You’ve got #goals. That’s awesome! So do I. In fact, almost everyone does (unless you’re basic and are OK being mediocre). Maybe you want to
run walk a 5k this year or take that trip to Thailand or get your man to finally put a ring on it. Whatever it is, kudos for actually striving to be in a different position than you are in today.
It’s so easy to make goals, but a lot more challenging to accomplish them. And if we’re talking about career goals, the achievement target gets even more hard to reach.
Why is that? Why do so many people flop when it comes to getting things done – especially when it comes to work?
Well, there’s actually a simple answer. Habits. Our daily habits affect every single aspect of our lives. You can give me any single circumstance (good or bad) in your life today, and I’ll trace it back to the daily habit you used to create it.
Don’t believe me? Ok. Let’s say you’re out of shape. You are several pounds overweight and can’t walk up 1 flight of stairs without losing your breath (this one is a personal one for me). You didn’t get this way overnight. Perhaps you chose to sit on the couch and watch Game of Thrones instead of prepping healthy meals for the week (guilty). Or you chose to hit snooze when your alarm went off in the morning instead of going for a run (guilty).
Whatever your habit of choice was, you chose it instead of the other option that would have left you with a different result.
This same principle can be applied to ANYTHING. If you’re an amazing cook or pianist or excel guru, it’s because you habitually practiced, learned and experimented. Do you see my point?
So, how can we apply good habits to our career? Let’s say that your goal is to get a promotion within the next 3 years. It’s not enough to just say your goal out loud or even just to write it down. What specific habits will you create that will actually help you accomplish your goal?
The easiest place to start is to find someone who’s already where you want to be. Then you can learn all you can about what she did to get there and then turn those actions into regular, consistent habits.
Let’s go back to the promotion example, you may need to get in to work an hour earlier every day to learn the ins and outs of your job so you can become the subject matter expert on your team. If you want to build your network, then you need to create a process for you to email/ call/ connect with 1 new person per week. Or what if you want to find a new job? Are you willing to set aside specific, uninterrupted time in your schedule to research new roles, strategically network, or hire a career coach?
The bottom line is that there is hardly any goal that will remain unmet if you have the right habits in place. It’s not enough to focus on the end result of what you want, you have to put together an action plan that outlines every baby step.
Daily habits are what I’ve used in the past to get promoted, get a raise and get a new job. Developing good habits are also what worked for me when I lost 70lbs a few years ago, bad habits are the reason I gained them all back and new habits are what I’ll have to use now that I have to do it again.
There really isn’t a magical or sexy secret to becoming successful at accomplishing the goals you set for yourself. It’s as easy as creating a new habit.