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New year, new strategies

December 28, 2009

How will you meet your goals for 2010?

In light of the New Years Holiday, I thought I would talk a bit about setting goals and making changes in your work-life and career. Any change you make, whether it is at work or a personal change, requires planning commitment and dedication to new habits and new actions. Follow these steps to a successful 2010.

Step 1: COMMIT

Making any changes require commitment to new behavior. Experts say it take 21 days to form a habit. Unfortunately, it is naïve to think that on the morning of day 22 everything will be easy. Making any kind of positive change requires a commitment to daily action toward your goal. Know from the start how you will handle the times when it is difficult.


When a chef cooks a meal, he starts by setting up his mise en place, a French term for “everything in its place.” This is where all your projects should start- with everything in its place. If you need to write a newsletter or a blog piece, you start by locating you research and idea files. If you want to make a career change, collect information & contacts in your new field. Your ideas and tools should all be in place before you begin, whether it is a small task or large goal.

Put everything in its place online as well. Planning to use your online resources can be a good way to get ahead. But first, consider the image you project online. Personal Branding expert, Dan Schawbel , recommends cleaning up your Facebook page and your Twitter image. Look at the kinds of people who follow you and make friend requests. Are these people going to help you in your career goals? Present a professional online image and use tools like Facebook and Twitter to network with people who will help you on your career path.


David Rock, author of Your Brain at work suggests thinking about mental energy as a precious resource. Tackle to projects that require the most intense thought first. Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-hour Workweek, suggests you prioritize by limiting the number of times you check email in a day. Work with your supervisors and colleagues to get support for a schedule that supports your priorities. Some sales people recommend placing their quota of outgoing calls early in the day and letting voicemail pick up all incoming calls. Once the quota is met, they catch up on the voicemail and other tasks.  Switching mental gears to switch tasks takes up a lot of your time and energy. Complete one task then move to the next.

Step 4: FOCUS

David Allen of writes “what usually most needs your attention is what

most has your attention.” He suggests that you gain control by identifying what’s on your mind. Its better to take the time to deal with distractions than to have them nagging at you. David Rock also discourages mental multitasking. When you perform several mental tasks at once you lose accuracy. If necessary, stop your current task to focus on the small things that are eating at your attention. Make a list of things to handle later, then return to what you are working on with a clear mind.

Success breeds success. As you make positive changes, you will be energized to move forward. Commit, plan, prioritize and focus on making 2010 your best year yet.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 14, 2010 4:00 pm

    sounds like good advice. I myself am in the middle of a career change that involves going back to school. I’ll put these into practice.

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