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10 Killer Ways to Rock the New Year by Making Resolutions that You’ll Really Keep

10 Killer Ways to Rock the New Year by Making Resolutions that You’ll Really Keep
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You know the drill—it’s always the same. Every New Year, millions of people get all ramped up to start the New Year off with a bang, setting all kinds of resolutions, making all sorts of promises to themselves and others, and by the beginning of February, the only thing that’s banging is their heads against the wall.

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    Things really shouldn’t be this way, but alas, for most of us, they are. It’s not that we don’t want to make changes in our lives, but most of us are unaware of how keying into a few old-school tactics can help us to rock a new year in with resolutions we’ll actually keep. Here’s the secret: there is no special formula; no magic wand to wave over ourselves that will transform us into rock stars that actually do what we say, and no, there isn’t a pill for it yet either.

    The secret is this: it takes good old fashioned American work to succeed at anything!

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    It may be a New Year, but you’re the same you, and if you want to rock the New Year in with some killer success strategies that’ll stick, you have to be willing to work hard and believe you can make it happen. Here are ten strategies that will help get you on track, and keep you there:

    #1 Persevere

    Most people are gung-ho at the beginning of the year, all “Yippee!Go get em! Live the dream, set new goals, lose that flab, and get that makeover”, but hype won’t get you anywhere. That’s why most of us fail to do much of anything. The only thing that will work for you—whether you’re trying to lose weight, start a new business, or set new goals—is to realize that anything of value, anything that’s worthwhile takes time and perseverance to achieve. There are no shortcuts. No guts, no glory.

    #2 Dig Deep

    Most of us fail at keeping our resolutions because we lack passion, we’re too general in defining our goals, and we’ve had way too many failures on the front end of things. In other words, we expect to fail. To succeed, you have to dig deep and find out what’s really important to you. People who are passionate about what they’re doing don’t burn out as easily. That doesn’t mean they don’t get tired; it means they something more powerful is driving them. This could be a cause, a belief, a need, or the love of something. Find your own passion, and there will be no stopping you.

    #3 Give

    Most people who are successful pour into the lives of others. They’re generous with their time, and they want to build value for others. If you want to succeed in anything, learn to be a giver: don’t think about what’s in it for you—think about giving others what they need, and everything else will fall into place.

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    #4 Build

    Don’t overlook the importance of building relationships. Whether you’re working on a new business, trying to lose weight, or trying for that promotion, relationships can provide the client base or support you need.

    #5 Get Counsel

    Successful people are always learning: they look to other successful people to mentor them they are teachable, and they don’t try to re-invent the wheel.

    #6 Invest

    Whatever you want to do, you have to invest in it. That means time, money and plenty of effort. Buy the right food if you’re trying to lose weight and make a lifestyle change. It may be more expensive to go organic, but you’re worth it. Spend the money on that great online course by a reputable teacher; you can’t make money if you won’t invest it your own business. You have to be willing to do things others won’t do.

    #7 Think Positively

    We’ve heard this one forever, but how many of us actually do it? Most people aren’t aware of how their negative internal monologues affect their abilities. Start noticing what you tell yourself on a daily basis: if you’re prone to negative self-talk, learn to replace it by building positive counter-statements. For a list of thinking errors to watch out for consider this:

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    Nothing keeps you from reaching your goals like stinkin’ thinkin’.

    #8 Write it Down

    Don’t skip this exercise! Get a piece of paper and write down a list of what is motivating you to lose the weight, continue with your writing, start a blog, create a new business, or whatever else you may be wanting to do in the New Year. You can do this on 3 x 5 cards. When your motivation waxes and wanes, pull ’em out and read them—slowly. If you want to lose weight and you’re tempted to overeat, remind yourself why this is an important lifestyle change for you. Ask yourself the following:

    • How do you want to feel about yourself at the end of the day?
    • Will this action help or hinder your ability to reach your goals?
    • What do you need to do to re-focus on the bigger picture?
    • What next steps might you need to take to do that?
    • How will you plan for future obstacles?

    #9 Never Give Up

    Winston Churchill said this years ago, but it still holds true: when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Most successful people have seen the bottom drop out plenty of times, but they suck it up and keep going anyway. When you want to quit, just take a break, regroup and come back into it when you feel ready.

    #10 Change Perspective

    When trouble or difficulty arise it’s easy to get discouraged: those last ten pounds that won’t come off, the rejection of another article, or the financial hit the new business took, for example. Discouragement can lead to despair—no bueno! Try looking at the obstacles through the lens of possibility, and see your challenges as opportunities for new growth or a change of direction. If you throw the towel in, you’re done.

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    So, now that you’re aware of some old tried-and-true ways to make your New Year’s resolutions stick, what the heck are you waiting for? Bring in 2013 with a bang!

    Back at you: What have you tried that’s helped you to turn a New Years resolution into a reality?

     

     

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    More by this author

    Rita Schulte LPC

    Licensed Professional Counselor

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    Last Updated on July 20, 2021

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

    How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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    You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

    Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

    Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

    1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

    According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

    “Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

    Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

    Warming up

    If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

    If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

    Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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    1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
    2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
    3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

    Stay hydrated

    Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

    To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

    Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

    Meditate

    Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

    Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

    Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

    Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

    2. Focus on your goal

    One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

    Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

    Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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    Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

    If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

    3. Convert negativity to positivity

    There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

    ‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

    It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

    Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

    Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

    Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

    4. Understand your content

    Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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    However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

    “No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

    Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

    Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

    One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

    5. Practice makes perfect

    Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

    In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

    Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

    6. Be authentic

    There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

    Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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    Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

    To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

    With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

    Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

    7. Post speech evaluation

    Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

    Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

    We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

    You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

    Improve your next speech

    As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

    Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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    • How did I do?
    • Are there any areas for improvement?
    • Did I sound or look stressed?
    • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
    • Was I saying “um” too often?
    • How was the flow of the speech?

    Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

    If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

    Reference

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