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Right now the year stretches before us all shiny and new. With it comes a renewed sense of optimism and endless possibilities. But, the truth is unless we make change happen we’ll be looking back at the same old story again next year.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Everything comes to those that wait.” Well I think Thomas Edison said it more accurately, “Everything comes to he who hustles while he waits.” The only way to get ahead is to keep moving forward.
Take these six steps to make this year one of the most productive years of your life.
Forget New Year’s Resolutions – Studies show that developing goals, particularly written goals is the best way to achieve what you want. This year forget New Year’s resolutions, like “I need to drop a few pounds.” Instead set concrete goals, such as “I will lose twenty pounds by June 1st.” Ensure your success by developing a strategic plan to reach your objectives.
Build Your Network – Whatever you’re doing, it’s easier to “get by with a little help from your friends.” It can’t be said often enough: the surest way to succeed is by building and maintaining a strong network. These are the people who will be there when you need a new job or clients for your fledgling business. The key is to develop real connections not superficial links.
Say Goodbye to Comfort – As a rule, people are resistant to change. It’s easier to maintain the status quo, even if we’re not happy with it. However, stepping out of your comfort zone is the only way to grow in your personal or professional life. This year make it a practice to try something new on a regular basis. You might discover a skill you never knew you had.
Listen More, Speak Less – One of the quickest ways to become a better communicator is to learn to listen. Give your full attention to the person or persons you’re speaking with. Break habits like rehearsing your answer before the other person is finished speaking and jumping in to answer a question before it’s been asked. The best way to know what someone wants – whether it’s your assistant, your client or your boss – is to ask them. Then listen.
Expand Your Horizon – Pick up a book. Take a class. Between adult education and online learning and the rows of business books at the store there’s no reason for anyone to stop growing. Take a break from watching TV. Make one of your goals to learn at least three new things this year.
Be Appreciative – Sometimes a little thing like saying thank you seems like just that, little things. They are until you forget to. When someone extends themselves with an introduction or shares a bit of information make sure that you at least say thank you. While an email is fine, a handwritten note is better still. Saying thank you will make sure you’re remembered in a good way.