Ah! 2013, the start of a New Year. It is a time of hope and dreams yet unfurled before us. So how is it going for you so far? Although it is just seven days into this brand spanking New Year has anything changed for the better or the worse?

Here’s a thought for everyone who would like this year to turn out more productive than the last one. Make a conscience decision to choose to get help to behave differently than last year. Consider the old adage, “if you keep doing the same unproductive things you’ll get the same unproductive results.” Success this year is all about how you are behaving.

Instead of grappling throughout 2013, with the same consistent patterns of behaving and making the same mistakes repeatedly seek some help to make lifestyle changes. I recommend examining five key domains of your life that can impact success or failure depending on there consistent application each and every day.

The five key life domains are your habits; your communication style; your fears; your goals and your limits.

Know Your Habits

Learn about yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly by examining the habits that power you through your daily activities.

A habit can become an asset or a liability depending on its dominance in your life. One major reason a person should seek help with a habit is its propensity to take an unusually dominant role in spending ones time and energy. If a habit is driven by an obsession then the success this year might depend on reducing its power.

An obsession can take on many forms. It can be an activity such as chain-smoking when nervous or ruminative thinking which focuses on irrational beliefs. In either case a conscious or unconscious habit can lead to behaviors that foster unproductive outcomes.

Habits drive us on a daily basis whether on a conscious level or unconscious level. One should examine that rudimentary behaviors and asses if they are moving them in the direction they would like to go.

Know Your Communication Style

Recently I gave advice to someone to measure his or her tone of voice on a scale of 1 to 10. This self-exam symbolizes the frequency with which the person tried to get their point across to others.

Yet the art of communication is not dependent on how loud ones talks, the verbosity in which your get a point across or how quickly their razor whit can spew out answers. It espouses how another person hears you clearly and succinctly.

A person should consider changing (modifying) their communication style with the answer to one simple question. How is your communication style working out for you?

If you find yourself yelling at the top of your lungs to get your point across to other people more times than not, it’s time to change. If you find yourself mumbling under your breath as a result of being angry or frustrated at others it’s time for a change.

Communication is dialogue. If a person exercises the above listed patterns of behaving on a consistent basis it indicate that style is a flop (did not want to say failure).

Know Your Fears

Welcome to the human race where fear is a common companion. As one grows older you discover that the experience of feeling fear can save ones life in many circumstances.

A person should perform a personal examination to determine if ones’ life is or is not based on irrational fears. A life that is balanced between courage and fear is healthy and wise.

Choose one activity or area of your life that you have desired changed and make plans to confront it and change it. Fear is a barrier. Barriers are meant to be broken. Take courage that the barrier that has kept you from your dreams can be broken.

Since you know the barriers that have caused you not to take risks last year seek to be courageous to move beyond them now. Take some time to imagine the possibilities for a vibrant New Year and act on them without the fear of doubt, failure and defeat.

Know Your Goals

What do you want for you? A dream can wonder aimlessly though your mind at night but it does not change your life. It’s time to take at least one of those dreams and set a plan in motion to make it real, tangible and beneficial in your daily living.

Stop examining your mistakes and excuses for not living your dream and set a goal to bring them to life. As one sets a goal for the future the plan to accomplish it will follow.

Sign a contract with yourself. I, (your name) will work to complete my (goal). It can be a goal to complete your academic degree, which will translate into a higher paying job. It can be a goal to collect that ton of notes to write that book that has been collecting dust on your desk.

Whatever the unrealized dream you may have it’s within your grasp by making plans to pursue it with passion because that’s your goal.

Know Your Limits

Glass ceilings can be broken. The sound barrier has been shattered. Science can bend light. Things we never thought could occur are happening everyday can they happen for you?

Examine the limits with which you believe you are incapable of breaching to flood into new territories of living. Like fear they are irrational beliefs in our lives that stop us from reaching new heights of personal achievement.

When a person knows their limits then they are ready to challenge them to discover their greatness. Limits can keep us safe or they signal where we can test our spiritual or physical muscles.

The only limit that can stop you is the one you cannot see beyond. If you doubt that your limits can be breached, broken or shattered read the inspirational stories of people who faced insurmountable odds and won. Let their story help rewrite the narrative of your life to become all that you can be in 2013 and beyond.

Author's Bio: 

Samuel Means is Pastor of Trinity A. M. E. Zion Church in Delta, PA. In addition to pastoring, Samuel is a mental health therapist working with families, individuals and children. Recently, Samuel initiated a project called, Father Teach Your Children where twelve families have been selected for individual and family counseling. The purpose of the project is to bring mental health awareness to families suffering from abuse, neglect and troubled relationships.