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9 Strategies to Make 2012 Your Best Year Ever

Vickie Milazzo February 2012 issue of Skin Inc. magazine

As 2012 begins, for many skin care professionals, it feels like just another mile-marker in an endurance race going nowhere. Depressing, but true. Many skin care professionals trudge through the week fretting about money. Passion and fulfillment? Nope—just sheer survival. And the worst part is, many have meekly accepted that this is how it has to be right now.

Buck up! You can do a lot more than barely get by—and 2012 can be the year you actually start living your life again.

You can truly change the way you think about things, breaking old habits, putting some real boundaries in place and tapping into your determination. Take responsibility for your own happiness. It is possible to create a life that excites and energizes you, 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.

Following are nine strategies that can help you cultivate a new, resourceful mindset for this year and beyond.

1. Break the feel-good addiction

Remember, where you focus is where you will yield results. And because most people like to feel good, they gravitate toward what’s easy instead of what’s productive. Many waste time surfing the Internet, watching TV and hanging out on Facebook.

It’s time to let go of time-sucking distractions. The more superficial activities you engage in, the more superficial your life and accomplishments will be. So the next time you have a break at work, instead of checking your e-mail, Facebook or texts, use the time to take a step toward achieving one of your goals.

2. Don’t say “yes” by default

It’s a hard lesson to learn, but in order to be 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.

Stop committing your energy to every person or situation that demands it. Set your own expectations of what you want to accomplish. Don’t let your career or life take a backseat to everyone else’s. Yes, you have responsibilities to others; but, you’ve also got a responsibility to yourself.

3. Do something big every day

You eat a whale the same way you eat an apple—one bite at a time. Those skin care professionals who are successful understand that to accomplish any project, you can’t expect to do it all at once.

This is often why New Year’s resolutions don’t work out. You say, “I am going to lose 20 pounds,” and then you implement a new exercise regimen; and after two days of no weight loss, you get discouraged. You aren’t going to achieve your goals overnight; you have to work at it every day. Commit to doing something big every day toward that project or goal, and you’ll reach it. Keep working out regularly and, slowly but surely, you’ll see the results. Find something you can improve and start improving it—one bite, one step, one day at a time.

4. 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, don’t hang out with a bad golfer.

Successful people tend to hang out with other successful people, not with people who whine about someone else’s success. Stick with the winners. The view from the top is meant to be shared. Find someone who’s already there to share it with, not someone who’s never seen it.

5. 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. Any time you find yourself entertaining doubts or trying to limit what you believe is possible, remind yourself of your past successes. Let them infuse you with confidence and bolster your resolve.

Believing you can do it—whatever it is—is 90% of the win. When you expand what you’re willing to believe about yourself, you can transform who you are and what your life looks like.

6. Don’t wait for conditions to be perfect 

Along the way to becoming 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.

The real challenge is accepting that you have to keep on giving your best even when things aren’t perfect. Misguided perfectionism can prevent you from stepping out and going for what you want. Perfectionism can also rob you of the enjoyment of experiences. Distinguishing what does and doesn’t require perfection is the hallmark of successful skin care professionals.

7. Surround yourself with as many successful mentors as possible

Inept coaches don’t fail to help you; they help you to fail. Look around for others whose work you admire, and model yourself after them instead.

Get out of the rut of your own habits. Take advice from people with a proven positive track record. Accepting the leadership of others does not make you less capable of achieving your goals; it actually boosts your abilities. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice and when you get good advice, don’t be too proud to follow it.

8. Regenerate your passion for work

Do you remember why you wanted to be in the skin care industry? 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 skin care and spa. Tap back into the frame of mind you had when you were just starting. Ask yourself: “What can I do to become passionate about work again?”

You’ll know passion when you’ve found it because you’ll feel amazingly engaged and energetic. Desire will become energy, and you’ll have plenty of it to create your new life—your real life.

9. 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 advice would you give? Slow down? Take a few deep breaths? Spend a few moments enjoying one day before another day crashes in with new demands?

You need to give yourself such loving advice—and listen to it. It is important to thrive, not just survive. To have healthy, exciting and fulfilling relationships with others, you must first have a healthy, exciting and fulfilling relationship with yourself. Don’t be so busy taking care of others that you forget to take care of yourself. You can’t be your best self if you’re not your own self.

Make 2012 wickedly successful

There’s no reason why 2012 can’t be your biggest, boldest, most wickedly successful year yet. However, for that to happen, you have to match your big goals with some real changes. You have to take on a successful mindset that doesn’t take “no” or “I can’t” or “I’m too tired” for an answer.

Vickie Milazzo is the author of The New York Times best seller Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (Wiley, 2011). She has earned a place on the Inc. list of Top 10 Entrepreneurs and Inc. Top 5000 Fastest-Growing Companies in America, and is the owner of Vickie Milazzo Institute, an education company she founded in 1982. Author, educator and nationally acclaimed speaker, this multimillionaire entrepreneur shares her vast experience with thousands of people.

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