What would life look like if we could feel like we were on top of our sh&t and felt success throughout the day? What if I told you that this feeling rests all in your daily habits and the way you think.
Highly successful people are unique in that they consistently do the things that most of us avoid. Keep reading and learn what these things are.
They Invest In Themselves
We all know that the best investment we can make is in ourselves. But how do we accomplish this in an average day? The statement is broad, but it touches on a general theme for success. We should try to make daily choices that are going to lead us towards reaching our goals.
Investing in yourself can mean taking a course to learn and develop your intellect, making time for exercise, or working with a life coach to improve your health.
Utilizing successful habits will lead you towards developing great routines. See below for how you can tackle this.
- Wake up early and exercise or do 1 self-care action in the morning.
- Look at your goals every day. Staying connected to your vision will keep you on track.
- Block out time to do focused work.
- Turn work off and walk away from your workstation. When we don’t rest we don’t work well.
- Start your day with small meaningful tasks.
Make your goals a tool to navigate through your day and push your projects forward. Before you start the day consider the way that you are going to map out your goals. Organize them by level of priority in the following categories:
- Urgent and important: critical situations that are time-sensitive that cannot be delegated.
- Important but not urgent: Updating and Organizing documents, training others and scheduling.
- Not important but urgent: Replying to low-pressure emails and phone calls.
- Neither important nor urgent: Running small errands, finishing small chores.
Organizing your tasks allows you to function fluidly as well as tackle the items that are most time-sensi tive, alleviating unwanted stress.
They Wake Up Early
The saying, “the early bird catches the worm,” has longevity because starting a project early maximizes the time for productivity. An easy habit to get into is to start your day an hour earlier. Consider what you can accomplish with 1 extra hour in the day.
Benefits of waking up earlier. You can set the tone of the day by not having to rush through your morning. Because the brain is naturally more alert in the morning, you can do your day’s planning and organize with efficiency.
Some strategies to get up early:
- Don’t go to bed late. Make sure that you respect your bedtime and get sleep before midnight.
- In order to feel motivated to get up early, set out 3 things that you would like to accomplish with your time in the morning. This will prompt you to get out of bed.
- Create a bedtime that coincides with your morning routine. As we are creatures of habit, this will support your early rise. For example, lay out your workout gear for an early fitness class, or your yoga mat for a morning yoga session.
They See The Value in Teamwork
Successful people see the value in others and see the value in building networks. They work with others who can bring new and different skills to the project.
They understand that by collaborating with other teammates, they can gain knowledge and support in areas where they may be lacking in certain skills. At the same time, your teammates can also offer value where they operate strongest.
How do you rate your effectiveness in a team setting? Are you supportive and open to feedback? Do you shy away from others that may have a different opinion than you? Consider if there is any work that you could do to strengthen your team skills.
Can you work on how you communicate with others? Or how you share problem-solving solutions?
They Develop Strong Networks
Successful people like to spend time with people that inspire them, people that help them grow and broaden their horizons. These relationships may come in the form of mentors, co-workers, friends, and colleagues.
What successful people tend to share are the same core principles and attitudes which include an emphasis on growth, positivity, determination and vision.
Successful people also are very self-reflective and know that there will be days when they will not be at their best, or they will need an extra hand. These days they look for support from their network.
This group also tends to dream big and look for people in their network to dream as big. Successful people seek out those who believe that they can also change the world and make a difference in their every day lives.
Consider your networks. Have you met some new people in your industry in the last few years? Maybe this is an area that you could explore by attending some networking events or workshops. You could even host a workshop of your own!
They Exercise Healthy Boundaries
Successful people prioritize clear communication and setting boundaries and expectations upfront. This way they can stay focused as well as stay on top of their deliverables without getting their lines crossed or building false expectations in others.
The successful also protect their personal time as they know that in order to be productive, they need to have time to rest, unwind and step away from work. Therefore, creating clear boundaries between work and home life is a clear distinction that they are not apologetic for.
Similarly, they create boundaries within their personal relationships, spending time with friends yet also knowing when to step it back to invest time in solitary activities, such as reading, resting and reflection aimed at personal development and exploration.
Do you practice utilizing boundaries? Are you clear about what you need on a daily basis? Do you ask for what you need? Is there some work that you could do in this area? Make a list of 5 boundaries that are important to you. Now, honestly answer whether you are effectively doing them. If not, what steps can you take today to integrate them into your life?
They Invest In Physical Exercise
Successful people invest in their health by having a healthy diet as well as making a conscious effort to exercise each and every day. They know that the extra effort pays off. Half an hour of exercise can offer a more productive workday.
When we move, our cognitive health improves. We have better mental clarity, focus, and patience to find solutions.
We also experience stress management when we exercise, reducing stress and serious illness like cardiovascular problems. Daily exercise produces dopamine’s and endorphins that help ward off depression and stress.
Sometimes incorporating some fitness in your daily routine can be as simple as taking your dog for an extra long walk. What are you currently doing to incorporate some exercise into your day?
They Incorporate Daily Reading
Successful people are always learning. They seize upon opportunities to develop their abilities and actively find ways to broaden their scope of thinking. Squeezing in some reading whether it is during the morning commute, in the evening before bedtime or on the weekend is a great way to expand your thinking.
Incorporating reading as a daily habit is a great way to relax the mind and invest in yourself and your own self-care. Learning new things supports self-esteem and makes you a more valuable worker.
Reading also offers cognitive health. Spending 20 minutes of reading a day can help with focus, memory and can reduce depression and negative thinking. When we read we do not spend the time ruminating on our thoughts.
They Stay Away From Time Wasters
This is a highly effective habit of successful people and one that we can all incorporate into our day-to-day habits. Regain control of your day by finding out where you spend your time. Do you check email throughout the day without intention? Or are you constantly on social media?
If you answered “yes” to these questions, you would benefit from doing an audit of your daily routines. Make a running list of what you do all day for 2-3 days. Take a look at your findings. You may surprise yourself.
If you have found that you spend a large part of your day engaged in activities that waste your time, now you can make some intentional changes and catch yourself when you are doing them and redirect your focus or simply take a break.
Some strategies to organize your day in order to avoid time-wasters are listed below:
- Block out time in the morning and the evening to check in on emails and social media so that you can get caught up and then commit to putting them away.
- Dedicate 60-90 minute chunks of time to do focused work, which is just 1 task at a time.
- Enjoy your breaks. Step away from your computer, go for a walk, have a healthy snack.
Once you can define your day and be more intentional, you will find that your productivity will inevitably go up.
They Don’t Touch Things Twice
If you find yourself saying things like, “I’ll come back to that”, this is for you. Stop adding to your to-do list. Try to finish as many things as you can while you are immersed in them. Use that momentum. If it is an email, send it. Don’t wait to call that person-just call them. Empty your inbox every day. Having these daily habits will alleviate your day from tasks that were previously outstanding the day before.
If you are not able to do it, then delegate it. Lean into your network and see if you can find help to support you. This will help keep your momentum going and get you to the finish line with your project.
Successful people don’t allow for obstacles to get in the way of completing tasks. Instead, they develop strategies to help them get through the hard moments. Whether it is breaking up the project into sections or calling in some help.
Do you tend to linger with certain tasks or procrastinate on finalizing projects? To learn more on how to overcome procrastination read here.
They Are Committed To Quality Rest
Highly successful people know how important rest is, and ensure that they prioritize it every day. In fact, they will schedule it into their day. A good rule of thumb is to break for 15 minutes after every 60-90 minutes. These consistent short breaks help to relax the focus muscle and help you come back fresh and ready to go again.
Successful people also understand that investing in moments of rest is important to avoid burnout. Burnout is severely detrimental to work and projects in the long term. Successful persons do this by understanding how to develop their goals to incorporate moments of rest.
Lastly, they know when to walk away. We all hit a stopping point and a lot of us will keep going. Not highly successful people. They understand how important it is to stop, rest, and start again.
Do you prioritize rest? Do you get enough sleep? Would you benefit from getting more quality sleep? If so, take a look at our sleep guide here.
They Find The Way To Get Unstuck
We can all create and develop goals. A good approach is to use the S.M.A.R.T. method. To learn more read here.
However, a lot of us can get stuck when projects are large in scope because we become overwhelmed. The end seems too daunting to achieve. Highly successful people understand that there are moments when we must look at the bigger picture. Just focusing on the “next step” can keep your momentum moving forward and in the right direction.
Can you relate to this? Do you struggle with managing projects with a large scope? Consider breaking up the project into small tasks that have actionable goals. If you think of each task as a step, it can feel more manageable.
They Visualize The Life That They Want
Successful people intentionally spend all of their time imagining their lives. Creating this vivid picture helps them to stay focused amid their daily demands and distractions.
Finding ways to do this is critical in maintaining a clear sense of how to pursue the desired destination and avoid being derailed.
In order to know what your goals are, it is important to know what your destination is. Ask yourself these questions: What is important to me? Who do you want to be? What do you want in your life?
Once you have tapped into the answers to these questions, keep those responses held firmly in mind and make decisions that best uphold these principles. Remove yourself from actions or things that do not align with your focused goals.
You might write them down and leave your list somewhere close so that you can see it every morning. Or, you might share your list with your partner which may stimulate conversation to inspire you.
They Compare and Contrast But Not In a Harmful Way
Successful people understand that it is important to quantify the wins in life, but not in a way that leaves you feeling badly about yourself. Highly successful people do not compare themselves to others in a way that makes them feel inadequate. Instead, they find inspiration from their networks and use this feeling to rise to challenges and seek out better ways of thinking.
We had a client last year who constantly expressed frustration about a co-worker that kept getting all the projects that came up that she wanted. After listening to her, we did some troubleshooting and discovered that she really wanted to become a mentor and had great organizational skills.
We helped her develop a personal project where she would lead quarterly leadership workshops in her office. Her manager was thrilled with her initiative and she was able to shine in the areas that were most meaningful to her.
Another area where successful people utilize the “compare and contrast” tool is in their own output. They look at the effort that they invest and compare this against the results, modifying their actions accordingly.
The trick here is to know that every action requires tweaking and adjusting to improve and make better decisions and that is simply part of the process.
They Turn Off Auto-Pilot
A very important aspect of success is intention. Being intentional with your daily tasks offers the capacity to make choices to do things that bring you closer to reaching your goals. It also minimizes and can even eliminate wasting time on actions that are not productive.
How can we turn off autopilot? We are all so used to working on multiple lists of items that it can be difficult to stay focused. Here are some productive ways to get you moving in the right direction.
Take notice of your actions
Spend some time asking yourself why you do what you do. Using a journal or reviewing your to-do lists can offer helpful insights. Challenge your behaviours and be patient.
Keep your purpose present. Are you working towards making a big change this year? Are you trying to change your fitness level or go after a new position in your organization? Set a visual reminder of it somewhere and make it your mantra so that you can bring more attention to it each and every day.
Bring meaning to your routines
Before you do something, make sure that it reflects your vision of the life you desire. Design your to-do list to develop solutions for your goals.
For example, if fitness and well-being is your goal, your list could be:
- Buy organic produce
- Walk to the store
- Attend an evening spin class
This is a short list of items that all reflect back to being intentional to get you to improve your fitness.
Stop and reflect
You might need to do some soul searching before you can really get intentional. Some insightful questions would be. What do you like? Am I enjoying my life? What improvements do I need to make to feel happy? Am I focused or distracted? In either case, you want to ask yourself, why?
Go beyond your comfort zone
Intentional action will change the way you do things. That is a good thing, but it will require some work from you. Once you reflect on your routines, find the areas that you want to adjust and start working towards them. If changing your career is a priority, then be intentional about what you do with your spare time. Can you take a course that would improve your skills? How about taking more leadership in your current position?
Take a look at all of these behaviour changing actions and start today. Small adjustments over time can make impactful change.
Embrace Failure and Start Again
When we fail, we naturally retract and feel shame, guilt or just general negativity. This reaction is completely normal, but what comes after that is important.
How quickly can you bounce back? How off course does failure take you? Highly successful people spend a shorter time feeling bad about rejection. They understand that failure is a natural outcome at times.
Here are some ways to bounce back from failure that can help you.
- Learn from it. Take the time to reflect on the experience and find the actions that led to the failure. Was it a lack of time, a lack of resources? Take note of this and revise your plans for next time.
- Focus on what you know. You are an expert at something. Dig into that. Sometimes when we fail, we seek what we don’t have, when in fact our tried and true skills are the ones that will support us through difficult moments.
- Build a culture that supports failure. In your group at work, make failure easy to talk about. Share your experiences. When we can talk about failure and normalize it, failure loses its power to keep us from doing things.
- Consider the benefit of failure. I know, how can there be positive aspects to failure? Failure helps you reset your paradigm. Failure helps you take a bigger look at the situation and innovate, adjust and adapt to future change.
We all want to be successful and feel that we have a positive attitude and the ability to manage stress in everyday life. Tapping into some of the habits of successful people can go a long way towards improving our personal life as well as our career.
Remember that lasting change takes place over time and is created with consistent daily habits. Be patient with your process and have fun learning more about yourself and all that you can do.