The new year is revealing itself on the horizon and those flecks of sparkling new beginnings have us all dreaming of a bigger, better, and brighter future for ourselves.
If you, like many, have career goals on your list then here are 10 habits to leave behind in 2021. Instead, commit yourself to embracing new habits that will not only land you that long-awaited (and deserved!) promotion, but will also have you feeling more empowered in your workspace!
1. Overcommitting Yourself
Working harder doesn’t always mean achieving more. In fact, consistently taking on more than you can handle usually results in burnout, a short temper, and rushed products – none of which are valued by a company. Instead of working harder, work smarter. Be honest with yourself about how much you can reasonably handle to maintain your sanity and still be able to produce high-quality work.
If you want to be recognized and stand out in your industry, then keep the focus on quality over quantity. Your boss and peers will respect you more for setting this boundary in order to show up at a higher level (read this article for tips on how to do that). Plus, your work will speak for itself!
Dragging your feet on projects, hitting snooze on your alarm, showing up half-heartedly – these all speak volumes about your enthusiasm and dedication to your role. We’ve all seen the go-getter in comparison to the procrastinator and can agree which we’d rather be around and have on our team. Of course, every day isn’t going to be high-energy and we all fall into ruts of procrastination – we’re human, after all. However, when it becomes habitual, people won’t want to hire you or work with you.
Habitual procrastination dissuades people from hiring you or wanting to work with you.
A few leading causes of procrastination come from feeling overwhelmed, a lack of passion, and an inability to stay organized. Avoid getting overwhelmed by taking on only what you can handle. Find a line of work you’re passionate about, or tasks in which you find joy. And seek out organizational tools to keep you on target.
3. Getting Defensive about Feedback
We all have room for improvement, and the sooner we accept this, the sooner we can accept feedback with grace. It’s easy to resort to taking things personally when our ego gets bruised. However, remember this is about business and isn’t intended to be personal.
Use this opportunity as a key to find the opening towards that promotion or leadership role you want. When a superior is giving you feedback, they’re directly telling you what they’re looking for. Too many brush off what is said or aren’t receptive to the feedback and miss these critical cues. Note, there is a difference between a superior giving constructive criticism versus disrespecting you. You can read up on what that looks like here.
4. Having A Bad Attitude
Energy is at the core of everything. If you walk into the office every day snarling at your colleagues, complaining about every little thing, and choosing to see only the negative, then that's exactly what you’ll find – the negative. Attitude is a choice, and it’s what sets apart the successful and the happy from the unsuccessful and the unhappy. You can find talent and hard work almost anywhere, but someone who has that AND a fantastic attitude is unstoppable.
Attitude sets apart the successful and the happy from the unsuccessful and the unhappy.
5. Sacrificing Your Health for Your Job
It’s vital you prioritize your health and well-being. Work tends to bring stress, and when we’re stressed, it’s tempting to reach for caffeine and sugary treats, but in the long term, this will only make us crash and bring our energy and attitude down with it. So protect your energy at all costs by taking care of yourself. Be sure to get at least 6-8 hours of sleep each night, eat nutritious meals, pack healthy snacks, hydrate, sweat it out for 30 minutes a day, listen to inspiring music or podcasts to get in the right mindset, meditate, breathe…you get the idea. These small, back-to-basics practices can make all the difference when it comes to managing stress and stabilizing your energy so you can accelerate on your goals.
6. Not Dressing for Success
Studies show that your productivity levels heighten when you dress up for work. Your wardrobe is also an extension of you – your energy, how you want to be represented, and the level of professionalism you desire to cultivate. This isn’t necessarily about meeting the expectations of others, it’s about meeting your own expectations (remember those New Year’s goals?) and carrying yourself at a level you want to be addressed at.
Your attire will introduce you before you get the chance to say a word.
Your attire will introduce you in rooms before you get the chance to say a word. So it’s important to feel your best to be able to exude your best. We’ve all seen that confident person who walks into the room and commands attention without speaking. Let that be you! Dress in a way that will embody your confidence and prestige – you are a walking business card.
7. Staying Only in Your Circle
Update your LinkedIn profile, enroll into elite masterminds, attend local meetups. Networking is essential whether you’re in a job you love or in a job you’re looking to move on from. It’s the epicenter of all growth. Putting yourself in the position to meet new people, discuss new topics, and expand your expertise will only serve in helping you elevate yourself personally and professionally. When you allow yourself these experiences, you’ll find inspiration in places you never even considered and will be amazed at what opportunities can come from simply just showing up.
8. Hitting Snooze
No one likes that feeling of being rushed. You know, when you wake up frantically to the deafening sound of your alarm clock, throw on that wrinkled blouse sitting at the edge of your bed, whip your hair into a messy bun (bless the messy bun trend!), and run out the door with a granola bar half hanging out of your mouth and coffee sloshing out of your mug? All to make it to work right on time or maybe even 5 minutes past the mark.
This burst of adrenaline so early in the day can throw off your energy for the rest of it.
This burst of adrenaline so early in the day can throw off your energy for the rest of it. You’ll be distracted wondering if you forgot anything and disheveled from having thrown yourself together, and it’ll appear that way to your colleagues and your boss as well. To avoid this less-than-ideal scenario, make adequate time to prepare in the morning so you feel calm and centered walking (not sprinting!) into the office. Sometimes it’s as easy as setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier. Imagine what 15 minutes could do? Budget your time wisely and make sure you have enough of it.
This is probably the most important of them all – STOP GOSSIPING. Oh, it’s so tempting when Mary from accounting has been spotted out with Gerald from HR. Or when Susie is doing that annoying voice thing again. And don’t even get started on what Charlie did at the Christmas party.
But at the end of the day, people talk. Gossiping doesn’t create solutions and only magnifies you in an unprofessional light. To get out of this undesirable vortex, be unavailable for it.
If your coworker always comes to your desk every morning to complain about so and so, tell her you would no longer like to discuss that matter and encourage her to communicate with the person causing her so much stress. If you’re the one who’s been gossiping, give yourself the grace to recognize it, and then list out all the things you’re gossiping about and what you can take action on. Is any of it directly affecting you? If yes, then have a healthy conversation about your concerns with your boss. If no, then let it go and don’t feed it your focus. Remember, you have goals you’re looking to accomplish and you need all your attention to go towards them!
10. Undervaluing Yourself
Frustrated watching everyone else get the raises and promotions you wanted? Playing small and sulking in imposter syndrome? Thinking you’re too ____ (fill in the blank) so therefore you aren’t deserving? Self-talk is huge when it comes to empowering yourself in your career. If you’re telling yourself stories and building assumptions on why you’re not good enough to attain the goal you desire, then you’re going to keep yourself stuck. This year, give yourself permission to believe you’re worth it.
Give yourself permission to believe you’re worth it.
Start stating your opinions, become solution-oriented, raise your hand at meetings, and let your boss know directly of any new ideas that arise. Show up as a leader and everyone will start viewing you as one. Guaranteed.
Low-quality habits are a thing of the past – these 10 new ones are sure to leave you feeling fulfilled while turning some heads at the office. This is your year to raise the standard of your expectations for yourself and move in alignment with your vision. It’s never too late to start on any goal. Accomplishments can only come from action and as they say, “You won’t know if you don’t try.” Make 2022 the year you not only try, but excel. With a positive attitude, killer wardrobe, and healthy mindset, the possibilities are endless. Happy New Year!
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