Have you ever caught yourself admiring successful people or companies, wishing you could be lucky enough to have such success fall upon you? If only you or your company’s circumstances would shift a little, you may ponder. If only you would know the right people or be in the right place at the right time, then you would find this same success. Does this thought process sound familiar?
While there are instances of “lottery winning success,” the people and companies you admire most likely did not stumble into success. Even your own coworkers that you regard as being successful likely did not “get lucky.” They are doing something, or rather somethings, differently. And the key is those things are done consistently. That’s what sets them apart and makes them stand out.
Imagine seeing someone with perfectly white teeth and a beautiful smile and thinking, “I want that too”! You cannot wake up tomorrow with a white smile. They didn’t either. Yes, you can get your teeth whitened for a quick fix, but that doesn’t last. To maintain those pearly whites, you must change your habits. Brush and floss daily, stop drinking soda, coffee, things that will stain your teeth, etc. Those daily small habits show results in a big way long term. It is the same when it comes to achieving and maintaining success in other areas of life, personal or professional!
Author Jeff Olson spells it out in his book, The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness: “Simple daily disciplines – little productive actions, repeated consistently over time – add up to the difference between failure and success.”
So, what can we do to start setting ourselves apart and using our daily habits to leverage success?
Steps to Creating Habits that Lead to Success
1. Identify your Bad Habits and Start Cutting Them Out
In order to start practicing good habits, we have to know what bad habits we have first. Honestly evaluate yourself on what are your bad habits. Are you a procrastinator, do you waste time on meaningless tasks, do you struggle with distractions? There are countless bad habits out there. We all have them. Identify yours and start holding yourself accountable for cutting them out of your daily routine. It will not happen overnight, but consistently avoiding your bad habits is the first good habit you have to develop!
2. Invest in Yourself and Your Skills
Remember, that person with the white smile didn’t get it without investing in some “tools” and putting in the time and effort. You must do the same for yourself to improve your selected skill set. Investing in yourself and your skills can come in a variety of different forms. It doesn’t mean you are putting in a big financial investment. Find time to read books, take classes, meet with skilled mentors, and find opportunities to put your skills into practice. You won’t magically get better at something by doing nothing. In the same way, success won’t just magically come find you either.
3. Set Daily Intentions
You might be wondering why I chose to say set intentions rather than “set goals.” This is because goals and intentions are different. Intentions are something that we put into practice on a daily basis rather than a goal which is an end destination. Getting into the habit of setting intentions for yourself every day gets you focused and present in the moment. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to have goals too. But if we can’t be in the moment, focused, and making things happen every day, how do we expect to reach our goals?
So when do you start? The answer is right now!
Remember, the changes don’t have to be astronomical, they have to be consistent and for the long haul. It’s the sum of all these small changes and the longevity of them that make a big difference. Continue to evaluate yourself and where you can improve your habits and you will continue down the path to success!