Day 1: Choosing the Focus of Change

 Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday.  Baha’u’llah

Most people, when setting goals for change have the idea that is widely spread throughout the world, that if you want to accomplish something that you need to have a specific target so that you will see it all the time in your mind’s eye, and then you will know when you have accomplished it.    While this approach to goal setting is valuable when doing material goals, it is detrimental to an inner transformation process.   Material goals are connected to the earth so their value is finite in nature.  When they are over, they are over.    Once you have the million dollars or have lost the 20 pounds, the goal is finished.

Inner goals are achieved in a different way because the purpose of inner change is to  unleash a process inside of you that you are going to keep forever.    When you go after inner transformation,  you pick a target that is general, usually something like a virtue.   (courage, love, enthusiasm, honesty, joyfulness, patience).   These are qualities that everyone has inside of them in potentiality.   If you want to see a virtues list, go to    By keeping a goal general like a virtue,  you recognize that you are not in control of how you are going to get to the process.   In the inner world, you realize that there is a spiritual dimension, a higher power,  God,  that guides the learning.     When you get too specific in the initial stages, you cut out the guidance that comes from the inner world.

The way to choose an inner goal is to first go inside and ask yourself a superlative question that is usually a little negative in nature.

What is the biggest mess in my life?

What is the worst thing I am facing?

What is the biggest challenge for me right now?

It is always good to write the answer.  The biggest mess is my relationship with my children, with my boss, with my spouse.   The worst thing I am facing is bankruptcy.

When you set an inner goal,  its purpose is to solve the superlative questions.   Do you need peacefulness, patience, assertiveness, enthusiasm,  determination, hope,  calmness, love, empathy,  tact, generosity, gentleness,  joy,  courage?   Whatever you need, is a solution.

Pick a virtue or process for yourself right now after having done the superlative questions.

Besides having an exclusive focus on material goals, by far the thing that always stops the actualization of virtues is the lack of daily work.   Most people, whether they set material or spiritual goals,  tend to set the goal and then  stop.   So after you have set the focus, the next step is to commit yourself to a daily process of change which is the purpose of this program.   Inner goal work is successful to the degree that you work on it everyday.

On the first day of the program you can use the name of the virtue every time you run into obstacles.    Here is an example.  The other day I was taking a tennis lesson. The instructor was teaching me a new way to hit a forehand, but when I tried it I kept hitting the ball into the net or hitting it too long.   I realized that I had been dealing with some rejection issues so I just picked acceptance as the virtue I needed.   When I repeated the word acceptance,  every ball went over the net into the court just how I wanted it.  It was pretty incredible.

You don’t have to do anything else on the first day other than pick a virtue and then start naming it when you get to obstacles.   Today is a good day to do it.

Note:  If you have been in abusive situations in the past and have not gotten good help for working through the issues,  doing this work may start to call some of that energy up.  If you feel yourself going into a panic or an out of control fear,  that would be natural for you.  You can do this program as long as your negative emotions don’t run away with you.  If they do, it just means you need to go to for some help.   There are lots of competent people in the world to assist.

Please feel free to post comments.  They are helpful to others.







6 Comments on “Day 1: Choosing the Focus of Change”

  1. Hi Richard,

    Today I am starting the first 19-Day Transformation Program of 2016. 

    Interestingly, as I started reflecting on the virtue I’m choosing for this program and for the year I got curious about what I chose last year and I found this comment I posted on your site in Feb. of 2015.

    It was so great to read this post that I wrote because it showed some fears and some goals I had at the time. When I read this I can see how far I’ve come since last year at this time and it also gives me some encouragement for going forward this year. Most intriguing is that last year I was writing about this issue of the car going into the river and lately I’ve had two car dreams which show me that this part of the issue is now resolved but it shows me the next challenge as well.

    My dreams are posted daily on an open Facebook page called RPerry Dreamwork. Anyone can view these without even “liking” the page. They are just there to openly share. I don’t post every single dream that I ever have but I do post most. I don’t always write the interpretation or meaning there either because I am currently working on editing a book that’s in its first draft of about 5 years of dreams and interpretations and the challenges I faced as well as the progress I made from 2009 when I first started doing Dreamwork until 2015 when it was decided the book was done and editing started. Maybe once the book is done I will have more time to write interpretations on the Facebook page, who knows. But in the meantime they are there for reading.

    Anyway, here are two car dreams I’ve had lately. In one dream, I was in a car, taking a trunk-load of stuff to the dump and I called to a group, “I’ll be back” and you’ve suggested this was a positive part of myself that I do not identify with just yet. I imagine by the end of the year I will. 

    The other car dream was just a couple nights ago. In the dream, I was in a garage with a few other guys. They were all connected and there was this feeing of all of us being on the same side but we were all something like under-cover agents so there was a feeling of mistrust at the same time as trust. Two or three of the guys were goading me and I was playfully fighting back. I took a bike and was rolling it around and swinging it and it kept them back like a shield. They teased and then one started teasing about my car. I stopped in my tracks. Looked him square in the eyes and I said, “you can tease all you like about this bike because it’s just a dumb bike. But don’t touch my car. Ever. Not with your jokes. Not with any part of you. Ever.” And he got it that I was serious. My car was in the driveway. Safe. I started swinging the bike around to see if anyone else wanted to play. And none of them did anymore. 

    For me, after reading what I wrote last year about my fear of the car going in the water I just feel like this dream of my car being safe and me knowing what to say to keep it safe is a symbol of all being well. And since I was playful with the bike before and after the firm “talking to” that I had to give it is a signal to me that Playfulness is the right quality to go for. So I’m going for it!!

    I think it is going to be a great year!!

  2. Hi Richard,

    When you first posted this in 2013 I did the program with surprising results. I will have to go back to my notes to see for sure what virtue I chose back then on Day One but I think it was “Peacefulness”. The strategies you suggest here, when applied consistently and with courage, brought me to some inner goals I was going for.

    I fit into the category you mention of individuals whose negative emotions used to tend to run away with me and I did take your advice and find many great supporters through the process of transformation including practitioners of Reiki, Body Talk, Non-Violent Communication, The Virtues Project, and of course traditional “talk therapy”.

    This year, the “big issue” I resolved to tackle is the issue appearing in my re-occurring dreams since childhood in that someone I trusted drove a car of people into a lake. This fear shows up in my day-to-day life as the fear that someone I trust will take over a situation, environment, and turn everyone against me so that I am left without anything, feeling devastated.

    So I’m going back to your transformation program to work with this issue this year.

    The positive opposite of being devastated is being uplifted, and the practice of this might be transcendence, or being able to uplift or give hope to others. I found on the list you posted the virtues of “excellence” and even though I don’t feel ready to consider that I might be excellent at anything I just think that if I was an excellent driver of my own car in life that would be the best way to prevent someone else from taking the wheel. Would you agree that this would be a good virtue to go for in transforming this fear?

    There are a number of big messes, issues and challenges I’m facing today that I will just consider “excellence” in my approach. When I think of this I feel as though there is enough time, resources, energy, clarity, faith, trust, capacity and skill to approach each challenge. So it does feel like it fits.

    I will begin today saying the virtue to myself when I am challenged.

    Thank you for your sharing of this Transformation Program. I know it works.

  3. That is so great to pull all of those cards. I would guess that the virtue you need at of those 3 is gentleness. It is such an amazing virtue. I wish more people would choose it for themselves and others. It is so healing.

  4. I’ve been having a challenging week; missing my family, having buttons pushed by a passively angry relative, wondering what I am going to do for the few healthy years I have left (I’m now 65). Wandering thru my lovely but overflowing with projects room, feeling totally unanchored, (we’ve just moved for the 6th time in 4 years), I came across the Virtue Cards and decided to pull 3…I received ENDURANCE–teaching the ability to withstand adversity and hardship with perseverance and patience, understanding that endurance hones our character and one becomes strong and confident…NOBILITY–how to speak and act graciously and remain steadfast remembering our true worth, and GENTLENESS–tenderness and love towards the world and ourselves….then I found this email from you and was further taught how to apply the lessons…many thanks!!

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