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Self-development – do you do it? It’s time we stop thinking that we need to rely on long courses or expensive institutions to provide us with the extra but essential skills we need to achieve our career goals. Really, it’s the small, everyday wins that make us more successful and over time these small wins make a big difference to your abilities. Start thinking about success as being a set of little daily habits that you do to work towards the big goal.
So where do you begin when it comes to taking control over your own success? Start by concentrating on the small things like:
Exercising your brain
Read, read and read some more. But watch what you are reading – less of the gossip magazines and more focused research, articles or books which are in an area that you are interested in, either to get you better at what you do right now, or for where you want to be in the future. Further to reading, why not set yourself a challenge to learn something new and really dedicate some time every day until you’ve mastered it. Don’t worry about the expense – there are some really great websites out there that offer free, and in some cases, tutored courses. Look at the Khan Academy, Open University free courses and Alison for a range of different courses which are all free to take. Some are even accredited so that you can add them to your c.v as a qualification.
Do one thing, every day
Pick one thing, it doesn’t really matter what it is and do it every day. Focus on finding something that you think is important and takes some time out of your day to do whatever it is. It really could be anything – meditation, going to the gym, cooking from scratch, learning a new skill or calling a friend, the point is it’s not what you’re doing what matters, it’s more the fact that you are doing it. You are learning how to create new, healthy habits and this is a skill that will benefit you enormously.
With your time. Stop letting minor distractions throw you off course. Did you know that on average it takes around 25 minutes to get back on track after you get distracted (and that’s if you manage to get back on track at all!). Having the time to learn, complete important tasks or just to rest is one of the most important factors to your future success, so don’t fill it with useless meetings or unnecessary social engagements.
Reflection is an incredibly important but often overlooked part of success. Most of us are trying to do our best but when you have been trying for months or even years it’s easy to forget where you started and it’s difficult to see how far you’ve come. Always take some time to reflect at what you achieved. A great way to do this is to write it down. Keep a diary or even update your c.v – you’ll be forced to think about all your achievements, which should give you a great boost going forward as you’ll be aware that what you are doing is working! Another thing refection does is show you where you haven’t moved forward enough. If you’ve been slacking or have fallen off a little bit, taking notice of it now is the best way to end the cycle. Failure is not always the worst thing in the world – if you can recognise that you haven’t performed as well as you could or should have, you can take the knowledge of why and what happened to cause that outcome, and use it to stop repeating the same mistakes going forward.