Though everyone defines “success” a bit differently, people who are considered successful share a lot of the same daily habits. Researchers believe that it can take anywhere from 21 to 66 days to form a new habit. The length of time depends on how difficult it is to adapt to the specific routine you are trying to put in place. Replacing your morning coffee with a glass of water shouldn’t take much time to become normal (unless you’re like me and find it difficult to think clearly without coffee); changing the way you think about things will take much longer. If you want to take control of your habits to influence your success, it’s worthwhile getting started right away. Check out these habits shared by some of the most successful people out there!
- Strong communication skills. The most successful people maintain good communication with their team, whether they're in charge or a regular team member. This means having formal conversations about work topics and project progress as well as informal conversations that build camaraderie. Being able to communicate well with others also allows you to take feedback and criticism constructively, which can help you constantly improve your performance at work. Get in the habit of starting conversations with your team about different aspects of a project, the job, or even their favorite show.
- Listen and pay attention. This goes hand-in-hand with good communication, but it’s definitely important enough to make it a separate point. Many of us forget to listen and note what others say, especially in a meeting that seemingly goes on forever. Successful people don’t forget. Being attentive to those who are speaking shows respect and interest in your job. If you normally doodle during meetings, try taking notes instead. Look at the person who is speaking and ask questions that demonstrate your interest in the topic.
- Organize and plan ahead. Though I love nothing better than I love organized chaos, there are some upsides to at least developing a bit of an organizational habit. It’s tough to be successful when you can’t keep track of your projects or the work you’ve completed. Tasks get forgotten because the sticky note you had it written down on got stuck under your coffee cup. Try to get in the habit of keeping a to-do list or marking important information on your calendar or in your phone, as well as maintaining a tidy workspace. Besides helping you keep track of your work, it’s satisfying to look at your to-do list and see how much you’ve accomplished.
- Be kind. I think we often imagine successful people as cold, cutthroat, and willing to do whatever necessary to get ahead. Or, at least, that’s what 80s movies like Wall Street would have us believe. But kindness goes a long way. In terms of success, being kind may take a little more time to produce results than being organized and it’s a habit that will take longer to develop if you aren’t used to it. Hold doors open for your coworkers. Ask someone how they are. Be responsible for your work and don’t blame others if you can’t finish something on time.
Does every single successful person display these habits? No. But not everyone is the same and you don’t have to perfectly model your behavior after those who are perceived as successful to be successful yourself. However, these small habits can be slowly introduced and help you on your way! They’re also pretty good habits to develop for life. Who doesn’t like a responsible, kind, organized person?