New Year's Resolutions You Can Keep

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8 Essential Steps to a Rewarding Year Ahead

Activating Your Ambition, A Guide To Coaching The Best Out Of Yourself And Others
Follow your plan. Stay focused. Take it one day at a time. Apply your new behavior every day.

Executive Coach Mike Hawkins, author of "Activating Your Ambition: A Guide to Coaching the Best Out of Yourself and Others," says, 9 out of 10 people make a New Year’s Resolution, but only 1 out of 10 keep them. Why is it so hard for people to change behavior? Whether it’s stopping a bad habit, starting a new diet or exercise program, learning a new skill, improving upon relationships,or communicating better at work, change requires the right mindset in order to reach objectives. A study conducted by John Norcross, University of Scranton psychology professor on New Year's resolutions proved that having the right mindset and a readiness for change to be the best indicator of long term success.

Mike Hawkins has found that even the smallest of changes are not to be underestimated. Change doesn’t come easy, and contrary to what some say, improving yourself is not just a matter of wanting something bad enough or trying harder, you must be willing and ready to face the challenges put forth. In other words, how prepared you are to change is more important to success than the actual characteristics of the behavior change itself.

With his straightforward approach to facilitating proactive change, Mr. Hawkins provides a basic 8 Step Plan for Success. By following it closely, you will accomplish your New Year's Resolution(s) and reap the rewards thereof. So, "Here's to you and a successful year ahead, Happy New Year!"

8 Steps to Ensuring Proactive Change in 2010:

1. Awareness - Get beyond your symptoms and uncover the root of what has prevented you from achieving your objective(s) before. Move past your self-deceptions, biases, and blind-spots by seeking feedback from others and building your self-awareness. Become accurately aware of what it is you need to do in order to reach your goal.

2. Motivation - Build an unyielding internal motivation to change. Convert your broad desires or external incentives into specific benefits that have real and near term meaning to you.

3. Belief - Remove any doubt that you can achieve your goal. Study former failed attempts and visualize yourself succeeding. Plan around your anticipated obstacles and have contingency plans in place that can be easily deployed.

4. Incremental Steps - Analyze the legitimate approaches to reaching your goal and select the best approach available. Devise a plan of action using small steps that circumvent your brain’s built-in resistance to change. Embed elements of fun to make your actions something you look forward to. Create realistic milestones by which you can measure progress.

5. Time & Energy - Determine how much time and energy your plan will require. Determine how you will free up that time and energy to ensure the top excuses to change, “I don’t have the time” and “I’m just too tired” are taken care of.

6. Initiation - Ensure the circumstances are optimal when starting your self-improvement journey. Don’t start a diet just before going on a family vacation. Don’t sign-up for night classes when a large and time sensitive project kicks-off at work.

7. Others - Solicit the help of others. Build your own support group. Find people that will offer you wise counsel, hold you accountable, and celebrate milestone achievements with you.

8. Normalcy - Follow your plan. Stay focused. Take it one day at a time. Apply your new behavior every day. Don’t let a trip or special circumstance prevent you from following your plan. Apply yourself until your new behavior becomes as unconscious as brushing your teeth with your dominate hand.

Mike Hawkins is author of "Activating Your Ambition: A Guide to Coaching the Best Out of Yourself and Others" (http://www.activatingyourambition.com ), and president of Alpine Link Corporation (http://www.alpinelink.com ), a consulting firm specializing in leadership development and sales performance improvement.

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