Everyone gets off course at times, but only those who are selfaware can make a course correction to improve their lives.
1. Write about a time when you were off course and took
effective actions to get back on course. Examples include
ending an unhealthy relationship, entering college years after high
school, changing careers, stopping an addiction, choosing to be
more assertive, or changing a negative belief or bias you held about
yourself, other people, or the world. Dive deep in your journal
entry by asking and answering questions such as the following:
• In what area of my life was I off course?
• What choices had I made to get off course?
• What changes did I make to get back on course?
• What challenges did I face while making this change?
• What personal strengths helped me make this change?
• What benefits did I experience as a result of my change?
If I hadn’t made this change, what would my life be like today?
2. Write about an area of your life in which you are off
course today. If you need help in identifying an area, review your
desired outcomes and experiences from Journal Entry 8 and your
goals and dreams from Journal Entry 9. Explain which area of your
life is furthest from the way you would like it to be. What choices
have you made that got you off course? What will be the effect on
your life if you continue to stay off course?
The fact that you’ve made positive changes in the past is a good
reminder that you have the personal strengths to make similar
changes whenever you wish. All you need is the awareness that
you’re off course and the motivation to make new choices.
1-Sarah was aware that her choices were not the best. She states
that she was doing things she knew she shouldn’t be doing. Think
of a time when you did something you knew you shouldn’t do. Why
did you do it? How did you feel after you did it? Were there any
consequences related to your behavior?
2. Sometimes you can consciously avoid a bad choice by making
another choice preemptively. For example, if you know a certain
friend will want you to go out and party, you might make a healthy
plan with another friend first. Or, if you know that you’ll be
tempted to purchase food that’s bad for you at a certain store, you
might choose to take a different route home. It’s important to
develop the ability to say “no” in your life, but it’s also helpful to
think critically about the temptations you face each day. What kind
of preemptive choices could you make in your own life? How could
you avoid or say “no” to the negative experiences that limit your
In this activity, you will explore self-defeating patterns in your life
that may reveal unconscious scripts. You’re about to embark on an
exciting journey into your inner world! There you can discover—
and later revise—the invisible forces that have gotten you off
course from your goals and dreams.
1. Write about one of your self-defeating behavior
patterns. Choose a behavior pattern that you checked on the list
or identify a self-defeating behavior that isn’t on the list but that
you do often. Remember, a behavior is something someone else
can see you do. Develop your journal paragraphs by anticipating
questions that someone reading it might have about this behavior
pattern. (Even you might have questions when you read your
journal 10 years from now.) For example,
What exactly is your self-defeating behavior pattern?
What are some specific examples of when you did this behavior?
What may have caused this habit?
What undesirable effects has it had on your life?
How would your life be improved if you changed it?
One student began by writing, “One of my self-defeating behaviour
patterns is that I seldom do my best work on college assignments.
For example, in my biology lab. . . .”
2. Repeat Step 1 for one of your self-defeating thought
patterns or for one of your self-defeating emotional
patterns. Once again, choose a pattern that you checked on the
list or identify a habit that isn’t on the list but that you often think
or feel. You might begin, One of my self-defeating thought
patterns is that I often wonder if I am smart enough to be
successful in college. I especially think this during exams. For
example, last Thursday I . . . Or . . . One of my self-defeating
emotional patterns is that I often feel frustrated. For example. . . .
1. Imagine that James Floriolli were one of your classmates.
Think of at least two “On Course” concepts not discussed in
this essay that could help James reach his dream job. Now,
imagine having a conversation with James in which you
explain in detail how he can apply these two “On Course”
concepts in his life. What advice would you give him? Be as
specific as possible in your response.
2. James struggles to follow through when he encounters
setbacks. Sometimes we mistake temporary setbacks as
personal failure. Have you ever stopped trying to succeed at
something because you encountered a setback? What if you
tried again? What would you do and how might you learn
from your first attempt? Many famously successful people
struggled early. If you have struggled in this way, describe
the experience and discuss how you might improve or try
In this section of your Toolbox for Active Learners, you’ve been introduced to 28
strategies for becoming an effective writer. Here’s an opportunity to experiment with one
of them. First, review the strategies. Identify those you marked because they could help
with one of your writing challenges. Now pick the one strategy you think would best help
you improve your writing skills.
Below, write the strategy with which you will experiment. Write just the number of the
strategy and the one-sentence description of it that is in bold print. (For example, “27.
Keep an error log.”) Then track yourself for one week, noting each day that you
practice this strategy. Your goal is to do it every day. After seven days, evaluate your
results. If your writing skills improve, you’ll have a learning tool you can use for the rest
of your life.
1. Record your commitment for writing here (again, just the
number of the strategy and the one-sentence description of it in
bold). Which days of the week did you keep your commitment?
2. During your seven-day experiment, what happened?
3. As a result of what happened, what did you learn or relearn?
4. Complete this sentence: As a result of what you learned or
relearned, I will…
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