My experience with hundreds of clients in New York City in the 1980's, and my experience and research since then, led me to create, in 1997, what I consider to be the key question to ask any individual or organization seeking general or specific improvement for an individual or an organization or just seeking to meet a general purpose goal: "What is your GPA: your "goals per action."
Do your actions, the daily steps you take throughout the day, serve your goals or not? Your "GPA" is a measure of your "LQ" (Leadership Quotient), whether you are leading yourself, an organization, or an organization within an organization). If your actions don't serve established goals that reflect short/medium/long range plans, you need to reassess what you are doing and how you are allocating your time and what kind of leader you are being with your actions (again, whether personal or professional, whether for yourself or a larger group or organization).
Every writer on goal setting concludes with one key, regardless of how differently they outline the goals process: action must be taken to achieve goals. Such action must relate to change and be carried out while playing the appropriate role or set of roles.
These "lists" and "recipes" explain how to do so and why we need to do so. Also discussed is the role of "negative self-talk" and "positive self-talk," and how to use self-talk to reverse helplessness and turn it into empowerment and success (see especially Section 11, beginning p. 11).
Believe in your role. Then, while learning the role, wear the mask of your role, play the role of success until you become success. Be the director of your own play. Make the decisions as to "blocking," entrances, transitions, costumes, "scripts," and performance.
Be your own writer: develop scripts for set situations. And keep reworking them until you like them. Then use them as a base for your adlibs. Key to performance: be enthusiastic.
ACTION is the key word, not being ready in your mind (although the more ready you are the better your performance).
Follow your cues. Remember the scene of many movies: the star crying in her dressing room as a loved one has died. "Five minutes!" she is told. And in five minutes she goes on and plays a virtuoso performance. The play ends, the curtain drops, she takes her bow to thunderous applause and flowers strewing the stage, and then return to her dressing stage, out of sight, collapses in her chair, and cries uncontrollably. Its more than "the show must go on." The show of life WILL go on, regardless of our feelings. Thus success depends on our role playing, not our feelings.
Life is hard. By becoming an actor in your own play of life and directing your performance following the "margin notes" of this paper, you will have taken the first step to making life easier. But performing well is still hard. Yes it is. But by plugging into the GPA lists and recipes, and recognizing that this is for the long haul, for a life long learning of your own life's play, it will get easier.