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How to Eliminate Habits Holding You Back From Success

How to Eliminate Habits Holding You Back From Success
Image credit: chooseust.org

Humans love routine. When it comes to achieving measurable goals, this means we tend to do what we’ve always done, how we’ve always done it, in the same order as always.

This also goes for our habits when working in teams. You’ve probably been working with your team long enough to feel like you know what to expect from them. You’ve developed habitual patterns in the way you interact together. And probably, the feeling is mutual. Maybe it’s time to shake up those impressions.

To be a better manager, it's important to take risks and introduce needed improvements. This often means identifying what’s working and what needs improvement. Sometimes discovering those specifics is as simple as asking three questions:

  1. What habits have gotten you where you are today?
  2. What habits may be holding you  back from reaching your next desired accomplishments?
  3. Is it time to ask for feedback?

Taking a close look at your habits provides wonderful insight into what has worked so far. It allows you to make conscious changes. My friend and mentor, Marshall Goldsmith, wrote a book whose title says it all: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. What habits are you currently using that might be keeping you from reaching your next level of accomplishments?

Here are a  few places to start: Do you start meetings on time? Do you listen to comments fully without interrupting? Do you ask clarifying questions? Do you look at the person talking or keep your eyes on your digital device? Do you offer acknowledgement for a job well done or for new ideas? What habits have you gotten into that serve you well? What habits need to be changed to help you move forward?

Next, ask yourself what you’re doing that is getting in the way of achieving your goals. I know an entrepreneur who recently realized he was using the first hour of his day to try and catch up on email and touch all his social media profiles. As a five-day experiment one week, he focused that hour in the morning only on reaching out to new vendors to support his buisiness. This one simple change allowed him to move his launch date up by three full weeks.

One way to discover what is and isn't working well when it comes to your habits is to ask for feedback from those around you. Asking for feedback won't signal that something is wrong. Rather, it shows you are open to new ideas and approaches.

Asking for feedback can also fast-track your efforts. Feedback can maximize your focus, energy and time so that you get more of the right things done. Time and again, I’ve seen how entrepreneurs who were doing fairly well managed to supersize their productivity and get even more out of their day and efforts simply by being receptiove to a bit of feedback. 

To know if your habits are working or not, clearly define the results you want. When you fully understand what you want to accomplish, you can reflect on how your actions over the past few hours, days or weeks can get you closer to your goal.

The author is an Entrepreneur contributor. The opinions expressed are those of the writer.

Jason W. Womack is founder of The Womack Company, a productivity-training firm based in Ojai, Calif. He is author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More (Wiley, 2012).

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