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Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

''Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation,'' Zig Ziglar

The New Year is the time for new beginnings. The end of one calendar year and the start of a new one lends itself to starting things - making plans, taking new initiative, self-improvement. Even if you are not one for making resolutions (though nearly half of us do), chances are you still have plans, hopes, and dreams for the upcoming year - ideas for a summer holiday or a hope for a promotion. We all have some ideas for what we want the future to hold for us.

In a recent survey conducted by, 45% of Americans usually make New Year's resolutions, but only 8% of those people are usually successful in achieving them. Yet, people who set goals are a whopping 10 times more likely to attain their goals than the people who don't.

As Susan wrote in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, ''Simply having the intent to create something positive automatically ensures that something positive will happen.''

Resolutions, intentions, goals, all tie into Susan's idea of saying ''YES to the Universe.'' When you open your arms to accept the blessing the Universe can bestow, you are working with the Universe to create in your life the things you are hoping for. But to make your dreams come true requires you put in the effort too.

''Saying yes means positive action; saying no means giving up. It is only when we see possibility for change that we can work to effect change. We can say no to the situation as it is, but yes to the possibility for the growth it offers. If you believe that a situation in your life is hopeless, you simply sit back and let yourself be destroyed. If you believe that a situation is changeable, you can take charge and conquer any obstacle.''

So this New Year, make your resolutions, set your goals, or merely state your intentions and then make them happen! Whether you are trying to lose weight or get fit, whether you are angling for a better job or to start a side business, whether you are looking for love or looking to reconnect with yourself, there is no better time to get started on it.

Here are five steps that can help us all create the new beginnings we want this year:

1. Create specific resolutions or goals. We need to be explicit in describing what we want to achieve. The more realistic we are, the better we can envision the end result. If you want to get fit or exercise more often, instead of saying ''I want to get to the gym more often,'' say ''I will go to the gym three times a week including Saturday.''

2. Take personal responsibility, make a commitment to yourself. When we get up each morning and go to work we are fulfilling a commitment we've made to our employers. Yet when we set goals for ourselves, we often let them fall through as not a priority. Why should our commitment to ourselves be any less important than any other commitment? It shouldn't, so when you make your resolution for yourself, commit to it.

3. Create a timeline for achieving measurable goals. When we write deadlines on our calendar it makes it much easier to keep track of what we should be doing. By creating a timeline for when we should achieve certain steps we are breaking down something that feels huge and unachievable into increments that don't feel so overwhelming. If you want to lose weight, say 30 pounds by July, it becomes much less daunting to set a goal of one or two pounds a week for 26 weeks. Taking baby steps may take longer, but we're more likely to achieve our goal.

4. Follow through. We've set our goals, made a commitment, and set-up achievable milestones. Now we've got to DO IT! Get started - sign up for a class, join a club or gym, buy healthy groceries, or prep your resume. Once we start, we've got to keep going.

5. Have faith in yourself and your objective. This might be the most formidable step of all. Susan said, ''This is one of those concepts that seems easy but requires diligence to put into practice.'' Our goals and resolutions are only as achievable as we believe them to be. If we don't believe in ourselves, our chances of succeeding dwindle down to nothing. If we don't have faith in ourselves or our dreams, we are saying NO to Universe. The Universe's blessing are there, but we have to believe that they are.

Intention is a powerful tool in creating something you want in your life. Intention combined with action is almost guaranteed to help you achieve your resolutions and goals. Take the time to set your intentions, follow through and make 2017 the best year possible.

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