We all have bad habits that we struggle with, but are your habits preventing you from being successful? I’m not talking about biting your nails or fidgeting, but rather habits you may not even be aware that you have.
If your goal is to be successful in your endeavors, read this list closely and try to identify if you have any of these bad habits — and then see how you can try to fix them.
It’s almost become a joke that people think perfectionism is a “good” bad habit. But it’s really not. True perfectionism often means the fear of doing something badly can prevent us from even beginning or trying anything new.
Successful people understand that success comes with a great deal of failure, false starts, first drafts, and do-overs.
Waiting on opportunity
Opportunity doesn’t always knock; and those people who tend to sit around and wait for it for it often miss the opportunities that are waiting if they just put in a little effort. This sometimes also manifests as someone waiting around for the “easy button” scheme that will help them do the thing.
As Thomas Edison said, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Successful people understand that opportunity is fueled by work and putting oneself out there.
Driven to distraction
If you jump (and salivate?) every time your phone dings, and start to feel itchy and unsettled if you’re unable to check it right away, you might have a distraction problem. Social media, texts, emails — all of these tasks pull us away from focusing on what you should be doing.
You’ll find that many successful people turn off notifications on their devices — if they even have those distracting apps at all. Many choose to opt-out from these distractions in order to focus on their more important tasks.
Letting others set the agenda
Not having your own priorities, or putting your priorities behind someone else’s is one of the worst habits of the unsuccessful person. Of course, doing the work your boss asks you to do, helping out family and friends, etc. are things that everyone should do — but successful people understand where their priorities fit in.
Successful people tend to be the ones with the guts to say no to an invitation or a request to volunteer when they really don’t have time. They also tend to be the ones who write the book, get the promotion, start the business, or go on that trip of a lifetime, because they kept their priorities front and centre.
If you tend to put off your most important work until later, spending the first part of your day answering emails, browsing the internet, etc., you’ll have trouble being as successful as you can possibly be. For most people, their most productive time is when they first start working, and so that’s the time you should tackle your most challenging tasks.
If you can train yourself to “eat the frog” — that is, do your most challenging work first — you’ll likely produce better work, more efficiently, and in turn be more successful.
No matter your age, if you find yourself reluctant to adopt new technology, learn new skills, or try new ideas, you are, unfortunately, doomed to fall behind. Today, the world is moving and changing faster than ever, and those who refuse to change will not have the tools to succeed.
In contrast, successful people are open to learning and trying new things. This isn’t to say that they jump on every bandwagon when something new comes along, but rather that they’re open to new possibilities and willing to learn and try — and then make a decision about whether the old way or new way is best.
How many tabs do you have open in your internet browser right now? How many apps running in the background on your phone? If you find yourself constantly switching between tasks or jumping at every interruption (see No. 3), you won’t ever be able to do your best work, or truly focus on any one thing.
Multitasking often results in errors and time wasted because our brains need at least several seconds to switch contexts, and those seconds add up over time. Focus is critical for producing your best work and, ultimately, succeeding.
The great thing about habits is that they are changeable. While it may be challenging to overcome an ingrained habit, it can be changed — which means that your fate is not sealed, and you can increase your own odds of being successful.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.