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13 Steps To Stick To the Life Changes You Want To Make

13 Steps To Stick To the Life Changes You Want To Make

This is it. The year you’re going to stick to life changes. You set your resolutions and intentions for the year and you’re well on your way to accomplishing them. But you’re starting to feel the pressure or you’re just waiting for the doom of that first slip up. Well, here are 10 ways to stick to the life changes you want to make.

1. Determine why you want to stick to these life changes.

Understanding why you do something is the key to sorting out how to do it. If you feel like your motivation is waning, it’s probably because you’re not clear on why you’re doing it. When you determine why you want to do something, decisions will flow and you’ll have a clear picture of the outcome. Set aside some time to consider your why and don’t settle for the first reason that pops up. The deeper you go, the more committed you will be to the work of sticking to the life changes you want to make.

2. Make a plan of mini-plans.

Once you’re clear on why you want stick to those life changes, you’ll be ready to make a plan. Plus, you’ll have a clear idea of how to focus your energy to best support why you want to stick to your life changes. Use this new found motivation to plan out your process step-by-step. You can start by brainstorming everything you will need to do and then list them out, week by week. When you break down your big life changes into smaller goals the pressure will ease and you won’t be so overwhelmed by the big looming change you need to make.

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3. Set attainable and measurable goals.

One of the most common reasons you don’t stick to your life changes is because you’re not setting attainable goals that you can track. Setting attainable goals isn’t about selling yourself short and tracking isn’t about filling spreadsheets and graphs. You can accomplish most anything you set your mind to with concrete steps that you can complete. So, dream big, but make sure your week by week goals are attainable within that time frame and are actionable rather than conceptual.

4. Set deadlines and stick to them.

Set mini deadlines in your plan to stick to your life changes. Start from the final date that you want to have accomplished your life changes and work backwards from there. Ask yourself what you need to do each week to get yourself to that final destination.

5. Focus on the action rather than the goal.

To stick to your life changes, you need to focus on action. Don’t get stuck setting mini goals that rely on gaining rather than accomplishing. Gaining relies on outward forces, while accomplishing focuses on actions that you can achieve by your own volition. You need to address the how, not the what.

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6. Give yourself rewards and praise.

Are you waiting for your life changes to be a reality before you give yourself a reward? Huge mistake. Each step you take towards sticking to your life changes is a mini victory and deserves to be treated as such. A great, and free, way to reward yourself is through praise. Give yourself a fist pump, do a victory dance, or simply say sweet somethings of encouragement along your path to success. Bundle these mini steps into bigger strides and treat yourself with a greater reward for each set. This will make the road to that ultimate reward that much more pleasurable, not to mention motivating.

7. Track your progress.

One of the greatest forms of praise is to validate the progress you make by tracking the baby steps you take each day. Set up a neat chart or checklist that you can post on your desktop or bulletin board to be reminded of how stellar you are at sticking to your life changes. On your off days, look back at this progress for motivation and recognition.

8. Be present.

Sticking to life changes is a big commitment and becomes overwhelming very quickly. To ease the burden of change, be present. Focus on one task at a time and let yourself enjoy the process as much as you would the destination. When you feel stress and worry building in your head, bring awareness back to your breath so that you can have the most impact with each action you take.

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9. Identify what’s holding you back.

A lot of people are afraid of success. Counter intuitive, yes, but true. Face your fears and challenges, don’t ignore them. Identify what’s holding you back, then make a list of ways you can overcome those challenges. It may be fear, it may be lack of support from your family, or it may be that you haven’t identified your why. Whatever it is, don’t let it hold you back just for lack of awareness.

10. Visualize your progress.

Visualizing your success keeps you motivated and focused. Take it a step further by visualizing your progress. Imagine yourself doing the work it takes to stick to life changes. This practice mentally prepares you for the effort it takes to stick to life changes and helps surface any challenges or even tools you may have overlooked.

11. Have fun.

Sticking to life changes doesn’t have to be boring. Incorporate some fun into your tasks to make the journey worthwhile. Use a playlist of your favorite songs, go outside, be silly. Channel your inner eight-year-old to find creative ways to make your action plan, action-packed.

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12. Let your goal evolve.

You learn and grow every day, so why shouldn’t your goals also evolve with you? The life changes you set out to make may take drastic turns or slight transitions. You’re not failing when you let your goal evolve, you’re growing and setting yourself up for greater success. Sticking to life changes isn’t about checking off a list, it’s about embodying your desires and dreams.

13. Remember it’s not all or nothing.

The journey is as much an accomplishment as the destination. Treated as such, you won’t need to stick to life changes because you’ll be living them day to day.

Want more proof of that sticking to life changes is all about the journey? Learn how successful people like Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs stuck to their life changes. 10 Things Successful People Do

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Last Updated on April 11, 2019

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

How Communication Skills Help Your Success

Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

Create a Positive Experience

Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

Help Leadership Skills

It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

Build Better Teams

Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

1. Listen

Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

2. Know Your Audience

Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

Here is a good way to think about it:

Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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3. Minimize

I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

4. Over Communicate

So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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5. Body Language

The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

Conclusion

Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

Now go communicate your way to success.

More Resources About Effective Communication

Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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