“Whether you believe that you can or that you cannot, either way you are probably right.” - Henry Ford

With the election of a new President, this month has been filled with hope for change and possibility for a better tomorrow. As each of us looks with anticipation to the future, it seems like a great time to discuss making changes that will mean a difference to your business, your family, or your life. For so many people the idea of change seems overwhelming because they don’t know where to start or they have failed in the past. Both of these things are natural reactions to the word “change.” Although I cannot promise that it will be easy, I can promise it is possible!

Let’s explore some steps to bring about the positive change you want to see in your life in 2009:

1. Stop Focusing on the Gaps: Often we stop ourselves because we are afraid we won’t be perfect. As adults, we are pre-programmed by society to look for the places to fail and, many times, fear of failure can cause procrastination mixed with paralysis. By discontinuing your focus on the negative aspects, the positive is able to come through and amplify the opportunities to succeed. Make this the year you get in action. You have nothing to lose but that same pattern that you’re trying to break free from.

2. Create a Vision: What is the vision of your life, career and business that you are living into? Having a compelling vision for where you want to go is crucial in order to give you the courage, strength and commitment to make it happen. By asking yourself what you truly want to accomplish in life and building a compelling vision surrounding that inevitability, you are generating energy to keep you moving towards something meaningful for you, your family, and your life.

3. Take Responsibility: Do not let life ‘happen’ to you. You will never find time to make changes in your life. You have to create time. That means learning how to ‘own’ your choices and the change that is important to your happiness. Once you shift from bystander to owner, you will be able to take responsibility for your future and your progress, and stay empowered even during the stormy times.

4. Design a Roadmap: As with any trip, you need a map to chart your trip, acknowledge your progress along the way, and know when you’ve arrived at your destination. Set specific goals that stretch you a little, and then break down these goals into manageable tasks. Creating a strong plan for success with milestones and measurements gives you an idea of where to start, what the next step is, how far you have come, and how far you have to go!

5. Commit to your Plan: You are either committed to something or you are not. Don’t waste time and energy being half-committed. It is the worst place to be. By committing to your plan of action, you will gain motivation and the inner resiliency you need to take the consistent action that will change your life. Place your plan of action at the forefront of your vision, keep your perspective and flexibility, and focus on success.

6. Take Action Everyday: Many times, when we think of change, we automatically believe that we have to commit to something life altering. Instead of setting yourself up for ambitious failure by trying to change your whole life in 30 days, make a list of a series of small things you can accomplish in the next 30 days that will follow your roadmap towards your vision. Small changes completed over time will give you a series of motivational victories that add up to a big difference.

7. Build your Support Structure: By finding the people who will embrace your change and support your efforts, you will double your chance at success because they will help motivate and hold you to your plan of action. Our personal support networks can provide many different kinds of support for us including encouragement and motivation to help us stay strong, focused and committed throughout our journey. So, share your plans with your support team!

8. Don’t Round Up: It is easy to say, “I will start next week” or rationalize procrastination with “Maybe Monday is better than today.” Tomorrow comes and we still want to start tomorrow. Hesitation adds up - one day of procrastination is 24 lost hours of your life that you will never get back. Stop living like you have endless tomorrows! The hardest part is taking that first step to begin building momentum. So, before you put off starting one more day, look in the mirror and ask yourself these questions…”What if I would have started 5 years ago? Where would I be today?” Remember, tomorrow starts today!

9. Give yourself a break: Many of us feel that a small slip means falling off of the wagon. In fact, it is just an opportunity for us to recommit to our goals with a richer understanding of what is important. After all, if the change you want to make in your life is easy, then it is not really a change is it? Forgive yourself, accept that you are human, and do not backslide by giving up. Instead, give yourself credit for making it so far and pick up where you left off!

Henry Ford was right on target. The key to making the positive change you want in your life is within your hands. You have to make the commitment. You have to reach for the possibility. Using my own WakeUp Call, I strive to aid people in making these changes in their lives. I have seen some extraordinary success and I am constantly amazed by the power of the human spirit to overcome the storm of adversity to change their lives.

To use your moment of truth, your WakeUp Call, to change your life is one of the most important steps you will ever take. It is easy to live in the comfort and complacency of every day. My challenge to you is to make every day extra-ordinary. WakeUp: Your Life is Waiting for You!

Author's Bio: 

This article is based on the popular book and audio book, WakeUp: Your Life is Waiting for You by Mike Jaffe. Mike Jaffe, founder of Jaffe Life Design and renowned motivational speaker, is a powerful and inspiring coach and seminar leader whose programs empower people to redefine what’s possible in their personal and professional lives.

Without doubt, the date of September 11th will live in every Americans mind as one of those moments when time stands still. For Mike Jaffe, that moment arrived on September 11th when he stepped out of the subway 20 minutes late for work, just after the first plane slammed into his office floor. At that moment, Mike Jaffe knew he had to change his life and the lives of others in honor of his co-workers.

In Mike’s inspiring and powerful talks, participants learn what it takes to make real, lasting change in their businesses and their lives by shifting their perspective from entitlement to accountability; therefore, moving from victim to victor. To find out more about each of Jaffe Life Design programs, please visit jaffelifedesign.com.