As the year comes to a close, people are naturally going to be talking about their New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for self-improvement. But want to know what I think you should really be focusing on in the new year? These four ways to further your career and be successful at whatever it is that you do:
1. Become a deep practitioner in something.
Whether you do it for your business or just for yourself as a hobby, practice something on a deep level. One of the reasons my agency VaynerMedia has grown to be such a leader in our industry is because I use social media every single day. I understand the trigger points that make things successful in a creative world. I also understand the context of the platforms like Snapchat and Instagram. There hasn’t been a single one of my more than 200,000 tweets that I haven’t sent myself.
So, whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat or something new, become a practitioner. Stop judging what people are doing or saying and just engage.
2. Audit your 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Back in the days of my first big keynotes and my first book, Crush It, I began to get obsessed with the time period between 7 p.m. and 2 a.m. I do not think that there is a more practical self-improvement goal or way to bring happiness and joy to your life, whether it’s financial or creative, than to really audit how you spend your time between 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
I am quite practical about things; it might not be what people expect from me, but I am. That time between when the traditional work day ends and when you fall asleep is the white space for people to do great things around their work. Whether that’s advancing your career by staying in the office late, or going home and building out your cooking blog or SoundCloud account, use that time more wisely.
3. Practice self-awareness.
I went on this kick publicly for the 18 months and, personally, my entire life. I believe self-awareness is the greatest gift a person can have. Having tried to tackle finding self-awareness, I promise—if, out of this entire article, you make just this self-improvement goal a priority—you will grow happier and more successful.
4. Eliminate complaining.
Looking at the negative, seeing the glass as half-empty and complaining are the absolute biggest wastes of time a human being can engage in. I highly recommend, whether it is through therapy or just kicking the habit, that you cut your complaining in half until you are no longer used to just doing it without thinking.
Systematically. Post-it notes. Listening to positive podcasts. Doing mediation. Whatever helps you complain less. It truly is one of the biggest roadblocks to success, both professionally and personally. I would be remiss not to have it on this list.
This post originally appeared on GaryVaynerchuk.com.
This article was published in December 2015 and has been updated. Photo by Inside Creative House/Shutterstock