In my experience, your habits are the unspoken influencers of your successes and failures. A significant portion of what you do in life is a habit. These habits can subconsciously steer your life, for better or for worse. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of developing and sticking to good habits and how they can help you become financially wealthy and prosperous.
Your Habits and Your Career
Speaking from firsthand experience, habits directly impact work performance. For instance, every morning I wake up at 5AM. Waking up early enables me to beat traffic during the commute, leading to arriving at work earlier resulting in more time to get ahead with work. This has led me to contacting customers before competitors and was a key reason for me winning a high-value contract.
Another example is making a habit to actively listen. Such as when in a meeting, aim to ask more questions than you answer and seek to hear what others have to say before you talk. This puts you in the position of power, as [to refer to poker] you know the cards others hold before they know yours. This has saved me on a particular occasion when I went into a project meeting knowing I had not met my deadlines. During this meeting, I let others speak first and it came to light that someone else had missed their targets. As a consequence, the project was inevitably delayed. An invaluable lesson I learned from that meeting was others are keen to share their side of the equation and as a result, their failings were used as the reasoning for the project delay. This would have been me in the metaphorical “hot seat” if I had not been patient and heard the views of others before sharing my own.
When you develop good habits at work you are almost guaranteed to see positive performance gains or at the very least, mitigate failure. With both of the above points being examples of this.
Your Habits and Your Judgement
Your day is made up of decisions that shape and impact your life. But not all these decisions are active, thoughtout decisions. Many are habits that developed over time and influence your judgement and natural reaction to any given situation. It is for this reason developing good habits is important. As an example, if a customer calls and is clearly angry about the progress of a project I’m to deliver, my habit is to actively listen to their frustrations. Then, reinforce the importance of doing right by my customers is to me, and that I take my work ethic and integrity very personally.
Another reason why building good habits is beneficial is impulsive/instinctive decisions. More specifically, developing good habits are likely to make any impulsive decisions you make result in positive gains. While I don’t want to encourage being impulsive, we all have faced stressful or high-pressured situations. Iin these situations, having good mental reflexes, is invaluable. You’re never going to be able to properly plan and consider every possible outcome of a situation and being able to make fast decisions based on impulsive behaviour is a godsend. Think of reflexes of a racing car driver and being able to manoeuvre quickly and accurately. Or the instincts of a disciplined solider in a potentially life changing situation. Each of these are great examples of someone who has good habits and because of these, naturally know how to deal with a given situation with final active thought.
Your Habits and Your Money
Hopefully it is clear how performance gains within your career and improving your judgement can indirectly help you with your money. But there are habits that directly impact your financial position, From your spending habits to your negotiation habits, they all play a vital role.
Whether it’s the Starbucks on the way to work or not challenging the first price a car dealer offers for your used car. They are both habits and both impact your wallet. Developing good habits such as leaving the coffee mug and coffee granules out the night before to encourage you to make your own coffee ensures you are smart with your money.
Habits that can affect your money can come from areas you wouldn’t expect. For example, going to the gym every morning is not only good for your health, but can make you look better, give you more confidence for a job interview, or negotiating a pay rise or taking charge in a meeting. Another example is developing the habit of being the first one to volunteer to take the lead on a project. This makes people need to speak with you, makes you more memorable and improves your business knowledge making you indispensable to the company. Nothing worse than the Managing Director of your company getting your name wrong when they pass you in the corridor at work. This isn’t because they have a terrible memory, it’s because you’re not memorable!
In conclusion, your habits influence your behaviours in very unexpected and significant ways. Developing and refining your habits is key to success, as once it’s a habit, you don’t need to actively think about it anymore, it because natural. Mentally freeing you and enabling you to focus on areas that actively need improving, such as your next promotion or winning a big client.