How to be successful in the New Year

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New Year’s Day may, in fact, be the most inspiring date on the calendar. Sure, it may mean your holiday vacation is coming to a close, but it’s also a chance to start fresh. It’s an opportunity to reinvent yourself, a time to set new goals (ones you can actually achieve!), to kick bad habits to the curb and to be more successful than ever before. Here’s a list of tips to help you climb to the top in 2015.

1. Forget fear

Nothing will stop you dead in your tracks like fear – it may even be safe to say that it’s the number one killer of success. What’s worse is that some folks never even pursue their passion because they’re so terrified that they’ll fail. So, how do you tackle the nagging, internal voice that’s been feeding you lies for too long? There’s no simple formula, as a good deal of how you handle fear depends on your personality. But you can start by asking yourself this: What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen if you tried and failed? In most cases, the answer is that you get up and you try again; remember, there’s no success without failure.

2. Communicate better

You can network until you’re burned out, but it’s not going to do you any favors if your communication skills are lacking. Being a great communicator is so much more than small-talk and swift responses. There’s been a world of advice written on the topic (we even have an entire post dedicated to it, which you can read here), but there are two vital things to remember when it comes to killer communication:

  1. Listen. Listen like your job depends on it. Don’t just hear the person who’s speaking; genuinely take in what they’re saying. Don’t interrupt, never attack and always provide relevant feedback.
  2. Be direct. Beating around the bush will not only delay your requests and inquiries, but it can have negative outcomes. Whether you’re seeking clarity on a project or you need to address an issue with your boss or a subordinate, be straightforward and stay on track.

3. Train harder

It’s more important than ever to stay on top of your skills. While it’s true that IT pros are in high demand, the most coveted roles – and the biggest pay bumps – still require top-notch talent. You won’t land your dream job if you’ve been letting your toolkit get rusty. Keep those certifications current and make sure you’re always learning something new and relevant to your field. You don’t need to spend your every spare moment studying, but why not carve out a few hours each week to level up? When you’re ready, we’ve got an entire library of courses to help you get started.

4. Stay productive

Be honest, how much time did you spend slacking off this year when you could’ve been working toward a new career goal? Instead of losing valuable hours down the deep, dark hole of distraction, schedule little breaks in your routine so that you don’t get burned out. Keep a to-do list or daily schedule with everything you need to accomplish – if it helps, break down tasks by the hour. When you have an end in sight, it’s far easier to keep your motivation throughout the day, even when it’s a grueling one. For more productivity tips, head here.

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Stacy Warden

Stacy Warden is a contributing editor of the Pluralsight blog and has worked in publishing since the dawn of the iPhone. Currently, Stacy deals in tech and education--a combination that she finds absolutely fascinating. You can find her on Twitter @sterrsi.