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Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

| December 20, 2011

by Jim Bruce

Today’s Tuesday Reading “Nine Things Successful People Do Differently”was posted by Bloomberg BusinessWeek and originally from the Harvard Business Review blogs.  The author is Hiedi Grant Halvorson, motivational psychologist and author of Succeed:  How We Can Reach Our Goals.

Halvorson notes that we are all very successful at reaching some of our goals;  and not so successful at reaching others.  And, we don’t understand why.  Our author reports that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are not very good at understanding why they succeed or fail.  Research on development suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often how they go about their work on goals.

Dr. Halvorson has nine suggestions for us in this regard:

1.  Get specific.  When you set a goal be as specific as possible.  Give yourself a clear idea of what success looks like.

2.  Seize the moment to act.  Decide in advance when and where you will take each action step on the path to successfully reaching your goal.

3.  Know exactly how far remains for you to go.  If you don’t know how you’re doing you can’t make the necessary adjustments.

4.  Be a realistic optimist.  Believing in your ability to succeed is very helpful for creating and sustaining your motivation.

5.  Focus on getting better, rather than being good.

6.  Have grit.  Commit and persist in the face of difficulty.

7.  Build your willpower muscle.  Your self-control “muscle” is like your other muscles.  It becomes weaker without exercise.  To build willpower be intentional about doing something you really need to do but honestly don’t want to do.

8.  Don’t tempt fate.  Respect the fact that your willpower is limited.  Don’t push it beyond its limits.

9.  Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do.

Halvorson’s paper expands on these nine practices that successful people do differently.  So, do take the time to work through the paper and then reflect first on what you’ve been doing right all along.  Then, work to identify those things that have derailed you and which you need to work on.  Finally, resolve – after all, it’s time for New Years resolutions – to work on these issues in the new year.