mindset about your life needs to include a positive image of yourself.  Learn about yourself and appreciate it all.  Realize how your uniqueness is power and you should embrace it.

Use your mind as a tool to help lead you to the greatness you are capable of realizing. Garrett and Cameron are both evidence of how following their methods will lead you to massive success.  Don’t let yourself be what gets in your way.

Dare to Dream Again

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” ~Wolfgang von Goethe

I used to dream a lot when I was younger. Words like frustration or disillusionment had yet to enter my vocabulary and, in many ways life was easier. I basically had a single job growing up : dreaming and hoping for the future (believe me, I was rather good at it!). But time passed and I made my way through adulthood. Life happened and I stopped dreaming, believing that you have to be realistic if you don’t want to get your ass kicked. I thought “dreaming is something for kids, so we should just grow up at some point, shouldn’t we?”

No, we should not.

I had never thought I would stop dreaming. Ever since my childhood, I couldn’t help but let ideas flow into my head days and night. Whether projects, articles or even business ideas, nothing seemed impossible as long as I was determined to do it. People used to ask how I had so much energy and I would just reply that “ It’s simple, I believe I’m supposed to be doing it, I’ve seen it, I will create it with effortless ease.”

My calling was there all along, and I ignored it because I listened to other people.

Many do not share their dreams due to feeling they will be judged. 

Dreams look different for each of us. The significance of any dream is that it propels you forward. Dreams give us energy and make us enthusiastic. Dreams propel us forward. 

The world is full of dream crushers and idea killers. I’ve worked with many clients who never pursued their dreams because another person stated it could never happen for one reason or the other. 

A large percentage of us are not dreaming due to our dreams being put down or past disappointments. 

We find ourselves on auto pilot because it takes little effort and thought, it is easy. We get up each day and repeat what has been done the day before. We find we are existing in the world but not living.

As we enter the last several weeks of 2020, I ask that you explore if you are allowing yourself to have dreams or have you become complacent and have stopped dreaming. 

Dreaming is not just something that happens to us passively when we go to sleep, it’s a choice, a desire: to believe in the future and what might be waiting for us.

Dare to dream again 💛

Tansform Your Relationship With Money and Change Your Life

Statistics show that within seven years of coming into money, the average person will be living at the same economic level as before the windfall appeared. The explanation for this typically lies in a person’s “money scripts”, the powerful beliefs they formed about money, usually in childhood. These money scripts tend to remain unconscious and tend to be “generational” in that they frequently get passed down from parent to child.

Money scripts can be difficult to spot because they’ll often feel “true” to the person and, in certain circumstances, may even be true. However, if they remain unquestioned, they mean we repeat patterns that deprive us of prosperity and peace of mind.

To give you an idea of what money scripts look like, here are some common ones:


Once you have enough money, then you’ll be able to relax and enjoy life
You must work hard for money
The more money you have, the happier and safer you will be
Your worth is determined by how much money you make


You can’t trust anyone with your money
People only want you for your money
You didn’t work for this money, so you don’t deserve it
You mustn’t lose, or make a mistake with, the money you’ve got


This isn’t enough money – so there’s no point in trying to save
You’re not worth more (so stay in the job you hate)
Money is bad / evil / unimportant
Rich people got that way by taking advantage of others
You deserve to treat yourself so spending beyond your means is okay


Husbands take care of money so wives don’t have to
Making money is difficult / overwhelming / impossible
You’ll never be able to earn enough, so you need a man with money


Understanding what messages you received about money in your childhood is the first step to learning how to communicate with others about money. If you don’t understand your own history and “childhood tapes”, then conversations about money (with spouses, friends, family members, bosses) are unlikely to be as easy and straightforward as they could be.

Statistics suggest that 70% of marital breakdowns are due to money problems. Of course the arguments aren’t actually about the money per se – these disputes happen whether funds are tight or plentiful. What couples are really arguing about is their own attitude to money, and what it represents. Is money for spending and giving away? Is money for safety and security? Does money equal power in a relationship? Does money equal love? Is it acceptable for a wife to earn more than her husband? Does one have to share everything or is it okay to have secret funds (or secret debts) that your partner doesn’t know about?

All sorts of relationship dynamics can get unleashed around money which can represent so many things – power, control, safety, security, status, worth, love. According to research from the American Sociological Association, the more economically dependent a man is on his female partner, the more likely he is to cheat on her. Whilst for women, economic dependency seems to have the opposite effect.

Life changes that shift income – a promotion, a redundancy, giving up work to look after children – also typically shift the power balance in a relationship. When one member of the couple earns less, they may feel they have to take on the role of “pleaser” in the relationship, to make up for not bringing as much to the table. Equally, if the poorer partner feels beholden to the richer one, they’re likely to drop into victimhood or resentment (or both) especially if they’re having to ask for money which can feel humiliating and disempowering.

6 Things to Remember When Your Heart is Breaking…

It’s a dull, subdued sensation when your heart is breaking, like the muffled sound of a distant gunshot. It doesn’t physically pierce your skin or tear you to pieces, but the sensation is physically present – the paralyzing discomfort of realizing that something you took for granted is leaving for good.

Although it’s hard to accept at first, this is actually a good sign, having a broken heart. It means you have loved something, you have tried for something, and you have let life teach you.

Life will attempt to break you down sometimes; nothing and no one can completely protect you from this reality. Keeping it all inside and hiding from the world won’t either, for endless, stagnant solitude will also break you with unhealthy nostalgia and yearning. You need to speak with someone—a friend, a family member, a coach, a confidant—and open up about how you feel.

You have to stand back up and put yourself out there again. Your heart is stronger than you realize. I’ve been there and I’ve seen heartbreak through to the other side. It takes time, effort and patience.

Deep heartbreak is kind of like being lost in the woods – every direction leads to nowhere at first. When you are standing in a forest of darkness, you cannot see any light that could ever lead you home. But if you wait for the sun to rise again, and listen when someone assures you that they themselves have stood in that same dark place, and have since moved forward with their life, oftentimes this will bring the hope that’s needed.

It’s so hard to give you advice when you’ve got a broken heart, but some words can heal, and this is my attempt to give you hope. You are stronger than you know!

Please remember…

1. The person you liked or loved in the past, who treated you like dirt repeatedly, has nothing intellectually or spiritually to offer you in the present moment, but more headaches and heartache.

2. When you don’t get what you want, sometimes it’s necessary preparation, and other times it’s necessary protection. But the time is never wasted. It’s a step on your journey. Someday you’re going look back on this time in your life as such an important time of grieving and growing. You will see that you were in mourning and your heart was breaking, but your life was changing.

3. Some chapters in our lives have to close without closure. There’s no point in losing yourself by trying to hold on to what’s not meant to stay. Remember this, and always keep two simple questions in mind: What opportunities do I have right now? What’s one small, positive step forward I can take.

4. One of the hardest lessons to learn: You cannot change other people. Every interaction, rejection and heartbreaking lesson is an opportunity to change yourself only. And there is great freedom and piece of mind to be found in this awareness.

5. It’s always better to be alone than to be in bad company. And when you do decide to give someone a chance, do so because you’re truly better off with this person. Don’t do it just for the sake of not being alone.

6. Be determined to be positive. Understand that the greater part of your misery or unhappiness from this point forward is determined not by your circumstances, but by your attitude. 💛

@Marc and Angel Hack Life

How A Lack Mentality During Covid-19 Can Hold You Back

“There is a natural law of abundance which pervades the entire universe, but it will not flow through a doorway of belief in lack and limitation.” ~ Paul Zaiter

A person who lives trapped in ‘lack mindset’ lives in a fear-based world of never having enough – money, time, connections, attention, rest, health, happiness, credentials, power or love.

Their conviction of scarcity distorts and constricts their thinking and can mask talents and skills that are vital to their personal success. Look at all the people who ran out to gather multiple of rolls of toilet paper.


Living with a perspective of lack prevents the ability to take risks and cuts off the expectation for happiness and joy in life.

Examine Your ‘Lack’ Mentality:

Explore the following questions to reveal how scarcity consciousness operates in your day-to-day experiences. How many of these questions do you say ‘yes’ to?

Are you willing to applaud and acknowledge someone else’s success or does it make you uncomfortable, resentful, judgemental or jealous of that person?

Does someone’s success only shine a light on what you don’t have?
Do you often find yourself fearful of the future and doubt your ability to prosper?
Are you sparing with compliments, support, and service to others?
Do you feel depleted of energy and inspiration and find it difficult to relax and feel refreshed?
Do you feel you must compete with others for jobs, relationships, or money…or do you trust that you will always have what you need and want?
Does your need for money, opportunity or recognition cause you to be nervous, make you afraid to make a mistake and shut down your creativity as well as your desire to work with others?
When you are faced with decision, is it difficult to see solutions and open creatively to a universe of possibilities?
Even if you are successful in an endeavor, do you feel the pressure to earn more, have more or be more than you are right now?
Do you compare yourself to others and come up less than?
Does your life feel like a constant struggle with little potential for winning?
Is your glass half–empty?
Prison Break Action Steps to Overcoming Lack Mindset:

How you think and what you believe about life determines the choices you make and governs how you ultimately act toward yourself and others. Here are a few suggestions to help shift a ‘lack’ mindset to a more inclusive, open, and abundant approach:

Be grateful and appreciate others – express gratitude for the support and contributions of others;

Seek the possibility in challenges – instead of seeing an obstacle as a dead end;

Embrace the truth that there is more than enough – there is enough for everyone including you;

Connect with abundance – Make friends and connections with those who live from a prosperous mindset rather than those who express scarcity consciousness;

Adopt a positive life perspective – see the opportunity for growth in any life challenge;

Whatever you desire, give that to others – donate money to others, spend and give attention to those who are less fortunate;

Make time for reflection and self-care – use meditation, Breathwork, journaling, and/or therapy to understand, identify and alter your ‘lack’ programming

Pay attention to your ‘lack’ influences about the Coronavirus – become aware of what TV you watch, what you read – use positive material to uplift you;

Trust that you will have what you need– spend time remembering when you received what you needed (have you ever needed a parking spot in a busy lot and one suddenly appears? Did money show up from an unexpected source just when you needed it?)

The Vital Call to Shift Lack Mindset

Perspective, belief and thought create reality. A scarcity or lack mindset sets up an ‘us against them’ mentality that feels like your safety and survival are constantly under threat.

When you are able to identify and shift that thinking and deconstruct your fear-based view of life and the world, you make a contribution toward the fulfillment of prosperity on a global scale. It opens the door to your authentic abundant nature and the joy and happiness that is your BIRTHRIGHT!


Love Allison 💛

3 Things You Must Give Up to Move Forward Today!

The road ahead is wide open. You CAN move beyond your past and create an extraordinary life!
But first, you have to give up…

1.  Who you once were in the past. – When times get tough, our worst battle is often between what we remember and what we presently feel. Thus, one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make is when to stay put and struggle harder or when to just take your memories/lessons and move forward. Sometimes you have to step outside of the person you’ve been, and remember the person you were meant to be, the person you are capable of being, and the person you truly are today.

2.  Over-thinking and worrying about everything. – When your fears have you looking too deep into things, it creates problems, it doesn’t fix them. If you think and you think and you think, you will think yourself right out of happiness a thousand times over, and never once into it. Worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace and potential. Stop over-thinking everything! Life is too short.

3.  Overlooking everything that’s wonderful right now. – When you stay stuck in regret of the life you think you should have had, you end up missing the beauty of what you do have. Not all the puzzle pieces of life will seem to fit together at first, but in time you’ll realize they do, perfectly. So thank the things that didn’t work out, because they just made room for the things that will. And thank the ones who walked away from you, because they just made room for the ones who won’t. What’s in front of you right now is a great opportunity!

The bottom line is that the biggest and most complex obstacle you will ever have to overcome is your own mind. Let that sink in for a moment. You aren’t responsible for everything that happens to you in life, but you ARE responsible for undoing the debilitating thinking patterns these undesirable outcomes create.

Are You Ignoring The Red Flags?


I’ve recently been asked questions regarding relationships and realized from my own experiences that ignored red flags are often a good intuitive image to help you process what you’re really feeling.

You shouldn’t ignore or excuse anything that strikes you as strange or makes you feel uncomfortable.

It’s essential to get to KNOW YOURSELF in every possible way before you move into a committed relationship. Often, individuals go in search of a relationship without this essential knowledge. But how can you ever hope to know another individual if you don’t know yourself first?

I’ve witnessed and ignored red flags and was even  red flag myself until I really knew and accepted ME!

At the end of a difficult relationship, people often say, “He (or she) told me who he (or she) was at the very beginning, but I just didn’t listen.”

A really good exercise I ask my clients to do is to write down every partner they’ve had a significant relationship with, and then, for each, answer questions such as: What attracted you to this person initially? Did the attraction last? Was your fantasy about this person—what you imagined or assumed to be true—validated in reality? How long did the relationship last? Did revelations during the course of the relationship change your mind? What was the deal breaker? Do any patterns, similarities from relationship to other relationships, emerge?

Learn to ask the hard questions out of the gate, the first or second time you meet someone, before opinions are solidly formed. Most of us seem to do much better when we have no real expectations of someone, because we hardly know who they are and are not yet trying to impress them.

And watch for red flags—indicators that something needs to be questioned or otherwise validated. Often these are clues that something may be trouble in the future. Here are 10 key relational red flags to look out for:

  1. Lack of communication. These individuals find it difficult to talk about issues or express how they feel. Often, when it would seem most important to be open and honest, they distance themselves emotionally, leaving their partner hanging, or having to deal with a situation on their own. Often, whatever is “communicated” is expressed through moodiness, and sometimes the dreaded “silent treatment.”
  2. Irresponsible, immature, and unpredictable. Some people have trouble mastering basic life skills—taking care of themselves, managing their finances and personal space, holding onto a job, and making plans for their life and future. Small crises surrounding the way they live their daily life may take up a lot of time and energy. If so, there may be little time and energy left for you and your issues. These people may still be working on growing up. In other words, it may be hard to rely on them for almost anything.
  3. Lack of trust. When a person has difficulty being honest with himself or herself, it may be hard for them to be honest with you. Some of this behavior may not be calculated and malicious but simply a learned way or habit of coping. However, being out-and-out lied to is a no-brainer. A person who holds himself or herself unaccountable for their actions lacks integrity and lacks respect for their partner. You may feel, and rightly so, that there are a lot of “missing pieces,” so much that you don’t know or that is purposely hidden from you.
  4. Significant family and friends don’t like your partner. If there is something “off” about this person that seems obvious to those who know you so well, you may need to listen to what they’re telling you. Often, in the throes of a new relationship, hearing criticism about your new “beloved” may not be welcome, but others may see things more clearly from an outsider’s perspective. At the very least, hear these people out.
  5. Controlling behavior. Similarly, a partner may attempt to “divide and conquer,” driving a wedge between you and other significant people in your life. They may be jealous of your ongoing relationships with these people or simply feel the need to control where you go and who you associate with, limiting your world to allow in only what is important to them. Sometimes, they may make you choose them over significant others as an expression of “love.”
  6. Feeling insecure in the relationship. You may often feel that you don’t know where you stand in a relationship. Rather than moving forward, building on shared experiences that should be strengthening your connection, you feel uncomfortable, uncertain, or anxious about where the it’s heading. You may seek reassurances from your partner, but somehow these are only momentary and fleeting. As a result, you may be working double duty to keep the relationship on track while your partner contributes little.
  7. A dark or secretive past. Behaviors that are suspect, illegal activities, and addictive behaviors that haven’t been resolved and continue into your relationship are obvious red flags. But you shouldn’t ignore or excuse anything that strikes you as strange or makes you feel uncomfortable. (Of course, if a person has done the necessary corrective work and continues doing so for their own good and for the good of the relationship, that is a different story.)
  8. Non-resolution of past relationships.These include not just intimate relationships but those with family members and friends. If a person is unable to evaluate why past relationships haven’t worked out, or consistently blames the other party for all of the problems, you can bet with a great deal of confidence that the same thing could happen with your relationship.
  9. The relationship is built on the need to feel needed. Often we enter into a relationship strongly identified with our needs. The need may be that you, my partner, must do certain things for me to make me feel secure and satisfied, or that you allow me, your partner, to feel needed by fulfilling your needs. If this dynamic is the focal point of a relationship, however, there may be little room for real growth, individually or as a couple.
  10. Abusive behavior. Finally, and of course, any form of abuse, from the seemingly mild to the overtly obvious—verbal, emotional, psychological, and certainly physical—is not just a red flag but a huge banner telling you to get out immediately and never look back.

Learn to trust what you feel. Your hunch is probably right.