Habits are tricky things. They can fuel higher levels of performance or act like kryptonite, suppressing your potential. Fortunately, we have control over habits, although some may be more difficult to form or change than others. Aristotle famously said:
"We are what we repeatedly do. Success is not an action but a habit."
Here are nine daily habits you should embrace in 2018 to achieve more in your career:
If there is only one habit you implement or change, make it this one. I have yet to meet one successful person in my life who doesn't accept responsibility for the things happening in their life. By accepting this mindset, they don't allow events to dictate outcomes. They understand the equation I learned from Brian Kight, E + R = O. Event + Response = Outcome. Accepting the responsibility for the things happening in your life isn't enough though, you have to reject the urge to sit passively on the sidelines by putting your talents to use.
This sounds counterintuitive, but I have yet to see anyone who makes a big leap in their career without being laser-focused on what they are trying to achieve. Spreading yourself between three different buckets will lead to an average performance in all three. Early in my career was trying to execute 3 or 4 different business ideas which led to not being great at any of them.
Focus intently on a lane and pursue it with a relentlessness that others cannot match. If you are starting a business in 2018, focus on solving a problem and don't stop until you find a solution. If you are in learning and development, become an expert in everything L&D. If you are in marketing, become an expert in everything marketing...so on and so forth.
If your schedule is anything like mine, it's difficult to find time to take your health seriously. While I could focus on the consequences of being unhealthy, it's the confidence gained that gives you a leg up in your career. You walk with a little more swagger and speak with a touch more confidence when you have healthy habits like working out and eating clean.
Sean Pastuch of Active Life RX said, "Sitting is the new smoking. If you sit for 30-60 minutes at a time, you're doing your body an enormous disservice." If you can't make major health changes like going to a gym, at the very minimum, get up out of your chair and be active every 30-60 minutes.
Jimmy Collins, the third corporate employee at Chick-fil-A and author of Creative Followership said on a recent episode of the Follow My Lead Podcast, "Doing the things your boss doesn't like to do, makes you instantly invaluable." Instead of thinking any job is below you or only focusing on your job responsibilities, look for opportunities to proactively do the things your boss doesn't like to do.
Netflix has exploded in popularity in the last three years, so much so that an average household is watching 28 hours of Netflix a month. While there is nothing inherently wrong with watching Netflix, imagine using those 28 hours reading books by successful entrepreneurs or industry experts. If reading isn't your thing, turn off the next binge-worthy show and watch the documentary about Henry Ford. You will learn lessons you can use to positively impact your career.
One of the most powerful habits you can put into practice is focusing on solving problems in your workplace. Instead of huddling at the water cooler or lunch table complaining about negative things happening in your work environment, spend time trying to solve them.
At LearnLoft, no one can bring up a problem without at least an idea for a solution or the desire to uncover one. This practice has allowed each team member the freedom to solve problems or come up with solutions that could move the business forward versus spending time complaining.
At this point, the debate about whether leaders are born or made has been settled. Leaders are primarily made and leadership is a skill that can be developed. This means you can become a leader or improve your leadership skills. Make developing your leadership skills like brushing your teeth. Something you do every single day through, reading, writing, watching others, or mentoring. The better and more self-aware leader you become the better your career will go.
One of the biggest mistakes any professional can make is thinking their career is all about themselves. Find one thing big or small to help a colleague every single day. The more you give, help and serve others the more you will receive back in return.
When you begin to make networking an everyday habit, you will see that the purpose should not be meeting an immediate personal need. The best part about making networking an everyday habit is that it's easier than ever to build a professional network that matters. Thanks to powerful platforms like LinkedIn, apps like Shapr and Meetup, and industry conferences in every city, there are endless opportunities to meet others and create real value-based relationships.
John is the CEO of LearnLoft, author of, F.M.L. Standing Out & Being a Leader and host of the 'Follow My Lead' Podcast. He writes or has been featured on Inc.com, LinkedIn Pulse, TrainingIndustry.com, eLearningIndustry.com, CNBC Money, and more. John completed his education at the University of Maryland College.