The power of one: Try something different this year

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by Michelle LaBrosse, PMP, Chief Cheetah and Founder, Cheetah Learning

How about trying something different this year? Instead of a long list of resolutions that get tucked away in a filing cabinet or eaten by the dog, how about focusing on just one? The one resolution that can make the biggest difference in your life and have the most impact.

What is that resolution for you? Think about the one thing that gnaws at you most. Maybe it's a dream or a goal that you catch yourself thinking about, but then you put off because it would take too much time or effort to complete. Or maybe you don't know where to begin? Whether it's going back to school or starting a business, there is no singular goal that you can't accomplish this year.

I like to look at New Year's resolutions with my Project Management hat on. Think of your one resolution as a project, and treat it like one throughout the year. Here are a few tips to get you started:

Make your resolution actionable. Many people make their goals and resolutions too broad. Every good project manager knows that plans need milestones, and they need to be measurable. Break your resolution down into the 12 months of the year, and develop a milestone for each month. When you can see your goal on a monthly basis, it's much less overwhelming than just looking at the ending.

"The best thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time."
Abraham Lincoln

Inspire yourself. What inspires you? Some people like motivational quotes and others like photos or images that remind them of their goal. Use whatever inspires you, and make sure that you can tap into that inspiration every day.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Aim High. I'm a believer in the "big, hairy, audacious goal." Little goals can be accomplished in a day. It's the big ones that take not only our perseverance, but also our passion. The power of one gives you the room and permission to choose a large goal that's going to have a lot of impact.

"In the long run, men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, they had better aim at something high."
Henry David Thoreau

Cultivate an attitude of success.

In any biography that you read of someone successful, you will always find that one consistent thread: They believed in themselves and had an attitude of success. It sounds simple, but it's true that many people secretly don't believe they can accomplish something -- which is why they never attempt it. If you cultivate an attitude of success, success will follow.

"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude."
Maya Angelou

Practice Random Acts of Kindness.

It's easy in a high-tech world to feel disconnected and to feel like everything is too big for one person to have an impact. If there's ever a moment when your goal feels too big or you feel too small, just do one simple act of kindness, and you will quickly be reminded of the power of one.

"If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one."
Mother Teresa

Use My PMP to Propel My Career.

Don't forget the power of your PMP (Project Management Professional). Make this the year you use your PMP to take you to new places in your organization. Once you've achieved your goal, reward yourself with something that matters to you. Whether it's the trip of a lifetime to see The Great Wall of China or working on a Habitat for Humanity build in New Orleans, make the reward as exciting as the journey.

The best to you in 2008. May all your projects shine with the realization of your achievements!

About the Know How Network and Cheetah Learning
The Know How Network is a monthly column written by Michelle LaBrosse, the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. Distributed to hundreds of newsletters and media outlets around the world, the Know How Network brings the promise, purpose and passion of Project Management to people everywhere. Visit to learn more about Cheetah PM, the fastest way to learn about Project Management and get your PMP. You can also get your career in gear with CheetahWare, free Project Management tools from Cheetah Learning.

About the Author
Michelle LaBrosse is the founder and Chief Cheetah of Cheetah Learning. An international expert on accelerated learning and Project Management, she has grown Cheetah Learning into the market leader for Project Management training and professional development. In 2006, The Project Management Institute selected LaBrosse as one of the 25 Most Influential Women in Project Management in the World, and only one of two women selected from the training and education industry. Michelle is a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Owner & President Management program for entrepreneurs, and is the author of Cheetah Project Management and Cheetah Negotiations.

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