The authors of “Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success” offer these tips for career success:
1. Flash forward to the future. While setbacks or “motivational walls” are inevitable when trying to change work habits, envisioning the future you hope to have can help. And it may be more motivational to frame that future in the negative — think about the money you won’t be making and the chances that will pass you by if you don’t stay motivated.
2. Invest in professional development. New skills are a necessity to when it comes to career advancement. It’s important to actively develop new skills through training and reading books, for instance. Don’t just apply the new skills and assume all is going well — actively ask for feedback.
3. Hang with the hard workers. Bad habits and attitudes don’t tend to take hold by themselves, so it’s likely that yours are being enabled or encouraged by those around you, or at least are being tolerated. Spend time with friends and colleagues who work hard and have career goals that match yours. Avoid the slackers in the office.
4. Find a mentor. Change requires help, the book emphasizes. Seek out a mentor you can trust to help you not only stay on track in making positive changes but also to help you advance your career.
5. Put skin in the game. The threat of losing something — notably, money — can be a powerful inducement to staying on track, according to research that the book is based on. Set a dollar value to achieving goals and when you get to them buy yourself a reward with the money you have set aside. But if you fail, give the money to a political party you oppose. (According to the authors, odds are high you won’t be sending many checks to the opposition.)
6. Control your workspace. Get rid of distractions, turn off any electronic device that interrupts you or keeps you from being as productive as you need to be. Create a comfortable environment in which you can stay focused.