How you define success can be very subjective and personal. For somebody, it might be having a big fat paycheck, while for some it isn’t about the money but to be held in great regard for their work. Then there are some who seek both money and fame. Irrespective of how you define it, the journey is not an easy one.
To succeed and achieve your goal, you need to put in the time, energy, and sweat. You have to overcome challenges, stick to your beliefs in the face of opposition, and generally ensure that you maintain the right mindset. Irrespective of their field of work, all successful people share certain common traits. As we venture into the new year and all the possibilities it brings, we take a look at the habits you should definitely inculcate and maintain to achieve success in 2018 and beyond.
Set your goals
What is it that you want to achieve? Your journey can only begin when you set your destination, or else you might just wander about like a headless chicken. Having a clearly defined goal to aspire for will not only give you motivation when the going gets tough, it’ll also keep you stay focused.
As Muhammad Ali said, “What keeps me going is goals.” Set goals to strive for, and your chances of success will definitely improve. However, don’t forget to set achievable goals; setting outlandish and unachievable goals will do nothing except set you up for failure.
In today’s professional world, it’s easy to get side-tracked. We’ve all attended meetings which seem to go nowhere, or been a part of conversations that have no concrete takeaways. Keeping yourself focused on the desired results/outcomes of your actions will help ensure you don’t lose track of the issues that matter. It is a necessary component in the recipe for success.
Start taking action
It’s well and good to spend time on building a plan and strategy for achieving your goals, but don’t forget to start acting on those plans either. Too many people spend too much time planning and too little acting. If you want to achieve success, you have to take dedicated steps to implement the steps needed to get there.
Think long-term goals, but define them short-term
As mentioned earlier, it is important to always keep sight of your final goal. But try to break up your journey into smaller achievable steps, which will help you get one step closer to your ultimate success. Also, don’t get distracted from the final result you’re trying to achieve. A long-term mindset will help you go all the way.
Never be afraid to take risks
By “take risks”, we mean keep yourself open to the prospect of failure. There is no guarantee that every step you take will pay off; however, the chance of failure should not stop you from taking action. As any successful entrepreneur/business leader will tell you, there is no success without its fair share of risks.
Don’t make excuses
If you fail along the way, it can be tempting to blame your environment, coworkers, circumstances, and a million other things for what went wrong. While they may be a part of why you failed, don’t make them excuses for your failures. Own up to your mistakes, learn your lessons, and focus on moving forward.
There is no shortcut to success
Everybody wants success as soon as possible, but it is important to remember that there are no shortcuts to the top. Every business leader of repute has reached their position after years of hard work and dedication, and there is no getting around it. But look at it this way – when you finally achieve success after all that slogging, it will taste so much sweeter.
Focus on one thing at a time – while multitasking
As you keep working towards your goals, there will be multiple things that need your attention on a daily basis. From that ‘urgent’ email which requires an immediate response, to the client call you can’t put off, to the meeting that you absolutely have to attend – there is no lack of things a professional needs to pay attention to. However, don’t get carried away and try to do everything at once.
Multitask, but keep prioritising as the focal point, so that you’re able to slot everything into an appropriate time into your workday. Focusing on one thing at a time will help you wrap it up faster and ensure time for other things that need attention later.
Accept a certain lack of control
At the managerial level, micromanagement is a tempting entrée, but it will come around to hurt you later. Trying to keep a close eye on everything your team does and control every possible variable is not only impossible but will likely leave you pulling your hair from stress. The solution? Delegate, delegate, delegate.
Trust your team members to do the jobs they’re assigned. Check in on their progress from time to time, but don’t try to exert overbearing control over everything they do. Successful leaders know which things to focus on themselves and which ones to pass on to those better suited to working on them.
Learn to be picky
Not everyone you meet is working towards your goals. Often you might come across people and situations that demand your time and attention at the expense of you working for your own growth. Learn to make judgement calls and say “no” if you think the cons outweigh the pros. You have no obligations to help anybody else achieve their goals; accept that your first priority is yourself and your aims, and make choices accordingly.
Michelle Obama has said, “We learned about honesty and integrity – that the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square.” It can be tempting to resort to unscrupulous means to achieve success quickly but ask yourself if it’s worth the cost of a bad reputation and lack of trust with other people. On the path to success, honesty is indeed the best policy.
Don’t alienate those close to you
How many times have we heard the horror stories of professionals who got so caught up with work that they forgot important family events or didn’t reach out to people they cared about until it’s too late? Working hard for success is pointless if you have nobody to share the success with. Always take time out for family, friends, coworkers, and other relationships that are important to you. This will not only keep you grounded, it will also be a welcome relief from the stress of an extremely hectic work-life balance.
Be mindful of your physical and mental health
There is plenty of research on the correlation between working too hard and declining health. What use is the pursuit of success if you’re in no physical or mental shape to enjoy the fruits of your labour? Don’t forget to take time out daily for physical activity, as well as hobbies and activities away from work to give your mind time to recharge. Your body will thank you in the long run.
Whether it is sticking to your morals, or taking care of your health, or working towards your goals – nothing is possible if you don’t have self-discipline. There is no lack of people and situations who want to distract and keep you from success. It is up to you to maintain the self-discipline necessary to ignore them and keep working towards your goals.
Stay away from toxicity
Certain people and situations are just bad for you. They sap your motivation to work, make you question your abilities, and generally are bad for your efforts to succeed. If you recognise somebody or something like this in your life, stay away. You’ll find that you’re more productive and successful when you’re not being constantly pulled down by toxic environments and people.
Perfectionism is problematic
You want to be the very best at what you do, and be the pinnacle of success in your field. That’s great, and you should definitely aspire to that. However, don’t get caught up in trying for perfection in everything you do. Being successful is as much about recognising the areas you can’t improve upon, and moving on without getting caught up in minute details and the quest for ideal perfection.
Not everybody has to like you
Any business leader, no matter how successful, has their share of critics and naysayers. There’s no escaping them. Don’t let their criticism “get to you” – take learnings where appropriate and focus on the positives. It is highly unlikely that you’ll be universally liked once you’re successful, so don’t worry when it happens on the way to success either.
Find your independence
Your success in part rests upon the help and cooperation of many well-wishers and coworkers, but ultimately you’re the only one responsible for your success. Becoming overly dependent on a particular tool or person sets you up for failure in their absence. Being self-dependent will not only build your capabilities, it will also ensure that you’re not relying on external factors for your success.
There you have them: 18 habits that will put you on the path to success! Of course, there is no sure-shot single path to success, but keep these basic points in mind, and you should be well on your way. Good luck!