Little actions that support your success

We commonly overlook the power of our daily habits in reaching our goals.  We take for granted the value we derive from eating a healthy breakfast, checking our calendar for appointments, and reading or listening to the news. But, skip one of these actions and you’ll immediately feel the difference. Life will be off a beat or out of step and, even if you don’t understand why, as you look back on your day, the omission will be apparent. As a job seeker, you are facing enough stress and feeling off-kilter can add to your burden.

What do our daily habits do for us?  They provide continuity as well as a sense of wholeness and fulfillment.  They limit the number of decisions we make. Our daily habits are auto-pilot for the repetitious activities of daily life; freeing up our mental space and our time and energy for our job search.

Remember when you learned a new skill, like riding a bike or driving a car?  You had to pay attention every time you got on your bike or started the car.  Now riding and driving are second nature.  It’s the same way with habits.  At first, you pay close and careful attention and once those habits are ingrained, you don’t even think about them.  In fact, sometimes you have to think hard to confirm you did something, like close the garage door as you are driving down the block.

Why Habits?

Why do I bring up habits?  Your job search has put your life into transition.  Now is the perfect time to figure out what’s working and what’s not. As you prepare for the job search marathon ahead, think about the challenges that you’ll be facing. Then answer the questions below to find out if you need to make any adjustments to your daily habits:

  • How has my schedule and my routine changed?
  • What new stressors do I feel?
  • What actions would bring more energy and balance into my life?
  • How can I decrease my stress levels and add joy?
  • What daily habits support my focus, achievement, and overall well-being?
  • What routines will help keep my search on track?

Evaluate Your Habits

Be your own habit detective and evaluate what you are doing with a curious and impartial eye. Consider what you should stop doing as well as what you should start doing. As you recognize areas that need support, use this sample list of daily habits to spur your thinking:

  • Limit screen time especially in the evening
  • Add exercise into your day
  • Read 15 minutes every day
  • Spend more time with family
  • Reach out to one new contact and one dormant contact every day
  • Get a full 7-8 hours of sleep every night
  • Drink more water
  • Schedule playtime into your calendar
  • Eat a piece of fruit three times a day
  • Read for pleasure.

As a job seeker, consider these habit to develop:

 

  • Record 3 things that you are grateful for every night before turning off the light.
  • End each day’s search activities by recording actions taken
  • Increase your value by reading for 15 minutes every day
  • Stay top of mind by posting or commenting on your LinkedIn feed

 

Habitual Decisions

Once you decide on a new habit, develop a plan to implement that new behavior. To give your new habit some extra stickiness try the sandwich method. Put the new habit in between two already existing habits. For example, if you want to add exercise into your day, after you wash your face & brush your teeth at night, lay out your exercise clothes, then hop into bed and turn out the light. Your morning workout will have a head-start, simply get up and get moving. Nothing to decide, just do it!

Start small when you add a new habit. For example, to add exercise into your day, start with 10-15 minutes, then add more time in 5-minute increments each week. If you push too hard or add too much, too quickly, you are opening yourself up to injury and disappointment. Another example of starting small is changing to a plant-based diet. If you do it all at once, you risk intestinal distress, start with one meal a day and then increase as your system adjusts to the change.

Reward yourself.

Consider keeping a log and rewarding yourself for making positive changes. The rewards don’t need to be expensive or large, just enough to provide an incentive as you make meaningful change.

Simple actions that you do regularly become habits. With time and practice, those actions become routine and settle into your daily life. Remember to be kind to yourself, it takes 21-30 days to develop a new routine and a few months to cement a habit. If you omit an action, give yourself a do-over and just start again the next day. Keep in mind that the small changes to our daily routines can have the greatest impact on our success.

Job Search Mastery

Check out Marsha's book Job Search Mastery to discover tips and tools to make your job search process faster and more effective.

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