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by Jennifer Brown Banks

Want to Move Forward in 2006?
12 Strategies More Effective Than Resolutions

The new year is upon us! And yet, some folks are still stuck in the same ruts, unfulfilling relationships, and bad habits as the year before. And the year before that. And the year before that.

Forget resolutions! Without an awareness of where you’re going, your strengths and weaknesses, and a good game plan, you’ll still falter.

Like my friend "Ella." Even though she’s college educated and capable, she stays broke, hasn’t dated in years, has few friends, and feels that life has dealt her a bad hand.

The reason? She’s completely oblivious to the fact that she often makes poor decisions, holds grudges, won’t take constructive criticism, and says and does things that often piss people off!
Ella refuses to “connect the dots,” see the big picture, or get a clue! And worse still, is that her self-perception is totally unrealistic.

Are you Ella?
Denial is a dangerous thing. Although it may keep your ego in tact, it’ll keep you from moving forward and realizing greater heights.

Here are 12 ways to find peace, passion, and prosperity in 2006:

1. Get Rooted in Reality
If you keep losing jobs, losing in love, and losing ground, most likely the problem is you. If your problems are the same this year as the year before, it's likely the problem is you. If you're "putting on the pounds," it's not McDonald's or a fast food conspiracy. It's you.

2. Stop Playing the Victim (see above)

3. Write Down Realistic Goals and Commit to Them
Impose a deadline. Studies show that people who write their goals down are three times more likely to achieve them.

4. Get Your Financial House in Order
Did you know that your cash flow plays an integral role in all aspects of your life; from your stress level to your general health, from where you live to how you live. Decrease debt, do your homework, and consult a financial planner for greater strides.

5. Get Feedback From Someone You Trust and Admire
Nobody has all the answers in life. That's the great thing about having friends and mentors! In what areas are you lacking? Or how can you take your current skills to a higher level? Seek advice from those whose life habits or level of success shows a proven track record in where you're trying to go. For example, a friend of mine has wanted to be a professional writer for as long as I can remember. She's never had anyone to accept or publish her work. Yet when I try to offer suggestions (and I've sold hundreds of pieces) she rejects all my advice. Duh? There's something wrong with this picture.

6. Have a Realistic View of Who You are and What You Bring to the Table

7. Learn From Your Mistakes
Don't beat yourself up about your mistakes. Reassess, then move on. Remember that "those who fail to learn from the past are destined to repeat it."

8. Watch the Company That You Keep
Be it an intimate relationship or fair-weathered friends, beware of the company that you associate with. Toxic people can be just as damaging as other health risk factors.

9. Don't Compare or Compete
Embrace your uniqueness and value your individual gifts. And give honor to "the creator."

10. Do Periodic "Progress Checks"
Are you where you thought you'd be this year? Or are you at least moving in a forward direction?

11. Love Wisely
If you're not being treated the way you feel you deserve to be, hold out for the "real McCoy." Don't stay in a romantic situation just because it's comfortable or familiar.

12. Try Something Different
If your current efforts are not working, change course. To quote world renowned motivational speaker Les Brown, "If you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you getting."

And as an added bonus...

Take advantage of the wealth of information available through books. Here are three books that I recommend:

1) Your Best Life Now, by Joel Osteen

2) The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren

3) Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill

I wish you the best in love and life in the new year.


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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.

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