You may have already begun taking the steps to see your New Year's resolutions come to fruition. Perhaps you finally got around to joining that gym, or maybe you were able to confront a friend about something on your mind that's difficult to talk about. Whatever new you may have initiated so far is a step toward change. And with change comes some degree of risk.

Maybe for you, taking a risk is exciting and fun. Prudent risk taking can lead to a better job, happier relationships and a more fulfilling life. However, if the fear of taking a risk holds you back, staying in your comfort zone and thus avoiding changes has a price as well!

So when considering a risk this year or simply executing your New Year's resolutions, keep in mind these four key points that are the staples of successful risk takers:

1) Your comfort zone is nothing more than an attitude. If you're happy with your life exactly the way it presently is, then maybe your comfort zone is where you'll ultimately choose to stay. However, if you stay in your comfort zone and resist change out of the fear of failure, success, looking foolish, rejection or even change itself, then living in a comfortable state of discomfort can only serve to shatter your dreams. Most simply put, your comfort zone is not a place, but an attitude that you have chosen to "protect" yourself. And like all attitudes, you can choose to change it right now -- I mean this minute.

2) Are your fears realistic or simply anxieties you can ignore? When considering a risk, think about the worst thing that could happen. Then ask yourself if what you imagined as the worst is: a) likely to be the result, b) something you could actually handle if it did occur and c) worth keeping you in a toxic comfort zone. Then make sure your decision is one made out of choice -- not unrealistic fear or anxiety.

3) Losses can be even more important than wins! Your losses test your capabilities and can provide you with the most important learning there is! They help you grow and provide new insight that you may not be able to get any other way. When you keep that in mind, you can turn your losses into no lose situations, because losses provide proof that you can handle a setback. As long as you don't let that undermine your self-confidence, future risk taking then becomes easier and easier!

4) It's your life, nobody else's! No one can tell you how broad or narrow your comfort zone should be or what risks you should or should not take. The choice is yours. So look at the attitudes that hold you back, then decide whether to choose "safety" or to open a new door that can help lead you to the life you were born to live.

The New Year is a great time for renewal and change. When taking risks in order to achieve this year's goals and resolutions, resolve to let go of all unrealistic fears and anxieties that hold you back. The ball is in your court! So what's the next step to fulfilling that dream of yours?

Author's Bio: 

Michael S. Broder, Ph.D. is a renowned psychologist, executive coach, bestselling author, continuing education seminar leader, and popular speaker. He is an acclaimed expert in cognitive behavioral therapy, specializing in high achievers and relationship issues. His work centers on bringing about major change in the shortest time possible.

His latest book, Stage Climbing: The Shortest Path to Your Highest Potential, has received much praise from such notables as Deepak Chopra, Steve Covey, Mark Victor Hanson and many other professionals; citing it’s groundbreaking and user friendly cognitive behavioral self-help approach.

A sought-after media guest, he has appeared on Oprah and The Today Show as well as making more than a thousand other TV and radio guest appearances. For many years, Dr. Broder also hosted the radio program Psychologically Speaking with Dr Michael Broder. He has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, and hundreds of other publications.