Success doesn’t happen overnight, but by making some tweaks to your routine, you will be more likely to reach your goals. Here are 23 things successful people do on a daily basis.
Success means different things to different people. It could be a big house or a great job or a brass ring. But everyone who is chasing after their goals can increase their chances of getting what they want by adopting the habits of those who are successful.
1. WAKE UP WITH THE BIRDS
You won’t catch successful people hitting the snooze button. A study of college students found that those who got up earlier in the morning tended to be the most proactive and productive throughout the day. If you’re not a morning person, you can ease your way towards becoming one by bumping your wake-up time ahead in 5-minute increments over a couple of weeks.
2. GET MOVING
Research shows that exercising for as little as 2.5 hours a week can make you more productive overall and decrease your likelihood of getting sick — giving you more time in the year to actively tend toward your goals. Whether you’re spending an hour at the gym or just taking a 15-minute stroll around the block, you’re storing up energy that you can put toward your work.
3. ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN
If you’re not a list person, you may be holding back your ability to accomplish as much as you’d like each day. Successful people know that the key to getting more done is mapping out the day ahead with an organized to-do list. It keeps them on track (just one list will do the trick — spend all day putting lists together and you’ll get off course).
4. PRIORITIZE THE WORKLOAD
It’s not enough to know what it is you need to do on a given day; you also need to decide in which order you’re going to tackle each task. When there’s something particularly difficult or bothersome you’ve been dreading, it’s easy to put it off. Jumping on it first thing instead means it’s not lurking around in the back of your mind and distracting you from everything else that needs to be done.
5. PURSUE A LABOR OF LOVE
While it’s true that many successful people have turned their passions into a profitable company or product, that doesn’t mean they’re focused solely on their work 24/7. Investing time in a side project or hobby, whether it be writing a novel or learning to knit, is a great way to nurture your creativity and release work-related stress.
6. SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY
Hopefully your definition of success doesn’t involve just status and fortune. What’s the point of making huge strides professionally or raking in big bucks if you don’t have someone to celebrate with? To reach the true pinnacle of success — happiness — we need to be surrounded by loved ones, and that requires carving time out for them and not working around the clock. Some might consider this a priceless activity, but according to one British study, the payoff of being socially involved can be quantified — it’s the equivalent of earning an extra $100,000 a year.
7. KEEP IN TOUCH
Whether they’re heading up a large company with hundreds of employees or they run a small business from home, successful people know that they can’t go it alone. They take the time to nurture relationships from all angles. Reconnecting with people in their network, providing clients with a status update on a project or just providing a word of encouragement to an employee are all things that people who have made it to the top take the time to do.
8. SET SPECIFIC GOALS
Mapping out your goals and writing them down allows you to keep your eyes on the prize. A study of collegiate rugby players showed that those who went out onto the field with definitive goals in mind performed at a higher level. If you’ve got some big aspirations, breaking them down into manageable steps ensures that you don’t lose sight of the finish line.
9. VISUALIZE WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
Do you have a clear visual of what success looks like? Take a mental walk-through of what’s involved in achieving your goals, and you could push forward toward the end game. Researchers at the Cleveland Clinic found that people who carried out a weight training routine in their heads saw a 13.5% increase in muscle mass without ever hitting the gym.
10. BE WILLING TO TAKE RISKS
Daring to make the leaps that no one else will is what sets successful people apart from the pack. Being innovative and not letting fear keep you from stepping outside the box is a must if you want to up your success factor.
11. TAKE OUT TIME TO FEEL GRATITUDE — AND SHOW IT OFF
Showing gratitude is an important part of any successful person’s daily routine, and there are many different ways to express it. Research from the Emmons Lab at the University of California-Davis indicates that giving thanks on a daily basis makes you more likely to achieve your goals. Keeping a gratitude journal, spending time in prayer, or paying it forward to someone are all ways to show your appreciation for what you’ve accomplished.
12. GIVE YOUR MIND A WORKOUT
Creativity and imagination are two keys to success, and if you’re not intentionally feeding the well, it’s eventually going to run dry. Spend a part of your day reading, watching an inspirational video or listening to some mood-stimulating music to keep the thoughts and ideas flowing.
13. STAY IN THE LOOP
Successful people are not living in a bubble. They keep tabs on what’s happening, not just in their industry, but across the globe.
14. SKIP THE JUNK FOOD
What you put into your body has more of an impact on success than you think. A study of 20,000 employees conducted by Brigham Young University found that 66% of those who didn’t follow a healthy diet plan were less likely to get ahead on the job. Trying to work on an empty stomach or when you’re feeling sluggish because you ate a pound of bacon washed down with a couple of bagels is a surefire way to throw your entire day off course.
15. TAKE THE BLAME EVERY ONCE IN AWHILE
To be successful means holding yourself accountable for your choices and taking responsibility for your role in their outcome. You have to be willing to step up to the plate when needed and not dodge any blame if something doesn’t work out.
16. SHUT DOWN THE DEVICES FOR AN “UNPLUG” MOMENT
People are more connected than ever thanks to the Internet, but you won’t find the most successful people glued to their smartphones or tablets all day. They know that distractions onlyincrease stress and up the risk of making serious errors. Unplugging from the rest of the world, even if it’s just for a few minutes, can be just the break you need to recharge before you finish up the rest of your to-do list.
17. EMBRACE THE LESSONS OF MISTAKES
Mistakes happen. What really matters is how you recover from them. Being able to turn a misstep into a learning experience is a sign of a maturity; it shows how well you’re able to roll with the punches.
18. ACCEPT CRITICISM GRACEFULLY
When you’re working towards a goal, there’s always going to be a naysayer or two who wants to pick apart your idea. Criticism, when it’s well intentioned, can be valuable but in other cases it’s just downright mean. Instead of letting it throw you off track or taking it as a personal insult, you should approach it with an objective attitude to see if there’s anything you can learn from it.
19. RISE TO THE CHALLENGE
It’s easy to slack off a little once you reach a certain level, but you have to keep pushing yourself forward if you want to grow. Successful people don’t settle for where they’re at; instead, they ask themselves what’s next? and make moving towards it a priority.
20. DON’T FOCUS ON THE INBOX
Getting bogged down in reading emails can be a real time suck. Researchers at the University of California found that employees who didn’t check their email regularly during the day were twice as likely to stay alert and focused on their work. Doing a cursory scan of your inbox first thing in the morning, weeding out the junk and making a point to read the most important messages at a certain point in the day — but not all day long — will keep you on task.
21. INVEST IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Learning is a lifelong pursuit. If you want to be successful, you have to be open to opportunities whenever they present themselves. Spending your time and money on taking a class, picking up some specialized skills or attending a workshop can translate to a big payoff down the line.
22. ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES
Even the most successful people know that sometimes you have to draw a line between your professional and personal life. For example, if you work from home, that might mean keeping regular office hours. The key is to make sure that when you’re enforcing boundaries with others, you’re also observing them yourself so you don’t get too focused on your work.
23. TAKE A BREATHER
Successful people know that you have to take a break sometimes. It’s important to make sure that you begin each day with a clear end in sight. Otherwise, you’re going to end up overtired and overworked, neither of which put you in the best position to reach your goals.