I am a big fan of habits. Good ones that is.
Of course, not all habits are productive ones.
Some are bad for us, they stop us from succeeding, and they reinforce negative patterns that we’ve picked up from parents, friends or colleagues.
No one is perfect, but I’ve found that the most successful people find ways to replace their bad habits with good ones.
A successful career, after all, is really just a series of good habits put into action over and over again.
But in order to eliminate our vices and form productive habits, we need to identify our destructive ones.
Here is my checklist of some of the all-time bad habits:
1. THINKING THE WORLD OWES YOU A FAVOR
I can’t tell you how often I come across this one.
A lot of people are quick to blame others when things go wrong and they fail to take responsibility for the role they may have played in the situation.
Of course, sometimes people have a run of bad luck or are treated badly, but that’s different from playing the victim all the time.
Think about your social circle, your friends and family.
I’m sure there is at least one person you can think of who always blames others for their bad fortune. Tiring isn’t it?
Fact is : there are no rich or successful victims.
2. GIVING UP TOO EASILY
Setbacks will happen. To everyone.
It’s easy to look at other people’s successes and think they got an easy ride.
Most of the time, they didn’t. They just didn’t let setbacks stop them.
Depending on how you were raised by your parents, you will either take setbacks in your stride or you will let them crush you.
If you fall into the latter camp, then it’s time to try and change this “Poor Habit.”
Catch yourself every time you feel defeated or when something is not going your way, and change your thinking.
Do not give up at the first hurdle.
3. NOT GIVING UP WHEN IT’S TIME
A small number of people have the opposite problem to giving up too easily: they don’t know when to give up.
They pore endless amounts of time, money and emotion into a project despite endless rejections and knock-backs.
Rather than try a different approach, they continue to butt up against a wall that is not going anywhere.
This kind of blind pursuit is not resilience, it’s what I would call stupidity.
As important as it is to chase your dreams, it’s equally important to know when to stop, to take a breath, and try something else.
4. NOT BEING CURIOUS
Thinking you know it all and that you have nothing left to learn, is foolish.
This kind of belief system cuts you off from growing, it short-circuits the imagination and it stops you from developing new ideas.
Aim to be one of those people who asks other people questions at barbecues.
Don’t get so stuck in your own head, and your own career, that you forget that other people are leading interesting lives and may very well have a role to play in yours, too.
Always be on the look out to learn more. It’s good for business, but it’s also good for your soul.
5. NOT LOOKING AFTER YOUR HEALTH
Speaking of soul, it’s important unhealthy lifestyle habits are ditched.
That means no burning the candle at both ends.
You may be busy — busier than you have ever been — but you need to find an exercise regime that suits you and one that you’ll stick to.
Eat well, try and get lots of sleep, and maintain a decent level of fitness.
Looking after your body will help ensure you’re in good shape when life throws those inevitable curve balls at you.
6. NOT LOOKING AFTER YOUR FINANCES
If you’ve got any bad debts, or some credit cards that are no longer serving you well, then get rid of them.
The ability to look after your finances is one of the best predictors of success.
If you can manage your money, stick to a budget and save, it shows you have the kind of self-control and maturity that is needed to be successful in life and to see something through.
Many of us have one or more of these bad habits that we need to work on, but that doesn’t mean we should be complacent. Bad habits hold us back.
They stop us from reaching our goals and they often keep us poor, tired and unhappy.
Reason enough to ditch them for some good ones.
Michael Yardney is a director of Metropole Property Strategists, which creates wealth for its clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He is a best-selling author, one of Australia’s leading experts in wealth creation through property and writes the Property Update blog.