A new year will soon be here, along with a chance for a fresh start — if you’re ready to commit to a “New You.”

Do you normally make New Year’s resolutions? More importantly, do you keep them?

Professionals are often great at setting goals, but lack the follow through to achieve them.

Marshall Goldsmith, named the #1 expert in leadership by the Harvard Business Review, and personal development coach to leaders around the world, has come up with a list of 20 bad habits you need to break to be more successful.

Why not start by choosing a few of your own negative habits from these 20 bad habits and build your New Year resolutions around them?

The 20 Bad Habits That Are Holding You Back from Success

1. Winning too much 

The need to win at all costs and in all situations — whether it really matters or not.

2. Adding too much value

Needing to add your two cents to every decision.

3. Passing judgement

The need to rate others and impose your standards on them.

4. Making destructive comments

Needless sarcasm and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.

5. Starting with “no,” “but,” or “however” 

Overusing negative qualifiers to show that you're right and the other guy is wrong.

6. Telling the world how smart we are

The need to show people we're smarter than they think.

7. Speaking when angry

Using emotional volatility as a management tool.

8. Negativity 

The need to share our negative thoughts even when we're not asked.

9. Withholding information

Holding back information to maintain an advantage over others.

10. Failing to give proper recognition

The inability to praise and reward.

11. Claiming credit that we don't deserve 

Overestimating your contribution to any success.

12. Making excuses (for our bad behaviour) 

The need to reposition our bad behaviour as a permanent fixture so people will excuse us for it

13. Clinging to the past

Deflecting blame away from ourselves and onto past events and previous actions of other people.

14. Playing favourites 

Failing to see that we're treating different people favourably or unfavourably.

15. Refusing to express regret 

The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we're wrong or how our actions affect others.

16. Not listening

A fundamental disrespect of our colleagues.

17. Failing to express gratitude

Not saying “thank you” where due is simply bad manners.

18. Punishing the messenger

Taking your anger out on the innocent.

19. Passing the buck 

Blaming everyone but ourselves.

20. An excessive need to be “me”

Exalting our faults as virtues because “they're who we are.”

Tips on Getting Started and Sticking to It

1. Own It 

Review the list. You likely commit all of them from time to time, but choose one or two of your chronic bad habits, accept them, and write them down.

2. Daily Commitment 

While some of these bad habits may seem easy to break (how hard is it to say “Thank you”?), they require daily commitment and awareness. Look for daily opportunities to cultivate the habit’s positive counterpart or take corrective action to get to “neutral.”

3. Focus on the “big picture” 

Make the bad habits you are trying to change part of your overall vision for self-improvement and add them to the list of “who you want to be.”

4. Do it for yourself 

Don’t do it to impress someone else; do it because it is the right thing to do and will make you a better person. However, that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Let others know you are trying to change, and apologize to those who have been directly affected by your bad behaviours.

Many others are preparing their New Resolutions. Please share this with others if you feel you learned something useful.

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