Osmond Marketing CFO Jeff Cook, left, founder Amy Osmond Cook, center, and COO Emily Woll are part of the successful company team who were on hand to receive accolades from the MountainWest Capital Network for ranking as the No. 20 Fastest Growing Utah Company in 2017, during an October ceremony in Salt Lake City.

Solidify Stellar Work Habits in 4 Steps

With 2018 right around the corner, it’s time to take stock of which habits are either helping or hindering your career progress and long-term goals. We all want to be happy, and that’s a process that takes work!

I’ve written in the past about holding fast to habit-based personal resolutions like busting procrastination, curbing spending, getting off the couch, embracing the word “no,” and, above all, finding gratitude in the most ordinary of life’s moments.

This time, I’m approaching this topic from the perspective of a businesswoman. I’ve consulted fellow business leaders on how they’ve implemented habits toward achieving their goals in work and bettering their overall satisfaction. Here are four common themes that are vital to the success of setting new work habits.

1. Mind the small stuff.

Start by taking five minutes and a piece of paper to inventory what you’re doing that could be standing in the way of you and your goal. This acclimates you to practice of being mindful, the first step in problem solving. When you dodge certain emails or push back a looming assignment for an easier task, ask yourself, “Is this supporting my goal? Is this helping my team and the organization?”

Lori Bizocco, founder and executive director of CupidsPulse.com, says, “The most important habit for me is to train and empower my team to think independently and be solution-oriented. Having employees with these two skills frees up time, moves the business forward, and creates an atmosphere of respect and success.”

It’s important to take small steps toward achieving a big change, or you’ll be overwhelmed by the process. Mapping out the little things you can do toward realizing your goal will ease the journey.

2. Be realistic in planning.

You have to be realistic about your approach; you can’t get everything done in one day. It helps to look at your week as a whole and plan tasks from a bigger-picture perspective. This lends you flexibility to handle those things that pop up unexpectedly — like having to cover for a sick colleague, or being tasked with an urgent last-minute assignment.

“I divide my week into days instead of hours,” Bizzoco says. “For example, I reserve Mondays for personal errands and keeping up with emails on my phone, while Tuesdays and Wednesdays are set aside for client meetings. Thursdays are spent in my office with the team, and Fridays are dedicated to my family. There is still room for flexibility when needed, but for the most part, dividing my time in this way sets me up better for the day.”

3. Practice makes perfect.

Dedicating five minutes of your time to establishing any new habit every day for 30 days sets the practice, and soon you’ll be investing more and more time solidifying the habit. Research indicates it takes about 66 days before a new habit becomes routine.

And speaking of research, ongoing education is a must if you’re looking to gain a competitive edge. “I block time every day for research, whether it’s online dating industry trends or learning more about the unique demographic my site serves, to stay ahead of the curve,” says Laura Brashier, a hair stylist and cancer survivor who founded RomanceOnly.com, the world’s first online dating site for Sex-C (sexually challenged) men and women, individuals who cannot have intercourse. “I started by devoting time to researching the need for this niche site with a clear vision in mind: To help Sex-C people like me find romantic companionship, and this involved learning about a whole host of conditions that make intercourse impossible.”

Staying true to your vision is the most important practice of all in achieving any new goal. “It’s with a vision that we’re inspired to push through our own insecurities, fears, and uncertainties — and ultimately to succeed,” says Ryan Westwood, the CEO of quote-to-cash industry-leading Simplus who also happens to be an Inc. 500 entrepreneur who launched and sold two companies before the age of 30.

4. Perseverance pays.

You’re going to have days or circumstances that push you off your path. Be easy on yourself if you slip up. It’s part of the experience of building something great — be it a new routine or an entire enterprise.

Patrick Nelson, CEO of Inc. 500-ranked Nelson Brothers Professional Real Estate LLC, knows plenty about the importance of perseverance in achieving a goal successfully. He tried and failed many times before striking it big as an entrepreneur. “See the vision, then stay hard-headed enough to stick to it,” Nelson says. Just dust off and keep going, a practice that in itself is a fantastic habit that reaps exponential rewards!

As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s the little things that add up to something great. Taking small steps daily toward building a productive new habit — starting right now — will make a big impact on your future. So, as 2017 comes to a close, resolve to get into the habit of creating better ones.