"You sound like a broken record boy! But don't get too carried away with that idea, because we have a lot of work to do." It was sound advice from my manager at the time. I was just 20 years old and the youngest member of a new team that was launching a new radio station in Fayetteville, NC.

On top of being a member of the new on-air staff, I was also serving as the station's Music Director. This was my first opportunity to have anything to do with management and I was shooting high on our possibility for ratings success. So high in fact, that I had declared publicly that the station would no doubt debut as the new #1 radio station. This was obviously before I learned a lesson that you want to under-promise and over-deliver. I was aiming for the top in my first attempt.

Fortunately, there were seasoned professionals who tempered my response so everyone else's expectations were in line with more realistic goals. It didn't matter to me. I was looking for my "worst to first" opportunity and stayed committed to that idea. However, my problem with this bold projection was simply that it was 100% emotional on my part.

Yes, I believed it could happen, which is the first step. But, in reaching for the top spot, I never really built a plan on how it was going to happen. I was convinced it could happen if I wished hard enough. Well, to no one's surprise, except my own, we didn't debut at #1. We did alright, but there was plenty of room for improvement.

As I sat in my office totally bummed about the outcome, my manager paid me a visit. He reminded me that each of us should always shoot for the top and totally believe it. He knew I had that part down completely. However, it's so rare to take one giant plunge and achieve something. When you climb a mountain it's hard, but worth the work of getting to the top. You learn and grow with each step on that path. Everyone wants to be #1, but few are prepared to really do the hard work to get there. When you match that emotion of winning with the hard work of taking many actions, you will then make things happen.

He recommended we sit together and chart out a plan for each step of the journey. Together we could hold each other accountable to each goal. Well, it worked! After building a series of plans that looked at 90-day increments at a time, we continued to grow again and again. We made it to the top, but in a careful, well-planned way. And guess what? It was better this way. I was able to see and hear the steps along the path. It was an education I would have missed if everything happened all at once.

It's easy to dream and wish of being at the top. The hard work comes in taking the steps each day and not stopping when the obstacles start to block a path to success. You have to improvise, adapt and overcome in each moment, because as I learned, the unexpected will happen. But it's that very thing that makes it magical.

As you get Tuned In and make your resolution for 2008. Start with a wish, a hope or a dream of something you really want. Then take the time to sit down and build an action plan of how you will get it. I just read a survey that found only 9% of Americans are serious about achieving their goals. 51% don't have New Year's Resolutions and of those that do, 79% don't have a plan to achieve them.

It's so important that when you have a goal, a dream or a resolution to do the following:

1. Be super specific about what you want. If you don't know what it is you want, you'll never gain it.
2. Make sure you can measure the outcome. Don't simply say, "I want to lose weight" or "I want to have more money!" How much weight, how much money and how will you get there? What time of plan can you build to take daily steps to reach a big goal? No hoping and wishing for one giant leap.
3. How will you know that you have achieved it? Define what success will mean to you. Who will you share it wth? What will you do? What will you say when it happens?
4. Make it realistic. Old habits die hard because we don't believe or value our promises to actually do something different. Anything is possible, but you have to be realistic. Set your goals high and be realistic on what you can do each day.
5. Make your self accountable to someone. You've heard the old saying, strength in numbers. Use friends, co-workers or family members to help you stay committed and motivated for success.

Finally, start the New Year by getting Tuned In. In a recently published article in The Psychological Review, a team of three psychologists proposed that the attitudes we seek to change often resurface because they're never fully forgotten. They suggest instead that new attitudes actually supplement the originals rather than replace them. Break the cycle of behavior.

Tuned In is ideas worth listening to that will help you re-program those old patterns. I call it a format which keeps spinning the old stuff inside your mind over and over again like a bad song on the radio. I can show you how
to break the cycle of behavior first and start a path for new success. If you are serious about reaching your unlimited potential, it starts by getting Tuned In to you.

Happy New Year and here's to the best year ever in 2008!

Author's Bio: 

Sammy Simpson is a marketing specialist, motivational speaker, aspiring author, consultant, and communication expert. He invented the Human Audio Programming (HAP) technology, which is based on techniques from several areas including psychology, a 20-plus year broadcasting/communication career, Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) and his own life lessons.

Sammy entertains and educates participants in a high-energy, interactive format by filling the air with powerful words and inspiring ideas to create passion and an amplified experience of freedom, confidence and choice. He inspires, motivates and educates with entertaining and playful storytelling to enroll others in engaging content that ignites exploration.