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I loathe the New Yearís Eve get-togethers when everyone gets drunk and lachrymose and self-pitying about all the promises they squandered over the past year. Not for me! I sip some wine and crawl under the covers before midnight lest I get infected by the virus of missed opportunities.

I always feel compelled to jot down a resolution or two but not this year. This year Iím going to make vows. These vows are going to clarify my thinking, enlarge my social network, leave more time for pleasure, introduce me to dynamic, creative thinkers and distract me from the second-guessing maneuvers that keep me from focusing on whatís really important in my life.

Vow #1 Throw Stuff Out

I think thereís a rule for throwing things out. I wish I knew it. All I know is that when I enter my office and see it swamped with papers, folders, files, books, magazines, I feel helpless and overwhelmed. Vow #1 is to read things once (or twice) and toss. Between Google and Times Select, I canít imagine why I was contemplating another file cabinet.

Vow #2 Stop Second-Guessing Myself

As a fan of self-scrutiny, I tend to hold myself to pretty high standards. And when I miss the mark, Iím the first to judge myself harshly. Vow #2 sounds appealing: Iím going to stop second-guessing myself. Iím going to trust my judgment and my instincts (at least) most of the time. Why not? People pay me to give support and advice so I might as well enjoy it for myself.

Vow #3 Surround Myself with Strong, Positive People

Okay, naysayers and disbelievers: Take a hike. Donít bother to ring me up in 2006 because my number has been changed. I love the way I feel when I surround myself with positive, upbeat, plugged-in, intense women and men who have the generosity to support others as well as believe in themselves.

Vow #4 Full Speed Ahead

Roadblocks, barriers, dead-end streetsÖtheyíll always be there but not for me. I have a magnificent support system of experts who can help me chart the course and navigate unfamiliar territory. If youíre thinking of making a change in your life Ė a new job, a new business or reentry into the social dating world Ė donít do it alone. Get someone to help you put together a strategy and listen collaboratively as you work through the details. Coaching is a remarkable way to put yourself into action and help you reach your goals.

Vow #5 Take More Risks

In my heart, Iím a bit of a fraidy cat. This year Iím taking a page from one of Americaís most brilliant convicted felons, Martha Stewart. She walked out of prison and after doing five months of house arrest, came back to star in two television programs. The secret: She took a risk that America would embrace her. And while the numbers arenít good, thereís no denying that Martha Stewart is once again very much on top.

Iím going to look for opportunities that are rife with risk and possible failure. Iím going to test myself, challenge myself and demand things of myself that Iíve never had the guts to do. I think the payoff will be huge. Vow #5 should prove interesting. Stay tuned



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