1. Believe you can.
Most people when thinking about different futures, start to “yes but”, themselves. They think they are too old, too young, not bright enough, not slim enough, not brave enough or attractive enough to achieve their dreams. If you want to achieve your goals in 2013 you must start believing that you can – the best way to do this is to explore and change any negative thought processes that you have. Realise that any lack of confidence can be addressed by changing your negative thinking and learning some very practical people skills. From my experience most dreams are achievable as long as they are within the realms of possibility.
2. Choose a different future.
If you keep on doing what you have always done in the past, you will always create the same result. If you want to choose a different future, you must be prepared to step out of your comfort zone and take different actions. This means visioning different outcomes and learning the skills you need to achieve your goals, in a safe and controlled way that will increase your chances of success.
3. Complete a life audit.
Think about what you like or dislike about your life. Draw a circle and then divide it up according to how you are spending your time. What proportions of your circle do you spend on your family, work, social activities, and quiet time? Then draw another circle, which reflects how you would prefer to spend your time. This will give you some idea about the areas of your life that you need to focus on in 2013.
4. Work out what you want to change.
Once you have drawn your circle, sit down with a coffee, paper and pen and write down where you perceive yourself to be in your life right now. Write down everything that comes to mind – your thoughts, feelings and ideas – then consider, where do you want to be over the next couple of years – again put as much down on paper as you can. Finally write down some initial thoughts on what steps you could take to move towards this new future. Do this with a friend and share your ideas if at all possible. It’s amazing what other thoughts develop when you chat to someone else about them.
5. Focus on the future
Develop a plan of what you are going to achieve by when and stick to it. If you have a set back, review what happened and why. Change your behaviour next time so that you are more likely to achieve a successful outcome. Successfully reaching your goals is about remaining tenacious and flexible without losing sight of the final destination. Believe that you can succeed in the future even if you have not succeeded in the past.
6. Realise that nearly everyone feels the same way as you do.
Having worked with thousands of people over the last 20 years, I believe that most people have negative thoughts about themselves and lack confidence in the way they relate to others. We just don’t tend to talk about it at work or social situations, so we think it must just be us who feels this way.. Adopts an “I positive, you positive” position when dealing with others and realise that other people have their own confidence issues to deal with.
7. Learn to say “no”.
Have you ever felt like an ‘exploding doormat’? This describes someone who let’s other people have their own way for a quiet life until one day they shock everyone including themselves by exploding. If that sounds like you, chances are it is time to learn to say ‘no’. People who lack confidence, often have a problem with saying “no” to people because they want to be liked and do not want to cause a fuss. Learning this very simple and straightforward skill will reduce your stress levels. It will also stop other people from using your time, money and resources, freeing you up to focus on your personal goals.
8. Build rapport
People do things for people they like, and they like people, who take the time and trouble to get to know them. One-way to come across as relaxed and friendly is to learn to build rapport with people. This will enable you to walk into a room with all kinds of people and feel confident and comfortable about your ability to strike up a conversation with anyone. If you are able to build rapport with style in a friendly and approachable manner you will find that people will actively assist you to achieve your goals. Apart from deciding to say “no”, learning to build rapport is probably the skill that will have the most impact on you achieving your goals in 2013.
9. Practice, practice, practice
The secret to looking like a “natural” is to practice, practice, practice. People skills like any other skill for example learning a language or playing golf takes practice. You will not be perfect straight away – in fact you might even start to notice what you were doing wrong more often, before you start to take different actions and achieve success. Then when you start to get some different reactions and make progress towards your goals, keep practising your new skills until they feel comfortable and second nature.
10. Celebrate success
Using the tips described will help you to achieve your goals one step at a time. Each time you achieve a success towards your goals, celebrate your achievement and recognize that it is stepping out of your comfort zone that is enabling you to do this. The more you step out of your comfort zone, the more comfortable you will feel to take the small, calculated and well-informed risks that are necessary to turn your goals into a reality. Success in one area breeds success in another. It is possible to enjoy success so much that you become ‘hooked’ on achieving new and better outcomes. When this happens you will not just be able to achieve your goals in 2013 but turn every dream you have into a reality.
Pamela E Milne is Director of Solutions Unlimited and is author of the People Skills Revolution published by Global Professional Publishing £16.99 which enables you to develop all the skills required to achieve your goals in 2013.
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