More than 40 percent of Americans look at people who are self-disciplined enough to entirely avoid indulging in bad habits as exemplary citizens. This makes sense: Good habits lead to successful results--which is why you hear so much talk about habits in the entrepreneurial world.
As an entrepreneur, you invariably want success, but you can also benefit greatly from being seen as a role model by your employees, colleagues, partners, and clients.
Of course, embracing healthy, proactive practices that help you thrive is easier said than done. You're probably familiar with all kinds of good habits that you should be cultivating. But the bad habits that could potentially derail your career are often left out of the conversation.
When certain habits don't support you on the road to achieving your goals, you really must work to eliminate them. I've certainly experienced the side effects of unchecked bad habits over the course of my career; even with all of my success, I still have to work at overcoming them at times. As humans, we are works in progress.
If you see yourself in any of the following "failure habits," here are a few tips and strategies to help eradicate them.
1. Ignoring self-care
Entrepreneurs think they can be "on" 24/7, but you can't make good decisions when you're feeling burned out. With insomnia costing the U.S. an average of $63 billion a year in lost productivity, it's in your best interests to slow down and make time to take care of yourself.
I've been a workaholic for most of my career. When I was diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and exhaustion, I had to practice better self-care as a matter of survival. I started getting more sleep and more exercise, being more mindful of nutrition and hydration, taking regular breaks during the day or regular vacations, and taking control of my nights and weekends to recharge.
As I became healthier, my stress levels decreased, my productivity increased, and my relationships improved. With everything you have in the air, you might think you don't have time for self-care, but take my word for it: You'll ignore it at your own risk. Your body can and will push back.
2. Not having contingencies in place
"Failing to plan is planning to fail," as Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying. One thing you can count on is that things won't go the way you envision them. In their optimism, many entrepreneurs refuse to acknowledge this, but it behooves you to operate from a "what if" stance in terms of having a plan B in case things do go sideways--and they will at times.
This is especially true when you need capital. Your budget needs to include a contingency in case things you didn't plan for happen, such as delayed payments or deals falling through.
Ideally, have at least one year's worth of working capital at your disposal at all times to provide a cushion. I've been below that threshold a few times, and I can tell you--it's not worth the toll it takes on your peace of mind until you return to stasis.
3. Not getting the support you need (aka doing it all)
For years, I tried to run my business by myself and wound up exhausted, overextended, and frazzled. Things outside of my "zone of genius" didn't get done or were done poorly. When I began to hire vendors and delegate, my business became more profitable, and I ultimately lowered my stress. That's priceless.
As an entrepreneur, you simply can't do everything yourself. Play to your strengths and talents, and surround yourself with the people and resources you need to complement what you do best. As my mentor Alan Cohen says, if it isn't fun, hire it done.
4. Being indecisive and procrastinating
One study suggests that 20 percent of people may be chronic procrastinators. When you don't make clear decisions in real time and allow distractions and interruptions to run your day, you waste a lot of time and money.
Chronic procrastination leads to chronic stress. A sense that you're falling behind, letting yourself and others down, and not honoring your commitments to yourself and others can cause major anxiety. What's worse, if you're leading a company, this behavior can spill over to your team and destabilize your entire business.
And don't think of wavering and stalling as a way out: You can't wait for things to be 100 percent perfect before taking action; they never will be. Use your best judgment, and when you have 80 percent of the information you need, take a leap of faith, trust your gut, and go for it.
These are tried-and-true strategies I've either seen work for others or have put in place myself to rectify bad habits and turn things around. Try them yourself and watch your results!