3 Simple Good Habits You Need to Learn to Succeed


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Aristotle said it best — “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”

Habits define our daily life. These small decisions and the lifestyle choices we make have large impacts on our personal and professional life, so it’s good to develop a sense of awareness of what’s working for you and what’s holding you back.

Bad habits in the workplace are common and can be detrimental to your career. Bad behavior and immaturity can cost you that next promotion or keep your friends from referring you to employers for that next great opportunity.

An August 2015 study from CareerBuilder found that 77 percent of workers have witnessed some type of childish behavior among colleagues in the workplace.

Your habits and behaviors are extensions of your character, so what you do regularly and almost involuntarily can either be favorable or detrimental to your career growth.

Start to notice and develop a sense of self-awareness to avoid falling into bad habits like tardiness, negativity, using bad body language like slouching and not making eye contact, showing a lack of confidence, and throwing temper tantrums when emotions start controlling you.

These bad habits can be broken with some simple changes to your everyday life. Here are three good habits you can start developing now to improve the quality of your life and help you succeed in your career:

1. Manage Your Time

Tardiness illustrates a lack of interest, disrespect to those who are expecting you (like your boss), and bad time management skills. Those who rush around and feel scattered tend to find themselves running late because they don’t structure their time and effectively plan ahead.

Procrastination is your worst enemy. Combat it by using tools like a planner or productivity apps that keep you engaged with what you have to do and how your day looks. Making lists forces you to prioritize tasks, which is a good habit to start.

Prioritizing makes you think ahead and visualize how you are going to approach certain tasks and processes. It’s important to stay engaged when managing time so you can clearly understand your limits to avoid overloading yourself.

2. Think Positively

Negativity is common and says a lot about how you view yourself and the world around you. The 2015 Careerbuilder study found 55 percent of workers say whining and 46 percent say pouting are among the top immature behaviors they see in the workspace. When you tend to see the glass as half empty, it’s hurting your career and even your personal well-being.

A 2015 study of more than 5,100 adults from the University of Illinois found that the most optimistic participants were 76 percent more likely to have health scores in an ideal range, including cardiovascular health.

Staying positive regularly isn’t as difficult as you’d think. Take time every morning to express gratitude for the day. Write down a couple of things you are appreciative of and a few of your traits you like about yourself. This will start your day off looking on the bright side of things and finding value in yourself, instead of cursing at the alarm clock or dreading your commute.

After making this a habitual practice, you will notice that you tend to be more appreciative of opportunities instead of frustrated and stressed about them.

3. Find Your Growth Mindset

It’s easy to feel defeated when you feel stuck. You start to slouch, withdraw from socializing, cross your arms, and disengage from your work. In April 2016, Gallup reported that only 32 percent of employees feel engaged in their career.

Staying engaged throughout your career means developing a growth mindset — when you stop seeing your strengths, weaknesses, skills, and abilities as fixed and start realizing your potential to learn and change. This won’t happen overnight and will require a strong commitment.

It starts with work and changing your perspective. You have to be mindful and correct how you see certain aspects of your life. Replace thoughts of failure with thoughts of appreciation for the opportunity to learn. Embrace imperfections and stop seeking external approval. Set goals for what matters to you and focus on doing the work to reach those goals.

For example, use online resources like Codecademy or Udemy to learn specific skills that could benefit your career. Consider going to college for specific degrees or certificates. You can even develop this new mentality in your personal life by learning things that interest you, like playing the guitar, building road bikes, sculpting and painting, or brewing your own craft beer.

These small changes drive you toward excellence and success. Creating good habits in your life, like taking control of your time, managing your emotions and stress, and living a life of learning and constant perseverance, will set your career path up for advancement and improvement.

What good habits are you excited to start developing?

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta, Managing Director of CareerShift, co-founded the company in 2005 to help individuals bridge the gap between education and employment.  As a recognized expert in the field, Val is a frequent speaker on career management, networking, and job hunting strategies.  You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on FacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.