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Do you want more out of 2014 than you got out of 2013? More money, more free time, more respect, more friends, more whatever? If you are like over 90% of the population there is something you said you would achieve in 2013 that you fell short on – why do you think only 10% did not fall short? It is because they have desire, commitment and follow the 6 simple steps we outline in this column.

This time of year we are flooded with people asking us – How can I make 2014 a better year than 2013, or how can I make it my best year ever? Why does this flood come towards the end and the beginning of each year – frankly because so many people realize either they are frustrated ending another year short of where they wanted, they are concerned as what the coming year may look like, or they are fed up with mediocrity from their teams – or themselves.

At the risk of doing what we like to call “unpaid consulting” we will outline 6 simple steps you can learn, implement, and follow (if your desire and commitment level is high enough) to get more out of 2014.

Step 1 – Set some GOALS

This may sound easy – however they must be written down and detailed. People with written goals are 10 times more likely to obtain them. Your GOALS should encompass both professional and personal things – some I see frequently – more money, less work, better relationships, losing weight, etc. To ensure these set you up for success they should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time Bound.

Step 2 – STUDY

To grow you need to study. Based on your goals from step one – find ways to STUDY what you want. If you want to sell more then STUDY sales, if you want to have better relationships then STUDY relationships. How can you have growth in any area if you do not STUDY what getting better at it means?

Step 3 – INVEST in Yourself

Look at step one again and find areas you can INVEST in yourself to grow. If you want to become a better manager – find a workshop, book, or seminar to INVEST in – do not wait for someone else (i.e. your employer) to make the INVESTMENT – do it yourself. True professionals in invest in themselves and their own growth – not just the money – but also the time.

Step 4 – PRACTICE

This one often sounds odd to people, however can frequently be the most important. The single biggest difference between an amateur and a professional is practice. If you want to grow in your communications ability – find ways to practice. Whatever it is you want to improve (professional or personal) you can practice it.

Step 5 – Learn and Follow a SYSTEM

Every respected professional follows proven a SYSTEM, or more than one of them. Look at your goals in step one and find ways to learn a SYSTEM that will help you grow in that area – whether it is sales, management, leadership, or being a parent – following a proven SYSTEM will help you grow.

Step 6 – ACCOUNTABILITY

Find someone to be your ACCOUNTABILITY partner. Tell them what your goals are, what you are doing in steps two-five and have them hold you ACCOUNTABLE to it. One of the best ways to accomplish new things is have someone hold you ACCOUNTABLE to what you are working towards.

Over 90% of you reading this can get more out of 2014 by learning, implementing, and following these 6 steps. They can ensure 2014 will be your best year ever – professionally and personally. You may be asking about the other 10% – they already work with firms like ours to help them with these 6 steps – they bring the desire and the commitment – we are able to help with the rest.

Here is to getting more out of 2014 and to making it your best year ever!

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