How to 'Eat the Frog' and Other Ways to Have a Successful Career

If I had to guess, I would bet that at least once in years past, come January 1, you've resolved to lose weight, be more organized, spend less and save more, find a better job, or simply be a better person.

Yes, people love to make New Year resolutions. Perhaps more than that, people love to break them.

"People often give up on their resolutions after the first setback. They get frustrated that they messed up," says Karyn Beach, success coach and founder of "What most people don't realize is that messing up is part of the process. Things happen. The key is to stop beating yourself up about it and get back on track as soon as possible."

Libbe HaLevey, a business coach, says she advises workers not to make New Year's resolutions because "resolution" makes it sound like the issue is quickly taken care of. As a result, people get excited to make a change without understanding how long it will take to truly institute. When results don't come quickly, people get discouraged and give up before the end of January, she says. Instead, HaLevey prefers to have people make goals they wish to achieve by the end of the year and strategize the steps they'll need to take in order to get there.

"Instead of squeezing the self to 'resolve' things quickly, they spread the out the commitments and proceed at a manageable pace, with benchmarks to understand and celebrate their progress," HaLevey says. "Steady progress is made and the stated goal has an excellent chance to be achieved."

Ultimately, everyone wants to achieve their aspirations in the New Year and make a positive change in some aspect of their lives. With the current dismal state of our economy, perhaps one of the most important areas people should look to make a change this New Year is professionally.

"Resolutions don't have to always be personal. In fact, having resolutions that pertain to your career is a great idea," Beach says. "The kinds of things you want for yourself at home -- be more organized, use time more effectively, eat healthier -- will work equally well in the workplace."

What are your career resolutions?

Our readers weighed in with some of their career goals for the New Year:

-- "Sell 150,000 copies of my next book; talk to over 100,000 people; donate $50,000 to charity and be able to afford to dump undesirable clients." - Dave "The Shef" Sheffield, author and speaker

-- "One big work resolution I have for the upcoming year is to remain as focused as possible. Ideas are wonderful and we have tons of them. Unless we remain focused on a handful of critical projects, which may not necessarily be lots of 'fun,' we will never get the opportunity to accomplish our much larger objective of becoming the brand that young adults look to for the training and development of their essential soft skills." - Eric Barron, president of Eric Barron Live

-- "My New Year's resolution is to shut my phone off at night so I don't check my e-mail every time I hear a beep! I currently have four jobs and have an e-mail address for all of them. Alerts, newsletters, questions -- everything gets forwarded to my phone. It's recently come to my attention that I'm waking up my roommates with constant ringtones and blips." - Jenn de la Vega, chef/publicist at Mushpot Records

-- "My New Year's resolution is to launch my Web site to support women who have left an abusive relationship. [I] have been working on it for the past year -- next year is the time!" - Cynthia Colby, editor

Five tips for resolution success

Beach offers the following tips that career resolutionists can use to stay on track in the New Year:

1. Eat the frog

"Mark Twain said if you eat a frog first thing in the morning that will probably be the worst thing you do all day. So, start your day by tackling an important task, especially if it is a task you aren't crazy about."

2. Concrastinate

"If procrastinating means putting things off, concrastinate should be doing things immediately. Work in 15 minute increments. If there is a task you don't like, set a timer and do it for 15 minutes. At the end of 15 minutes, you will be amazed at how much you've accomplished. At that point, either stop or if you have built up some momentum, keep going."

3. Nix the multi-tasking

"We pride ourselves on being able to do two, three or four things at once, and that is fine if the activities are fairly simple, like stuffing envelopes while on a conference call or eating lunch while reading e-mail. But if at least one of the tasks is more complicated, like putting together a PowerPoint or writing a report, then it deserves your full attention. Set aside a period of time that you can devote to that one tasks. You will make fewer mistakes and get more done in less time."

4. Buddy up

"If your resolution is to do something simple like eat lunch away from your desk or go for a walk on your break time or keep your desk clean, make a pact with a co-worker who has a similar goal. Support each other in keeping your resolutions."

5. Plan it

"A few minutes of planning can save you hours of time. Either first thing in the morning or at the end of the day, take a few minutes to plan. It doesn't have to be a long formal process, just jot down the things you want to do that day (or the next if you do this at the end of the day)."

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Tom, you are an idiot. They didn't mean frogs in the literal sense. You are an ignorant, selfish, and most likely intoxicated moron with nothing better to do than pollute the internet with your idiotic views. For the love of God don't post another comment.

January 20 2009 at 3:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Honey Solomon

The comments are more interesting than the article! I can read, write and spell words that have more than four letters. If you have a limited vocabulary, you probably have a limited knowledge of literature, too. The article in question offers not a single answer that is original. Why did I read the article and the comments? I recognized how to 'Eat a Frog' as a quote and was curious enough to take the time to read the article. The comments reflect an attitude that has come to represent the usual. Opinions belong to individuals as does an anatomical reference that is frequently used! Back to the article and the 'suggestions' offered: it is neither well written, original nor does it address the issues that most of us have concerning the economy and the changes within government policy. There are too many people that are unemployed and most of them have exhausted their personal resources. This doesn't mean that they aren't out there every day seeking employment. Businesses have lost so much that they have had no choice except to downsize. Look around you at the empty buildings that belonged to companies that have been lost. Talk to someone that is unemployed and listen to what they have to say. Being 'multitask oriented' is a means of survival considering the circumstances in the work place. If anyone reads this, know that this is just my opinion and recognition of an economic situation that has serious repercussions for all of us. Quick fix articles, such as this are no-longer valid!

January 20 2009 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I just ate a plate of microwaved frozen vegetables trying to keep up with a new year's diet resolution. --- Maybe a frog would have been tastier? I am buddied up with someone, my husband, he is quitting smoking and I am dieting.....Doing the hardest thing you have to do for the day as soon as you wake up is good, if that is what your time allows.

January 20 2009 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tips don't really mean anything because they are based on the assumption that competence will be rewarded in a corporate environment. What is rewarded is actually an ability to manipulate your bosses and coworkers, an ability to hide your true opinions and ambition, and an ability to cover your mistakes and divert negative attention toward the office scapegoat.

January 20 2009 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Tom, I grew up on a farm. I now live in the city and own a marketing company. We would eat frog legs once a month. After reading your statement, I think I will fly first class back home this weekend and see if my dad has any frog legs and treat my wife and kids to a good eat. And me and my grand dad one year went out to the desert for a week on horse back. That was the first time I ate snake and It was damn good. I live in a condo I own in down town St Louis. Tom, I worked hard for my money and I hire only the best that think out side the egg, or box as they say. GET A LIFE!!!!!!

January 20 2009 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I personally think the frog analogy was good.... given the fact that I hate frogs and comparing it to hating doing a paticular task at hand...Just eat the frog and get it outta of the way.

January 20 2009 at 12:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Marilyn, speaking of self rightous. Wages have not increased over the past 10 years. However, the top 3% of the wealthest people in america, got richer. 38% of the wealth in this country is in the hands of the top 3% of the people. Pay your taxes, and quit threating to do harm to the economy if your taxes are raised. Be an good American and vow to do your part.

January 20 2009 at 12:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jimbo's comment

JIMBO- Myself and all of my friends who own companys, work 70-80 hours a week. I refuse to ALLOW my money to be TAKEN from me to be GIVEN to them. I, too, will downsizing. A GOOD AMERICAN!! I am a GREAT ONE!! YOU ARE A COMMIE.

January 20 2009 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good article.
I will implement some of these tomorrow morning!


January 20 2009 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Charles Carter

I'll share with you what my parents taught me.
1. Get all the education and skills you can.
The more you know and skills you have, the more options you will have.
2. Be punctual, do your job and be honest. Employers will know they can depend on you and reluctant to let you go.
3. If you want a raise, endeavor to be worth more than you are earning.
4. Be alert, observe and think about what you see. Think for yourself. Don't just rely on others to do all your thinking for you. Much can be learned that way.
5. what you put off till tomorrow just might not get done when it should be done if done at all.
Tomorrow is yesterday sooner than you think.
If you want to add up to anything, you have to multiply your capabilities. If you are lazy and unwilling to make an effort, be skillful at egg-sucking off others and at rationalizing your failures to amount to anything.
Future regrets are because of what you do or fail to do now.

January 20 2009 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

@ Audrey Markham, I don't think you can remove the comments but click on the share button or copy and paste the URL into an email.
I too have become unemployed but am working to alleviate that with my own online income streams. Here's a product launch that is coming in less than a week

January 20 2009 at 12:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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