shutterstock_304907312res·o·lu·tionˌrezəˈlo͞oSH(ə)n/ noun  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.

It’s that time of year. For as many people as I know who make resolutions about physical fitness, I seem to know just as many who make resolutions about communication skills.

If you have been kicking yourself and muttering any of the following under your breath over the past year – “I need to get some coaching, I need to be a better communicator.” Or, “Next time, I want to go in there and knock their socks off.” Or, “Okay, this year I’m going to work on my presentation skills.” – you’ll want to read on.

There’s no magic bullet and no one-size-fits-all coaching remedy to help you be a better communicator or presenter. There is, however, one really important, knowledgeable, insightful person already in the mix – you! – and so I’m designating you as your own coach.

And here’s how I suggest you begin – 1) read, and 2) make two lists. Pretty simple. Read this blog, read others, read whatever you can get your hands on that’s relevant to you and your career and the venues in which you communicate. Then make two lists – one to keep track of what you want to start doing differently, and the other to keep track of what you want to stop doing.

According to the dictionary definition, the word resolution implies an intention to change. Change is much easier said than done. That’s why in order to make it doable, you’ll want to be more specific than “I want to be a better communicator” or “I want to get some presentation skills coaching.” You’ll want to break it down into “starts and stops,” so that you can itemize and track what change looks like for you.

Be a keen and objective (well, as objective as possible) observer of yourself and others. Check in with your lists once a month or so, adding new insights and ideas on the “start list” and hopefully crossing off old and bad habits from the “stop list.” Be fair and honest with yourself, and relish even the smallest “starting” and “stopping” victories.

Remember: Communication is the currency of your success. You exchange words and ideas more often than you exchange money. Make your communications as valuable as you possibly can this year!

Beth Levine