One Life to Live

Nothing stops us. Well, almost nothing. Although we do live in a world that whirls at breakneck speed, there are a few things that will stop us in our tracks. When tragedy strikes, our attentions are diverted from our normal hustle and bustle to the turmoil at hand. The perfect example of this is, of course, the world's reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States and the events following it.

As we witness catastrophic events unfold around us, our own mortality becomes evident. In reaction to this, we vow to devote more time to the "important things" in life and do less quibbling about the "small stuff"

Post any tragedy, we are thankful for life's blessings. People often attend church services more, spend more time with their families and are just nicer to one another in general.

But Time changes everything and these newfound priorities have a way of being forgotten. It's much easier to slip back into the comfort of our old habits that it is to face the harsh reality of life and our own mortality.

To effectively reach your goals, your drive and vision must come from within. When it comes from outside sources, it may be ineffective long-term. According to John Donoghue, performance psychologist coach, "Motivation is only a temporary emotive action which usually has no real lasting effort nor does it make permanent changes."

In order to be truly successful in achieving goals, we must give ourselves a critical assessment and work to continually improve ourselves. "A person's performance and behavior will always be consistent with the picture they hold of themselves, i.e. their 'self-image'," says Donoghue.

And since nothing can improve our self-image like reaching goals, being successful can lead to more success. We are our own best coaches and motivators, and when the will to win comes from within, almost nothing can stop us.

In setting and striving for goals, there are many things we can do to help ensure success. One is to use the "SMARTER" approach to achieve your goals:

Specific: Is your goal specific enough to move toward?

Measurable: Is your goal tangible enough to measure?

Attainable: Is this goal possible for you at this point in time?

Relevant: Is your goal tied to what is most important?

Trackable: Can you chart your progress for this goal?

Elasticity: Are you and your goal flexible enough?

Rememberable: Will reaching your goal be a celebratory event?

Vera Haitayan, Principal Consultant of The Leadership Laboratory., a California-based employee development and process improvement consulting firm and is the senior editor of The Stepping Stone Newsletter featuring leadership and process improvement best practices. mailto:

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