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posted: 12/10/2019 1:00 AM

Is 2020 a fresh start or more of the same?

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All human beings strive to lead comfortable lives and, as such, develop habits and patterns to achieve this goal. Our habits help get us through the day and even aid in the achievement of some of our goals. The undeniable problem with comfort is the complacency that is inherent within it as it can easily lull us into mediocrity! I have been on a crusade to smash all my comfort zones in order to develop a new sense of discomfort that will unleash my commitment to growth.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were challenged and said, "That's not the way I like to do it" ... even though you knew you should? This is the best example of a comfort zone because it serves to block to any new creative approach to the situation.

I just finished teaching a class on goal setting for salespeople and realized I had only addressed a portion of the issue. Most sales professionals understand the importance of using goals to control their future; however, few comprehend the critical need to remove deeply ingrained unproductive habits and recurring roadblocks. I use this simple exercise with my clients to help them break habits that are holding them from greater success.

Fold an 8.5 by 11 inch a piece of paper in fourths and title the top left quadrant 2019 Accomplishments. Now list the top three of which you are most proud. Next, title the top right quadrant 2020 Accomplishments. Imagine it is December 31, 2020 and now list your top three achievements as if 2020 were over and you were reflecting upon them. If you're reporting the same accomplishments in both quadrants you are probably stagnating without realizing it so it's time to re-examine the goals you're setting to make sure they stretch you to be a top performer instead of a complacent performer.

The next step is critical to the successful execution of the exercise. Title the bottom left quadrant 2019 Roadblocks and list the three biggest challenges you had to overcome to achieve the accomplishments listed directly above it. Finally, as you might guess, in the remaining quadrant, list the three major roadblocks you must hurdle to achieve 2020 goals.

Take time to analyze negative patterns to determine whether the same hurdles that held you back in 2019 will do the same in 2020. If so, goal setting is not the answer; eliminating these repetitive roadblocks is the key to achieving the true success you deserve.

In order to attack these repetitive roadblocks, I use the acronym RYIT to identify and crush them:

R stands for Real. Many obstacles are real and must be eradicated to enjoy continued growth. They are not solved because you address them once and need a sustained effort to annihilate them!

Y stands for Yours. These are roadblocks you have created so "STOP IT!" Raise your self-awareness and accept they are nothing more than head trash built up over time. Once a week, take out the trash by examining your thinking and questioning your beliefs.

I stands for Imagined. These are made up from fear, anxiety and self-doubt, so it's time to build confidence and live in the real world. Test all negative beliefs that have stopped driving your success as they hold you hostage, don't blindly accept them as fact as your growth depends upon doing this!

T stands for Theirs. These are roadblocks imposed by others in your life. STOP listening to them and raise your level of conviction. Don't let others create obstacles for you, deal with them and whomever created them. Artificial roadblocks and negative patterns, erected over time, are among the biggest reasons salespeople fail. Immediately address them as soon as you observe them rearing their ugly heads. Don't wait, they are far more challenging to overcome the longer they exist! Go conquer your worlds.

• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. bbartlett@sandler.com. Text "salestip" to 35893 to receive Bill's biweekly newsletter.