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New Year, New You: Nothing New

Next year I’m going to…”

Kyle Richner
Kyle Richner

In predictable fashion, the end of the year means promises will be made. For most, promises are made with the intent to come true until reality shows us otherwise.

Don’t have to be Nostradamus for this: By February, previous month promises and the intent behind them will fade into a distant memory. By March, justification and amnesia will kick in full throttle, until “Nothing New” rules the remainder of the year.

A bit gloomy prediction on my part, suggesting you will be failing on the self-imposed challenges being made over the next week. Here’s the problem many simply don’t understand or refuse to believe: in order for promises to come true, change MUST become part of the equation.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Good news, defeat does not always happen; maybe there is a chance this year will be YOUR year of change, progress, and happiness.

Though no guarantee, there are specific guidelines to follow in your journey to the new you:

  • Active: Rarely does change become a reality for those sitting on the sidelines. For those wishing for better health, your dust-layered treadmill can no longer be used as a cup holder.
  • Attitude: Without believing change can come about, it will never happen. Psychologists have proven time and time that the power of a positive attitude can (and will) ignite change.
  • Visualize: In order for you to secure a destination, you have to know where you are going. Visualization is one of the most influential elements defining success. After all, without picturing the result, the path will never be defined or ventured.
  • Valley: Before beginning, recognize there will be obstacles (many call these temptations) causing hesitation. Preparing for a stumble allows you to develop preconceived options to overcome.
  • Career: Reflect on 2014 and perform a private inventory how the year went for you. Did you accomplish anything at work? Did you take any professional development courses or attend seminars? Did you cross-train or make yourself more valuable to an employer? If the answer is no, don’t blame others for career complacency (no raise or promotion).
  • Journal: During the first week of January (or final week of December), write three areas you would like to change. The key is to be specific. Don’t write: get a job (or promotion) without a plan on HOW you plan on achieving the goal.

What are YOU going to do this year? Are you going to play the armchair role, waiting around for something great to happen and then blaming others or circumstance once again 12 months from now?

New Year, New You? It’s not going to happen unless YOU make it happen. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would place my pot of silver that NOTHING NEW will define 2015 for you… as for me, I’ve got a plan and know 2015 is going to be one of the most progressive and successful years of my life.

Double Dare: Prove to me (mostly to yourself) 2015 is going to be YOUR YEAR.

To review and consider career development books and resources, including material designed specifically for those transitioning from military service, resume / cover letter construction, networking, and interview strategies as well as employment guidance for ex-felons visit www.edu-cs.com, www.CareerBreakOut.com, or www.2ndChanceUniversity.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com

Writing Tips: Banishing Writer’s Block

Stuck staring at a blank page? Dr. Kathryn Broyles, Ph.D., Program Director of General Studies at American Public University/American Military University, shares techniques on how to transform the stare into a stellar document.

It’s 2:00 am. Crumpled paper covers your table; your pen is leaking onto the placemat, and cups of coffee, all at various stages of full surround you. Your eyes are bleary, your hair disheveled and despite your best efforts at super-caffeinated, latte-reinforced creativity, the blinking cursor on your lap-top has you hypnotized. You seem unable to make your fingers move it across the keyboard– or the cursor across the page—unable to compose the brilliant argument you’d hoped to as to why you should be given this job….

What do you do? How do you get past writer’s block? How do you get started on that cover letter, resume, or personal statement that may just change your life?

Tip #1NEVER stare at a blank piece of paper or a blinking cursor.

Humans are social creatures. We need interaction and conversation. Even in the solitary task of writing, we need to be in a conversation with ourselves and with the words on the page. So rather than shutting down that conversation with the blank stare of a blank page, get the conversation started! Begin in the middle, even at the end if you have to. Write anything, but write. You might even begin simply by writing that you don’t know what to write about– but the secret to getting past a block and getting words on the page is that you simply have to begin.

Once there is text, some text, any text, on the page, you’ll find that a whole different part of you can begin to interact, begin to have a conversation (in your head and on the page); essentially, you can begin to write. In fact, you’re already writing!

Tip #2DON’T censor yourself until it’s time to revise and edit.

Now that you’ve gotten words on the page, some words, any words. Now that you’ve begun the theoretical conversation with yourself, the page, and the future readers of your text, don’t shut down the flow of words with worry. Don’t worry about whether this is the best way to say that, whether you have any dangling modifiers or comma splices, whether you sound smart enough, or overqualified. Simply write. Write and write, addressing issue after issue that may be relevant to the task at hand.

It’s much easier to come back to a wordy rough draft later, to cull the best parts and delete the appalling. But don’t stop your initial flow of words to do it. Don’t censor yourself. Once you have everything down you might possible want to say, THEN you can become your own worst critic, but not before.

Tip #3Take advantage of relational thinking and logic.

You likely have much to offer a future employer. You’re more than likely qualified for the job you’re after and have a genuine interest in doing well in such a position. That’s why applying to it attracted you in the first place. To communicate most effectively with any reading audience, however, you want to provide illustrations and examples that support your claims. In this case, you’re claiming to be qualified! So, how do you prove it? What evidence can you offer?

If writer’s block has you struggling to come up with ideas, tap into the natural, relational order of an interesting conversation. Remember last week when you asked Joe what he had planned for the weekend and he mentioned going out with the kids for pizza and that led to a conversation on your favorite pizza toppings and on to an argument about who in town has the best pizza and then on to the time in high school when you ate 15 slices in one sitting, and that fact that now you gain 15 pounds just smelling good pizza, and boy, is staying fit while you grow older a challenge?

A conversation about the weekend somehow became a discussion of middle aged strategies for weight loss? It did! And it did so quite logically. You and Joe related one idea to the next, weaving your way through a fascinating conversation.  Use this same kind of idea relating to help you head in new directions on the page, working to pull out from your memory and into your writing all the great examples and illustrations you need to help you craft the perfect application documents and make the fullest case for why you should be hired.

It may sound simple, but honestly, the best way to get past writer’s block is to get writing! And use these three tips to help.

Thanks Kathryn, your advice is greatly appreciated as many of us, especially those writing career documents, blank-out, become frustrated, and give up before beginning. For those interested in learning more about American Public University/American Military University, where they are expanding access to higher education with more than 100 affordable degrees and certificates to prepare students for service and leadership in a diverse and global society, visit their website at www.apus.edu.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Got Twitter? Shadow me @DannyatECS