Reaching for the stars
by Kare Anderson

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Jul 2000


"Everyone thinks of changing the world but no one thinks of changing himself," wrote Leo Tolstoy. Here are a few concepts that have helped me change for the better and accomplish my goals.

Find your true north. Strive for something that makes you happy. Whether it's more education or finding a hobby, be clear about choosing a habit-changing goal that's based on your own interests-not another person's wishes for you.

Be your own hero. If you feel you're falling behind, picture yourself as you will feel when you've achieved your goal. Don't think about what you're sacrificing to accomplish it or ways that you might fail. See your goal as the positively inevitable future. Picturing yourself as a hero can turn into a self fulfilling prophecy.

Use your homing device. As Dr. Beverly Potter says, "Compelling targets have a magnetic force that pull you towards them." Look inside yourself to identify your most powerful motivation or passionate interestwhat makes you tick.

Find a support structure. Surround yourself with people committed to improving themselves. For evolution toward your goal, plant yourself firmly among those who reinforce your path.

Avoid detours. "The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn," writes David Russell, director of the Forgiveness Project, London School of Economics. Notice patterns that sidetrack you from your goal. What time of day or day of the week are you most easily distracted? What friends or colleagues hinder you? Avoid these barriers.

Head in the right direction. See how the changes you make positively affect your self image and your relationships with others. How are others close to you reacting? What new experiences occur? Your surroundings will help you decide if you're headed in the right direction.

Be your best. Gain the most professional satisfaction by choosing one single skill-then mastering it. The more specific the skill, the more likely the success and sense of satisfaction.

Plan a reward. Before attempting a new goal, decide how you'll celebrate once you've accomplished it. The larger the goal, the larger the reward should be. Let others who supported you savor it with you. You might be an inspiration for their decision to make a life change.

For more information, read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman (Bantam Books, 1997) or Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, by Daniel Amen (Times Books, 2000).

By Kare Anderson, "Say It Better" presenter, author, national columnist, Emmy winner, and former Wall Street Journal reporter, Sausalito, Calif. Get a free subscription to Kare's "Say It Better" monthly on-line bulletin, now read by over 17,000 people, by signing the guest book at her Web site at http://www.

Copyright Springhouse Corporation Jul 2000

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