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Why do some people get promoted while others get passed over? What makes one individual get a raise while their co-workers don’t? It varies by employer, but in our decades of experience, we’ve seen patterns develop.

Sometimes a person just lands in the right place, but long-term success usually involves more than just a lucky break. As with most things in life, consistency is key. People who are successful in their careers have often developed these habits.

They Regularly Set Goals

Individuals who see consistent career growth are constantly evaluating where they are in comparison with where they want to be. Sometimes they set a destination a day or a week in the future and chart a path. Other times their goals are more long-term, but they’re always working toward something. If you don’t think of yourself as a goal-setter, it’s a habit you can develop.

Spend time thinking through where you’d like to go in your career. Write down goals for the month, the quarter and the year. List steps that will help you get there. Then, set a reminder for when you’ve hit those intervals to come back and re-evaluate.

Successful People Have Consistent Sleep Schedules

Some people swear their career success comes from waking up early while others say they’d never have gotten so far if they weren’t night owls. But individuals in both groups have figured out how to schedule work around their circadian rhythm and hit it when they’re most productive. They have consistent bedtime and wakeup routines that energize their body and mind.

They Challenge Themselves

Some individuals don’t apply for promotions. They decline new responsibilities and shy away from a challenge because they don’t think they’re up for it, and by doing so they sabotage their own professional development.

Successful people say they experience fear and self-doubt just like everyone else, but they don’t let negative thoughts hold them back. They’ve found a way to choose to move forward anyway. They often do so by taking steps like these:

· Recognize negative thought patterns and emotions and remind themselves of the truth. For example, when their brain whispers, “You’ll never be able to XYZ,” they remind themselves of a time they persevered in the face of a similar challenge and were ultimately successful.

· Learn constantly. Instead of focusing on what they can’t do now, their default is to find a way to add skills and knowledge so they can in the future.

· Don’t let fear cause paralysis. They gather knowledge until they feel they have enough to choose a path, then they proceed with courage and confidence.

They Do More Than The Minimum

Successful people habitually do more than just what’s required or written in their job description. Often they get the promotion or the raise because they regularly demonstrate they’re worth more.

The reverse is also true. Employers can reasonably ask, “if you’re not willing to take on more responsibility, why should I pay you more?”

This is an easy habit to pick up. The next time a supervisor asks for volunteers, raise your hand. At the beginning or end of your shift, look for one thing you can do to make your workplace better or more efficient. From time to time, check in with your boss to see if there’s anything extra they need you to tackle that day or week.

If This Describes You

If you’re reading this and thinking, “I do a lot of those things, but I still don’t seem to be getting ahead,” maybe you’ve grown as much as possible within your current organization. We’re looking for individuals ready to take on new challenges, and we have some great opportunities to offer across the area. Click here to see our online job postings or email your resume to