Old Dog, New Tricks: What Can You Change Before Year End?

Happy businesswoman jumps in the airport

Most of us, thankfully, do not need to learn a new form of martial arts to effectuate the change we want to see in our lives. It could always help, yes, but it’s not the natural next step.

Yet we do have something eluding us. A piece of the puzzle we have not yet fit, and we cannot reach the next goal (even one we have been desperately seeking) without finding and placing that piece.

But human beings are stubborn. I know I am. And yes, I’ll say it, some of my clients are stubborn too.

Too often, we know what will serve us – what we need to do, so we can do what we want to do – but we make excuses. We are like old dogs who refuse to learn new tricks.

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So here’s what you do to change that:

(1) Take some time to chill. (Relax, settle in and create some emotional space.)

(2) Review what you wish to bring into your life, and articulate your top goal between now and year end. If your goal may not (or cannot) be completed by year end, choose a manageable goal that is a piece of a larger goal, and repeat these steps in the New Year. For example, rather than “get a new job,” your goal may be to take certain concrete steps toward that end. Focus on what you can change, without attachment to outcomes.

(3) Embrace the vulnerability that you need to move out of your comfort zone. Be prepared to fail, but also be prepared to succeed. In fact, redefine success as a series of steps, not only as an end point.

(4) Embrace the power that you can call forth, from the depths of your being, to reach your goal.

(5) Envision all of the ways you (yes, you) and your family, friends, team, community and/or others. will be better off when you have reached your goal.

(6) Build a support network for your change, even if it’s only one person. Ask them to hold you accountable at each step.

(7) Be curious about what you need to reach your goal, and take the time to explore the most efficient path for you to get there. 

(8) Focus on the present. Not what you could have done last summer, last year or five years ago. What can you do now to achieve your goal? Keeping yourself in the present keeps your emotional energy available for solutions rather than stressing.

(9) Create a realistic action plan and work your plan. Reverse engineer your possible investments and divisions of time and energy to prioritize this goal among other obligations.

(10) Be your own best fan. Cheer yourself on, and celebrate your wins in a way that is meaningful to you.

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Focus on what you can change, without attachment to outcomes.

In the career context, your goal may be to build something, such as:

  • Resilience
  • A Calmer Demeanor
  • Relevant Skills or Expertise
  • A Stronger Professional Network
  • Gravitas and/or Greater Recognition in Your Field

Choose the goal that’s most pressing for you, and stop giving yourself excuses! Feel free to drop me a line telling me what you have been able to achieve.

Anne Marie Segal is an executive coach, resume writer and author of two well-received books on interviewing and career development. She served as a corporate attorney for 15 years, including roles at White & Case LLP and a prominent hedge and private equity fund manager, before launching her coaching practice. Based in Connecticut not far from New York City, Anne Marie partners with clients internationally on executive presence, impactful communications, graceful transitions and other aspects of professional and personal development. She also offers online instruction at www.segal247.com.

Image credits: Adobe Stock.

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ABOUT ANNE MARIE SEGAL Anne Marie Segal, founder of Segal Coaching LLC, is a career and leadership coach, author and resume writer who guides attorneys, executives and entrepreneurs through career transitions, advancement, job interview preparation, leadership development and personal branding. A former finance and hedge fund attorney, Anne Marie has presented to the United Nations (ICTY/MICT), University of Chicago, United Way, Association of Corporate Counsel and National Resume Writers Association, among other organizations. She has published two career-related books: Master the Interview: A Guide for Working Professionals and Know Yourself, Grow Your Career: The Value Proposition Workbook, written on career and resume topics as a Forbes Coaches Council member at Forbes.com and been quoted on CNBC.com, Monster.com and other media outlets. You can learn more at AnneMarieSegal.com or visit her LinkedIn profile at linkedin.com/in/annemariesegal.

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