From HBR’s 11 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2011
Nine Things Successful People Do Differently
by Heidi Grant Halvorson
Talent plays only a tiny role in your success; what really matters is what you do. This post has stayed on our most popular list for months.
1. Get specific. When you set yourself a goal, try to be as specific as possible. “Lose 5 pounds” is a better goal than “lose some weight,”
2. Seize the moment to act on your goals. Given how busy most of us are, and how many goals we are juggling at once, it’s not surprising that we routinely miss opportunities to act on a goal because we simply fail to notice them.
3. Know exactly how far you have left to go. Achieving any goal also requires honest and regular monitoring of your progress
4. Be a realistic optimist. When you are setting a goal, by all means engage in lots of positive thinking about how likely you are to achieve it.
5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good. Believing you have the ability to reach your goals is important, but so is believing you can get the ability.
6. Have grit. Grit is a willingness to commit to long-term goals, and to persist in the face of difficulty.
7. Build your willpower muscle. Your self-control “muscle” is just like the other muscles in your body — when it doesn’t get much exercise, it becomes weaker over time.
8. Don’t tempt fate. No matter how strong your willpower muscle becomes, it’s important to always respect the fact that it is limited, and if you overtax it you will temporarily run out of steam.
9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do. Do you want to successfully lose weight, quit smoking, or put a lid on your bad temper?
Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. is a motivational psychologist, and author of the new book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals (Hudson Street Press, 2011). She is also an expert blogger on motivation and leadership for Fast Company and Psychology Today. Her personal blog, The Science of Success, can be found at www.heidigranthalvorson.com. Follow her on Twitter @hghalvorson
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