When I realized that quitting my nail biting habit would never really happen, I decided to sit down and make more realistic new year’s resolutions. I spent the entire morning of the last day of 2017 enjoying coffee and chocolate croissants (yes, 2 of them) while thinking about my goals for the next year. Naturally that thought process winds your memories through the years which have passed, and I quickly remembered how career-driven my intentions were going into 2017. That approach brought many things to my attention – among them, aspects of my personality which I had failed to notice along with some very valuable lessons to be learned.

Being career-driven is a personality trait that doesn’t exactly fit into the context of a goal or resolution. In my case, this “career-drive” has been more of a character trait which has molded and shaped my lifestyle over time. Telling myself to approach the year with more career-drive was like telling myself to approach a Friday night with more drive to order a nice bottle of wine. These things just happen naturally – no resolution needed. Realizing this fact brought me to new understandings throughout 2017. Among these realizations were a few mistakes which I have come to notice that all young professionals tend to make. The sooner we are made aware of these mistakes, the easier moving forward in your career can become.

It never really matters how much time and energy you put into something – it matters if you get it done and if it is done properly. Sure it looks good to stay in the office until midnight but if your output is low, nobody cares. Unless it involves sex or good food, skip the foreplay and just get it done.

It also doesn’t matter how hard you try to look good – it matters how other people perceive you. We all know that one overachiever who puts way too much effort into their hair for work and shuffles around the office trying to look busy, much like someone who hasn’t had time to take a shit in a week. Nice effort dude, but everyone can see right through it. Keep yourself fresh, own your style, and most importantly, have confidence in yourself. The rest will fall into place. When you believe in your time and have confidence in your work, other people will find it difficult not to; which brings me to my next point.

Your positive mental attitude (thanks Bad Brains) is more important than both education and experience. We often give ourselves less credit than we deserve and as humans, this is one of our biggest setbacks. We tend to undervalue our time and self-worth without realizing how catastrophic this mindset can be. People respect you as much as you respect yourself – boyfriends and colleagues alike. Once you realize your potential and believe in your ability to achieve it, you can overcome some pretty mind-blowing goals.

Achieving these goals brings you closer to finding fulfillment and satisfaction. Understanding that you deserve this feeling of satisfaction is another achievement in itself. We tend to starve ourselves from happiness and satisfaction out of guilt that maybe we don’t deserve it, or perhaps we aren’t doing enough. In order to keep moving forward, you must understand what makes you happy. Those things which give you the greatest satisfaction are the things which you were put on this earth to achieve. Ignoring those feelings and trying to please everybody else is only going to set you back. Pinpoint what makes you happy and base your goals around that.

So is it important to be career-focused? Well, yes. However, it is more essential to be focused on yourself. Know your worth, never undervalue your time, and always be your biggest cheerleader. After all, work is really just you selling your time. How much is that time worth and what do you really want to accomplish with it?

With those thoughts in mind, I wrote down my new resolutions. I thought about the coming year and what I wanted to gain with the coming days, weeks, and months. My career-driven personality will always push me to move forward in my career, however, my experiences from 2017 will always push me to find my own happiness. With every experience we learn more about our characters and personalities – and with this, comes new moments to learn new lessons. Let those moments happen and never doubt yourself for a minute, because your happiness is your best road map to success.