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Career Coach: Revolution, Not Resolution

Do your new year's resolutions fall flat year after year? This year, why not try a life revolution, instead of just a tiny, little, puny resolution The Career Coach explains how.

Now that it's February, how have you done with those resolutions you made at the start of the year? Traditionally we make resolutions to get our finances in shape, our bodies in shape, or our living spaces or offices in shape. We might vow to stop smoking, eat less, exercise more, get up earlier, etc. But so often, we make these promises without being resolute and by the time February rolls around, we've already given up on them.

This year, instead of making small changes with resolutions, why not turn around your life with a revolution?

Expand Your Horizons

  • It's great to read the trades and industry related Websites, but gain a broader understanding of the world by reading newspapers or weekly news magazines. Next time you meet that interesting person at a party or event, you'll have more to talk about than the effects in the latest Harry Potter film.

  • Take a class in something that interests you, even if it has no practical application to your current job. Learn for the fun of it. For example, if you are a programmer, take a drawing class. If you are musician who loves the ocean, enroll in a sailing class. Low cost courses in a variety of subjects are offered through local parks and recreation departments, community colleges and adult education programs. Taking a class will expand your network-- you are likely to meet someone new with similar interests.

  • Spend several hours each day away from a computer, television or video console. Get out among the animals and birds. Can't resist working? Take along a sketchbook and pencil, open your eyes and mind to new ideas. Organizations offer events such as hikes, social events, dances and conferences. If you are timid about going to an event where you don't know anyone, volunteer to help the event staff. You will be put to work by the volunteer coordinator and will meet other volunteers.

  • Instead of hoping that you will be discovered, make sure people hear about your talents. Volunteer to help organize a meeting, teach a class, or speak on a panel.

  • Instead of waiting for that phone to ring, make the call first.

  • Initiate contacts with people you'd like to meet. Every friendship begins with two strangers saying, "Hello."

  • Do an unexpected kindness for a stranger or a friend.

  • If you are an artist with an interest in gardening but live in an apartment, find someone in the neighborhood whose yard could use help. Older neighbors may not have the energy to tend their gardens — lend them yours!

  • Make a list of what you'd like to do and the obstacles that are stopping you. Then, make a plan of what you must do to overcome those obstacles. Make a list of the people who could help you accomplish your dream. You may not know those people now, but write down how they can help you. You'll be meeting them sooner than you think.

  • Don't be afraid to ask anyone for help. Don't be afraid to offer help to anyone.

  • Instead of thinking of your boss as a know-it-all, think of him or her as a mentor. What can you learn from your boss?

  • If there's someone you admire, tell him or her. Don't keep kind thoughts a secret.

  • Change your routines and habits.

  • Instead of arriving "fashionably" late at parties, be one of the first to arrive. Your host will have more time to spend with you and can introduce you to other guests as they arrive. It's less intimidating to arrive early than when the room is packed and conversations are in high gear.

  • If you are frustrated staying up late into the night working on the computer, try going to bed early and getting an early start on the day instead.

  • At that next meeting or seminar, instead of sitting in the back of the room, grab a seat in the front row. You'll be able to reach the speakers to thank them and introduce yourself before most of the crowd. And introduce yourself to the people sitting next to you -- just being there gives you something in common.

  • Instead of going to lunch with the same crowd, invite the new person at work or even your supervisor to dine with you.

  • Do something radically different. Instead of thinking, "I can't do that!" think, "I can try that at least once." You can start with something small -- take a different route to work, join a carpool, try a new hair style or rearrange your office.

Make sure the changes you make bring you closer to the person you want to be. Verbalize the changes you want to make to others and yourself. For example, if you dream of being a voice over artist, but currently work as a car salesperson, tell people you are an aspiring voice over artist. Visualize yourself as the person you want to be and pretty soon you'll see that person in the mirror.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a career coach, recruiter and hiring strategist. Her clients include Fox, Disney, Framestore, Digital Domain and Simex. She also speaks about animation careers at colleges, universities and national conferences.