The truth is, a large part of what we accomplish in life is governed by our habits.
Habits can lead us to think and act in specific patterns, as they rewire our brains with neural pathways that make the behaviors almost automatic.
Because our habits are so powerful, it is important to pay close attention to the ones that have the biggest impact.
While luck and genetics play a role in your long-term success, there are certain learnable behaviors that will make you more likely to be successful in all your endeavors.
Many of these positive habits don’t require a major life change — which is hard to pull off without employing dozens of habits.
Instead, making a few small changes to your daily routine can potentially result in an unexpectedly large payoff.
People who are wildly successful — like Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey — understand the secrets of developing these small daily habits.
Here are 11 habits of successful people that you can adopt in your life:
1. They practice willpower.
When you are working toward a goal, it is important to think about what you want vs. what you want right now.
Successful people have the strength to finish what they have started without procrastinating.
When you want something and have a clear long-term goal, you will make it happen.
Some of the world’s greatest achievers are people who have a laser focus on their goal and are therefore consistent with their efforts.
2. They read.
We know that reading has considerable benefits, from improving your overall health and well-being to expanding your capacity to have strategic decision making.
People who read are constantly learning about new things, whether it is the biography of someone who was successful before them or just the current events in the news.
Reading can also help improve writing skills and alleviate stress.
3. They have a morning routine.
Developing a morning routine and sticking to it gives structure to your day and allows you to have the energy to accomplish everything that is important to you. Some common morning routines include:
- gratitude meditation
- mapping out your MITs for the day
- responding to important emails
4. They don’t sweat the small stuff.
People who are successful don’t waste their time worrying about small matters that do not have an impact on their long-term goals.
Instead, they let those things slide or put them aside to deal with later when they are not trying to focus on their work.
Time is a very important variable in the things that we are able to accomplish and the people who choose to spend their time wisely are able to be more successful than those who waste time worrying about irrelevant matters.
5. They wake up an hour early.
There is another hour that you can use in your day to accomplish great things, but you may have slept through it most of your life.
Waking up an hour earlier than usual will take some time to adjust to, but once you do, you won’t want to go back to sleeping in.
Early risers tend to be more dedicated and optimistic than those who choose to sleep in, and they are able to anticipate upcoming problems and conquer them more efficiently. This is a crucial element to success in the business world.
6. They complete THAT task first.
There is always that one task that you really don’t enjoy doing, but you absolutely have to in order to continue with your work.
Maybe that is calling a certain client that you have to talk to on a regular basis or creating a report that is just tedious.
Reprioritize your to-do list by placing your most dreaded task at the top of the list. Rather than allowing it to loom over you all day while you are getting other things accomplished, save yourself the stress and get it over with first.
This will provide you with a sense of relief and allow you to be more willing and able to complete any trivial tasks that follow. Remember, you usually have the most energy in the morning when you are feeling the most rested.
7. They find their mantra.
What is your core motivation for being successful?
Is it so you can provide for your family, or retire early and travel the world?
Remember your motivation and create a mantra that will help keep you going during times of stress. Repeat your mantra to yourself each morning while you are taking a deep breath and relaxing.
This will help you feel more motivated and focused throughout the day.
8. They make sure to set aside time to get exercise.
Exercising not only gives you a boost of energy, but it also helps to keep your brain sharp and your stress levels low. Exercising will help you feel ready to take on any issue that comes your way.
It is best to get your exercise over with in the morning because studies have shown that you are less likely to skip your workout if you do it first thing in the morning before you have time to make an excuse to put it off.
Even if it is just a fifteen minute run in the morning, get some physical activity and get your body moving.
9. They keep their space organized.
Whether it is their desk at work or where they handle business at home, there is no clutter or unnecessary items filling the space of people who are successful.
They throw away old papers and excess items that are not used on a regular basis because these things only add a distraction.
Take some time each day to clean up your working space and organize your papers and projects from the day. This will help set you up to be ready to work the next day without having to deal with any clutter.
10. They are self-confident.
Self-confidence is born when one is able to master their skills and their talents.
This is a slow process that builds a sense of trust in yourself, letting yourself know that you know what you are doing and that you are good at your job. This is a key element of success.
It is important to realize that being self-confident also requires a sense of self-awareness. Successful people know who they are and have a defined vision, but while they know their strengths, they are also very aware of their weaknesses.
This allows them to know when they need to seek outside help with a project or get a second opinion.
People who have the most success are aware of the instances in which they need to rely on someone else who may be more equipped to handle a specific problem than they are.
11. They contribute to others.
One of the habits of successful people that may seem counterintuitive is to give to others.
People who are successful make it a habit to provide other people with things of value.
Whether that is intangible items such as knowledge or support or tangible things such as money and books, looking for ways to give rather than get is an important thing that successful people do.
Research has shown that giving makes people happier than receiving and if you are genuinely happy with your life and the person that you are, you are more likely to be successful.
If any of these habits intrigue you, choose one to focus on for the next few weeks. It can take about four to six weeks for a new habit to become automatic, depending on the difficulty of the habit.
Determine the actions you need to take to develop the habit. Set a consistent time of day, every day to work on it, using a trigger or cue (a previously established habit like brushing your teeth) to remind you.
Create accountability by telling your habit plans to someone else or reporting on your efforts on social media. If you miss a day, just pick up the next day, and don’t beat yourself up.
Once your first habit feels solid, move on to another so that you build a series of positive habits that will make you wildly successful too!