- 2011 is drawing to a close and, for many recession-wracked American women, it feels like just another mile marker in an endurance race going nowhere. Depressing, but true. We trudge through the week at a dreary job, drive home fretting about money, and spend our evenings robot-walking through the usual haze of homework battles and half-finished chores. Passion and fulfillment? Nope, just sheer survival. And the worst part is, most of us have meekly accepted that this is how it has to be right now.
has a message for all us "endurers": Buck up, girlfriend! You can do a lot more than (barely) get by - and 2012 can be the year you actually start living your life again.
"I'm not talking about the kind of new year's resolution that's just wishful thinking pasted on top of your old lifestyle," asserts Milazzo, author of the New York Times
bestseller, "Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman" (Wiley, 2011, $21.95). "I'm talking about truly changing the way you think about things, breaking old habits, putting some real boundaries in place and tapping into your determination.
"I'm talking about taking responsibility for your own happiness," she adds. "Don't you think if someone was going to swoop in and rescue you it would already have happened?"
"It is possible to create a life that excites and energizes you," she says. "But first you have to make a conscious choice to step out of your old, unfulfilling one. And it's a choice you have to make over and over again - if you don't your old patterns will suck you back in."
Milazzo offers nine strategies that can help you in 2012:
• Break The Feel-Good Addiction: Remember, where you focus is where you'll yield results. And because we like to feel good, we gravitate toward what's easy instead of what's productive. We major in minor accomplishments, wasting time surfing the Internet, watching TV, hanging out on Facebook, trying to beat our high score on Angry Birds.
• Stop Being The Chief Everything Officer: Don't say "Yes" by default. It's a hard lesson to learn but in order to be wickedly successful, you have to understand that by saying "No" to some things you will have the time and energy to say "yes" to the right things. If you're feeling overwhelmed and pulled in every direction you won't be able to lead yourself, much less anyone else.
• Do Something Big Every Day: You eat a whale the same way you eat an apple - one bite at a time. The wickedly successful understand that to accomplish any project you can't expect to do it all at once.
• Stop Hanging With The Biggest Losers: When you choose to participate in negative behaviors they rub off on you. Think about it this way: If you're struggling to achieve a goal, you shouldn't hang out with someone else who is struggling to achieve that same goal. If you want to be great at golf, you don't hang out with a bad golfer.
• Expand What You're Willing To Believe About Yourself: Studies show that women will underestimate their own abilities, judging themselves lower than their skills prove, while men overestimate their abilities, judging themselves more competent. If you see yourself as powerless that's what you will be. Anytime you find yourself entertaining doubts or trying to limit what you think is possible, remind yourself of your past successes. Let them infuse you with confidence and bolster your resolve.
• Don't Wait For Conditions To Be Perfect: Along the way to becoming wickedly successful, you may have to redefine what success looks like for you. Conditions will never be perfect - there will always be something muddying the water, even if it's just a little muddy.
• Surround Yourself With As Many Successful Mentors As Possible: Inept coaches don't fail to help you - they help you to fail. Look around you for others whose work you admire and model yourself after them instead.
• Regenerate Your Passion For Work: Do you remember why you wanted the career you have? There aren't many jobs that offer easy hours and easy money, so that probably wasn't it. It was probably the love you had for the profession whether you get to help people everyday, use your creativity, crunch numbers or whatever your passion is. Tap back into the frame of mind you had when you were just starting out. Ask yourself, What can I do to become passionate about work again?
• Take Care Of Yourself First: If you stepped back and looked at your daily routine objectively, as if it were happening to your best friend, what would be your advice? Slow down? Take a few deep breaths? Spend a few moments enjoying one day before another day crashes in with new demands?
"There's no reason why 2012 can't be your biggest, boldest, most wickedly successful year yet," says Milazzo. "But for that to happen you have to match your big goals with some real changes. You have to take on a wickedly successful mindset that doesn't take 'no' or 'I can't' or 'I'm too tired' for an answer."
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