It’s About Learning to Try

I remember when I was five.

We lived in a nice little house in New Jersey. I used to stand in the doorway by the back yard with my father and feed the birds.

One day I came home from school and my mother dropped the "m-bomb":

“We are moving, pack your things.”

I don’t remember anything else.

When I was a kid, we moved a lot. It was the life of a consultant’s daughter.

So it’s a little bit hard for me to take concrete goals seriously.

When I graduated college I got a scholarship to study sociology in a Ph.D. program. I remember that I was completely surprised. They called my old roommate to tell me – and by some miracle she hadn’t lost my telephone number.

So much of our lives happens in this way. Unpredictable, fortuitous or seemingly accidental. So much out of our control. As they say, “Man (woman) plans and G-d laughs.”

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t set goals. It’s not about achieving anything in particular, in my view. You can throw a hundred darts at the board and only hit it once inside the line.

Rather it’s about learning how to try. The process. Setting yourself up to succeed in those areas where you have been destined to make a difference.

Here’s where the book
Change Anything comes in. It lays out a specific course of action you can take for any goal, professional or personal. Generally they fall into the categories of "motivation" and "ability," or wanting to change and then knowing how.

The suggestions below are adapted from these principles as laid out in the book.

1. Motivation

* Visualize your goal: See yourself in cap and gown on graduation day

* Solicit positive peer pressure: Describe goal to supportive people – family, friends, etc.

* Reward your own successes: Fill out college application, then go to a movie

2. Ability

* Learn the skills to succeed: Read an article on time management

* Surround yourself with others with those skills: Join an Honors club at school

* Make your environment reflect your chosen goal: Set aside a study space in your home

Keep in mind that all of these actions require consistency to work. After the initial “high” of embarking on a path, you have to stay motivated and keep learning new ways to progress continuously.

With motivation and ability, and of course G-d’s help, you can do just about anything.

Stay strong, and good luck!