Every Sunday morning, on my radio program at Mellow 94.7, I invite guests to share their knowledge with me and my listeners. I invite them over to “edumacate” us in their fields of expertise.

Today, I was fortunate to have a very driven and young achiever who came to share his advice on accomplishing your goals for the new year.

My guest was Ryan Songalia, the youngest writer ever inducted into the Boxing Writers Association of America, the organization which selected Manny Pacquiao as the Fighter of the Decade last year. Ryan’s stories have also been published in the top publications in New Jersey such as the Jersey Journal and the Star Ledger. His work has been quoted in FoxSports Yahoo Sports as well as Philippine publications like the Manila Bulletin, the Philippine Star and ABS-CBN. He has also been interviewed as a boxing expert resource person by TV networks, radio shows and publications in the United States and the Philippines.

Here’s Ryan Songalia’s tips for accomplishing your goals in the new year.

1. Show your initiative – Its easy to make excuses and harder to make strides towards your goals. The worst excuse I hear from people is that they cannot achieve their dreams because they come from urban areas or didn’t go to the best schools. I always jest, “Hey, I went to the same schools as you did.”

-Nobody will care about your dreams the way that you do, so take life by the reins and don’t wait for someone else to make your life’s decisions for you.

-It’s easy to dream and never take it further. Come up with a plan of action and carry it out. I sometimes mentor children and teens in New Jersey and I always ask them what they want to do with their lives. If they say they want to be a pro basketball player, I ask them how they are striving to reach that goal right now. It’s never too early to plan for the future.

I never let the fact that I haven’t finished college yet hold me back. I finished my first year of college back in 2006 and couldn’t wait to get started as a writer. I was like a powder keg searching desperately for a match. I wasn’t going to let any deficiency in credits hold me back. Just as a boxer must box to stay sharp, a singer must sing and a guitar player must play, so too must a writer write to stay sharp.

And its not as if I was sitting in a well-equipped office with high-speed wireless internet submitting stories to different publications. I was 19 living on my own in New Jersey and my parents had moved away and I had lost my job in a supermarket so I had no money to pay for internet. What I would do was go up on my rooftop and steal wi-fi from surrounding buildings and email my stories whenever the connection was strong enough. In a sad twist, my house was burglarized and my laptop was stolen but I didn’t let that deter me. Whatever money I had, went to internet cafes so I could write my stories. I lost my cable too so I spent my time reading books on the subject of boxing to familiarize myself better with the history of chronicling boxing.

2. Fake it til you make it – This was a term that a boxer once told me while he was rising through the rankings. He wasn’t a champion yet but that didn’t stop him from looking the part. This is an adaptation of the line, “Dress for the job you want, not for the job you have.” Confidence and the self-belief that says, “I’m a success because I desire it to be” is what separates the dreamers from the accomplished.

-Make everything about you shout confidence, from the way you dress to the way you stand and speak. Never second guess yourself, and stick by your guns. As a writer, I sometimes say things that are quite unpopular, but if I say them, I must stick by them because there was something there that made me say those things.

3. Know your strengths – Very important factor because this goes along with striving for attainable goals.

– I have a joke that I tell about my decision to follow my chosen profession. I say, from the moment I walked into the boxing gym, my trainer knew I was going to be a great writer. I knew fairly quickly that I wasn’t cut out for the life of a boxer but this was something I had a passion for. Through constant trial and error, I was able to parlay this passion into a life as a journalist, focusing mainly on boxing. And now I have other endeavors, including this month’s Rogue Magazine on shelves now. Two of my mini-pieces on American based editors are included.

-If you’re a people person, engage people on a personal basis and let this shine through. If you’re into computers, be on the front edge of technological advances in your industry. Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets are reshaping our means of communication but the next outlet is just around the corner.

4. “If you believe then you can achieve” – This was a lyric from a 2Pac song, but it applies to reality. I was 19 years old, just made the unpopular choice to take a break from school and here I was trying to make it as a writer. So few people believed in me early on, save for those who saw me climbing onto my rooftop with my laptop under my arm every morning and climbing down at night.

– I feel a lot of people judge you based on what they can do, not knowing what you are made of inside. You know yourself better than anyone else so let yourself be the ultimate authority in what you want to do.

– As children we are told to respect our elders, I feel this is of supreme significance because our elders who have come before us are fountains of experience that we should not forsake. Along the way, working alongside the much more experienced newspaper writers helped me by giving me a mold by which to grow from, then eventually become my own entity. I try to absorb as much from my elders as possible.

5. Empower yourself – Mentally, physically and spiritually, if you build yourself into a fort, you can not be defeated. The uninformed are the ones victimized by society so continuously work towards improving your acuity. I like to read constantly, and I find it keeps my sense intune and mind sharp. I like to diversify my subjects also so as not to be caught off guard in spontaneous conversation.

And those are your top tips for accomplishing your goals this new year.

You can find out more about Ryan Songalia on his website – http://RyanSongalia.com

To hear more cool topics from the coolest and smartest guests, tune into DJ Vince G on Mellow 94.7, Sounds Good!