In a recent new year-themed post for Forbes, I covered 10 Career Mistakes To Stop Making Next Year. Yes, we all have bad habits to avoid. On the flip side, we also have good habits we could adopt. It can be more effective (and certainly more fun!) to focus on the positive over the negative, so in an effort to do just that, here is a post on 10 Good Career Habits To Start In The New Year:
1 – Playing to your strengths
Just like this post focuses on building on the good, rather than eliminating the bad, so can your new habit be to focus on playing to your strengths rather than developing your weaknesses. When someone pays you a compliment, resolve to do more of that.
2 – Accepting praise gracefully and unconditionally
When someone does pay you a compliment does your mind race to figure out a nice thing to say in return? You don’t have to answer a compliment with a compliment. This actually works better for the person who pays the compliment – they get the full benefit of saying something nice and don’t have to feel like it’s quid pro quo. Resolve to accept praise with a simple “Thank you.”
3 – Appreciating all contributions
Of course, it’s helpful to proactively praise others and not just in response to receiving a compliment yourself. How can you find more to praise about your colleagues, team, and your boss? Resolve to look more closely for the unique ways all people contribute –not just the typical stand-outs like doing good work or being smart, but some of the more subtle contributions, like being patient or keeping boring situations light.
4 – Looking for the “pony”
Similar to being more attentive for people’s helpful contributions, you can resolve to pay more attention to helpful lessons or insights, in up and down times. There is the story of the optimist who upon being gifted a room full of horse manure to clean up shrieks in glee. Why? The optimist assumes therefore, there must be a pony somewhere. Resolve to look for more ponies.
5 – Smiling
It’s amazing what a smile will do in a tense situation. I see it most clearly when I’m interview coaching a nervous job seeker. Smiling generates rapport, confidence, and engagement – all good things. Smile when you enter the office. Smile when you great people. Resolve to smile at least one or two times more per day.
6 – Savoring the small talk
There is no such thing as small talk. The seemingly throwaway lines about the weather or last night’s sports game help sustain rapport. Resolve to savor the small talk – it looms large in developing genuine relationships
7 – Moving around – literally
Getting up from your desk from time to time is great for your health and also to ensure you maintain your focus (good for productivity), maintain your relationships (good for teambuilding) and maintain your energy (good for work quality). Set a timer if you have to for every 45 – 60 minutes but move around more.
8 – Moving around – figuratively
What does it mean to move around, but not in the literal sense? It could mean imagining more – thinking about a new way to do something that has become routine. It could mean thinking of alternatives – visualizing how someone else might do your same job, or how you might do some other role. It’s a good habit to keep your brain active. Resolve to imagine, question, and visualize more, even if you’re not in a creative line of work.
9 – Expecting something good
Pack a dessert with your lunch. Get fresh flowers for your desk. Have something good to look forward to every work day. Giddy anticipation is a muscle that needs flexing. Resolve to expect good things every day, and build things in proactively to help you practice.
10 – Taking good care of yourself
Good career habits wouldn’t be complete without good life habits – drinking enough water (you can combine that with moving around!), taking your lunch (you can combine that with savoring small talk!). Resolve to prioritize yourself amongst all the other items on your To Do list.
What good habits will you adopt this year?