The success habits of successful people fascinate me.
Why do some people achieve incredible success, while others do not?
Success is not accidental!
There are things you can do and success habits you can adopt that will enhance your life in ways you never imagined.
Your actions become your habits, your habits become your values and your values become your destiny.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
#1 Success Habit: Understanding that failure is a stepping stone.
Strictly speaking, this is an ATTITUDE rather than a habit.
However, successful people see failure as an opportunity to learn.
Take Jeff Bezos, the Founder of Amazon.com.
Amazon was not always the huge success it is today and along the way made some ‘wrong turns’ aka ‘learning experiences’. Examples include Amazon Auctions, Amazon zShops, and more recently the Fire Phone.
But Jeff Bezos did not let these ‘failures’ define him. In referring to failed projects Bezos told the Business Insider Ignition conference in December 2014 that “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com. Literally billions.”
Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.
#2 Success Habit – Successful People Get Up Early
You have heard this before!
Almost all successful people start the day early.
When you get up early, you’re more likely to feel in charge of your day as opposed to struggling against the clock.
Chief among the success habits of high achievers who rise early are morning rituals.
What is a morning ritual?
It can be as simple as having a 15 min walk outside, drinking a cup of bulletproof coffee, or spending an entire hour practicing morning meditation.
It really depends on what would make your day better if you practiced it.
Perhaps try a morning meditation, I highly recommend it.
Meditation is a practice where you are training your attention and awareness by using certain techniques. The purpose being to become mentally calm and emotionally stable.
If you have the space go outside into nature, walk barefoot on the cool grass, and begin your meditation in nature.
My good friend Craig Ballantyne has a lot to say about getting up early.
In his case at 3.57am every day!
You will enjoy this video…
10 Commandments of a Millionaire Morning Routine
Not a morning person?
Start with a small step and get up 15 mins earlier. It is remarkable how much more space, getting up 15 minutes earlier creates in your mornings. It takes the rush out of your day and gives you more control.
Getting up 15 minutes earlier is a recommendation from: Zen: The Art of Simple Living.
Other tips include:
Start your day with a One Minute Meditation (6 breaths, 4-second inhale, 6-second exhale)
Organizing your desk, lining up your shoes when you take them off and savoring the morning air.
A successful person has a balanced life that makes time not only for work but for play.
Getting up 15 minutes earlier helps get that process started.
#3 Success Habit – Successful people are continuous learners
Committing to the habit of a life of continuous learning is one of then most empowering success habits that you can adopt. A university or college degree is not the end of your education, it is just a step along the road to wisdom and mastery.
You learn best by reading heaps and writing heaps, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.
~ Stephen King
But it is not just by reading that we continue our education.
Podcasts, Audible, Masterminds and walking in nature is where I have has some of my biggest breakthroughs.
Make continuous learning part of your success habits.
Fed up of being fed up?
Tired of talking about change that never happens?
Get this article… How To Live A Better Life – 33 Simple Things You Can Do
#4 Success Habit – Eat a Balanced Diet
A healthy, balanced diet with proper nutrition is essential for your body to function effectively.
If you ignore the good nutrition you are unlikely to achieve any significant success in your life – at least not in the long term! Without proper nutrition your body is more vulnerable to infection, disease, exhaustion and poor performance.
I recommend reading the: The Entrepreneurial Diet
=> Remove sugar and processed food from your diet.
=> Re-populate your gut with healthy bacteria.
=> Eat diverse organic fruits and vegetables.
=> Good days begin with a healthy breakfast.
Another fact you should be aware of is that while the brain represents just 2% of a person’s total body weight, it accounts for 20% of the body’s energy use and thinking does use energy! Unlike any other part of the body, the brain runs exclusively on the sugar glucose, and strenuous cognitive activities require more glucose than simple ones.
Special Note: This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition
#5 Success Habit – Make Exercise a Priority
Walk 10,000 steps a day!
Exercise has endless benefits, which is why so many successful people have it on their daily ritual list.
Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson and Mark Cuban all agree that making exercise a priority is a key habit for success.
Richard Branson. “I seriously doubt that I would have been as successful in my career (and happy in my personal life) if I hadn’t always placed importance on my health and fitness,” explains the serial entrepreneur in a recent blog. Branson likes to play tennis, go biking, run and kite surf.
Working out not only benefits for your body, it also benefits your mind. This is because exercise improves cognitive functioning.
Part of the reason exercise enhances cognition has to do with blood flow. Research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.
What type of exercises you should I do?
That depends on the individual, but most people will advocate Aerobic exercise (also known as cardio) over anaerobic exercise.
Aerobic exercise helps keep your heart, lungs, and circulatory system healthy.
Try brisk walking, swimming, running, or cycling.
Examples of anaerobic exercise include heavy weight training and High-Intensity interval training.
Of course an exercise regime that includes both types of exercise is ideal.
=> Do Burpees
#6 – Success Habit – Get The Sleep You Require
People wear hours of sleep deprivation like a medal of honor.
Seriously there are people who believe the less time spent sleeping, the more productive they are.
According to the Harvard Healthy Sleep, a lack of sleep reduces attention and motivation which makes it harder to obtain new information. Sleep also plays a major role in consolidating new memories, allowing you to later recall that information.
Getting a good amount of sleep leads to greater creativity.
Creativity is the secret sauce of all top entrepreneurs, writers and leaders.
You will read about exceptions, but don’t let that mislead you…
=> Nikola Tesla famously survived on a famous 1.5-2 hours of sleep per night, from about midnight to 2AM.
=> Leonardo Da Vinci followed a sleeping pattern that is starting to gain a little traction these days called “the Uberman sleep cycle”. (This involves a schedule of 20-minute cat naps every four hours)
But these individuals are the exceptions, not the rule. You will almost certainly require more. Getting enough sleep is also good for the immune system. The less sleep you get the more susceptible you are to colds and flu. Some people get by on 6 hrs sleep a night, others will need 8 hrs.
- Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. (meditation, a relaxing non-caffeinated tea)
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and heavy meals in the evening.
- Exercise daily.
- Evaluate your room. (If your bedroom is too warm it may be more difficult to get to sleep)
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
Discover the benefit of Power Naps.
A power nap can boost your memory, cognitive skills, creativity, and energy level
A lot of people complain of feeling tired, especially early afternoon. This can be avoided by skipping heavy lunches but if you do feel tired then a 5 – 20 minute power nap works wonders for many people. Speaking personally, I find 5 minutes shut-eye beats a strong coffee.
Give it a try.
#7 Make It A Habit To Feel Comfortable Saying No
If you want to get more things done, you need to say NO more often.
Especially to energy-sapping acquaintances…
Most of us, especially in friendships, hate to offend.
But the truth is that true friends understand and respect your position and priorities.
Billionaire Warren Buffett, is quoted as saying…
“The difference between successful people and really successful people,” he says, “is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
#8 Success Habit – Set Goals and Make Them Happen
There is almost no successful person who doesn’t set goals.
Successful entrepreneurs, top-level athletes, and achievers in all fields set goals. Setting goals gives you long-term perspective and short term motivation. It allows you to organize your time and resources so that you can make the most out of your life.
Start with drawing up your “big picture” of what you want to achieve in your life (say within the next 5 years). Then, you will break this big goal down into progressively smaller targets you need to hit. You should have a specific plan for the next five years, next year, next month and so on.
It was the legendary Zig Ziglar who first introduced me to the power of goal setting.
You can download a PDF explaining the Ziglar process at the link below…
1) State the Goal.
2) Set a Deadline.
3) Identify the Obstacles.
4) Identify the People, Groups, and Organizations that Can Assist.
5) List the Benefits of Achieving the Goal.
6) List the Skills You Need to Acquire to Attain the Goal.
7) Develop a Plan.
A Personal Note:
As important as goal setting is it is my experience that it is FOCUS and INTENTION which ultimately produces the best results.
When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffett, the host, Gates’ mother, asked everyone around the table to share the single most important factor to their success. Gates and Buffett both gave the same one-word answer: “Focus.”
What you focus on is what you get!
Successful people constantly repeat over and over in their minds the positive outcome they wish to achieve. That is focus!
Here is another great quote attributed to Bill Gates that is well worth remembering…
Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.
In other words, we overestimate the change that will occur in the short term and underestimate the change that will occur in the long term.
This is why it is important to set precise goals, deadlines, and amounts for the things you want to achieve. By doing so, you’ll know exactly how and when you’ve reached your goal.
Goals without deadlines are just dreams.
#9 Success Habit – Take Responsibility For The Outcome
The key characteristic of all successful people is taking responsibility for their lives. Unlike most people, they never play the victim role. If something doesn’t work out, they don’t blame others for it.
They learn the lesson and move on quickly. In case of having an unsatisfactory result, they spend their energy thinking “How can I make this work?” or “What can I learn from this?”. They don’t live in the past or make excuses why they aren’t where they should be.
Related: Successful entrepreneurs think differently- they approach problems, fear and failure differently to the ‘normal’ person.
#10 Success Habit – Be Disciplined
Self-discipline discipline is a strong trait that can be developed with consistent use. If you have ever worked from your home, or without supervision, you should know the importance of self-discipline. We humans have limited willpower, and tend to do whatever is comfortable for us.
Contrary to popular belief, self-discipline is not being tough on yourself or living a restrictive, and limited lifestyle. It does however need to be combined with structure to create the outcome you desire.
Structure is what you have to do AND when you have to do it. Discipline is focusing on what you need to get done. Ultimately, structure and discipline combined is the habit is what sets you free.
Don’t make friends who are comfortable to be with. Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up.
– Thomas J. Watson
#11 Success Habit – Make It Happen!
There are three types of people:
Those who make things happen, Those who watch things happen, and Those who wonder what happened.
Successful people are people who make things happen. They are the proactive ones. They don’t just expect good things to happen for them. They accept that they alone are responsible for their lives.
Far too many people think or hope that good fortune will come their way, with out any action on their part.
Apart from the few who win the lottery that is not a strategy that works.
The thing that sets apart those who make things happen from those who let things happen is how they respond to problems and challenges. Those who make things happen look for solutions. Those who let things happen COMPLAIN.
One of the best examples of this is how Richard Branson came to start an airline…
In the early 80’s Richard Branson was traveling Puerto Rico to the British Virgin Islands (BVI) when his flight was canceled, leaving him and hundreds of other passengers stranded.
Branson however didn’t moan about his situation – he looked for a solution and made things happen.
He figured out how much it would cost to charter a plane to BVI and how much it would cost each passenger if the expense were shared. And then he went for it, walking up and down the aisles of the grounded airplane selling tickets. On a simple chalkboard he wrote, “$39 one way to BVI.”
And so Virgin Atlantic was born!
Successful individuals have a mindset which turns every problem into an opportunity. They are in the business of making good things happen!
#12 Success Habit – Take Action Consistently
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore is not an act, but a habit
Actions speak louder than words.
You could have the greatest idea ever but if you don’t take action it is going to always remain, just an idea.
Discussion and planning have their place but it is important to spend the majority of your time DOING.
Action is the key.
Take action consistently. Very few things especially in business work first time. Errors will be made, lessons will be learned. That is why the habit of consistent action is so essential for business and personal success.
#13 Success Habit – Know The Value Of Time.
Time is free, but its priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it, you can never get it back.
From the moment we were born, our expiration clock started ticking.
Every day we are one day closer to our last.
I am not telling it to make you feel bad, rather so you understand that we have only limited TIME in this world.
In days gone by, medieval philosophers & theologians (the writers of their day) had skulls on their desks. This was to remind them of their short life on Earth and to keep them mindful of their mortality. The theory being that this thought would inspire them to spend their time on earth wisely.
This may appear somewhat morbid but it is a powerful reminder of just how important time is.
Time can’t be replaced, once it is used up, it is gone forever!
Lots of people wait around “for the right time”. People don’t know that there is no such thing as a right time. Time is never right nor wrong. The only negative factor of time is that you can lose it and the only positive factor of time is that you can seize it.
People who get big things done, do less of the small things!
#14 Success Habits – Delay Instant Gratification
Live within your means…
The chief cause of failure and unhappiness is trading what you want most for what you want right now.
One common mistake that startup entrepreneurs make, is that they reward themselves before they have earned the reward.
They get that flashy car, take exotic vacations and purchase homes they can’t afford.
Successful entrepreneurs and successful people generally understand that true wealth and success is created my compounding their efforts and avoiding the temptation of instant gratification.
The Marshmallow Experiment
A Stanford professor named Walter Mischel did a study on delayed gratification 1972. During his research, Mischel and his team examined hundreds of children, most of them 5 years old.
He discovered what is now considered to be one of the most important factors for success in health, work and life.
The experiment started by bringing each child into a separate room, sitting them in a chair, and placing a marshmallow in front of them on the table.
At this point, every child was offered a deal.
The researcher told the child that he was leaving the room to come back again later. When he returned if he found that the child hadn’t eaten the marshmallow, the child would receive a second marshmallow. If, however, the child decides to eat the first marshmallow before the researcher returns, then the child will not get a second marshmallow.
The offer was simple: either have one treat now, or wait to have two treats later.
Researcher came back to the room 15 minutes later.
The footage of the children waiting alone in the room was quite entertaining. As you would expect some children jumped up and ate the first marshmallow as soon as the researcher had closed the door.
Others waited a few minutes in their chairs, and finally gave in since they couldn’t resist the temptation. Only a few children could manage to wait the entire time.
Interesting you might say. However the really fascinating part was when they did a follow up with these children many years later when the children had grown up.
What they have found was really surprising.
The children who had delayed gratification, ended up having better SAT scores, lower levels of addiction problems, lower likelihood of depression, better social skills, and generally better scores in a range of other life indicators.
In other words, these series of experiments showed that the ability to delay gratification was crucial to lifelong success.
And if you look around, you will see this principle playing out everywhere.
If you delay the gratification of watching TV, and work on your business plan now, then you will progress your business idea. Similarly, if you delay the gratification of buying desserts at the store, you will eat healthier when you get home. There are countless more examples of course.
This reminds me of a famous quote by Jim Rohn:
We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.
The above studies make one thing clear.
If you want to succeed in life you will need to avoid the temptation of instant gratification. Far better to be patient and do what is right for your long term goals.
#15 Success Habit – Be an avid reader
Related to #3 Successful people are continuous learners.
Reading is the most common practice of highly successful people.
Successful people are lifelong learners. They are constantly trying out new things and having new experiences.
What is more, they are not afraid to fail when they try new things.
We have mentioned Warren Buffett many times in this post – he is after all one of the most financially successful people on the planet and his success habits are well documented.
For example, did you know that Warren Buffett invests an average of 6 hours a day reading multiple newspapers, and corporate reports?
When asked once about the key to success, Warren Buffett pointed to a stack of books and said:
Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.
The more you read, the easier it becomes to retain new information.
I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.
~ Warren Buffett
#16 Success Habit Bonus: Know what to do & do it early.
This is from my good friend and mentor: Craig Ballantyne
The 3 Essential Rules for A Successful Life
Rule #1 – Know what to do & do it early.
Rule #2 – Know what NOT to do & don’t do it ever.
Rule #3 – If you can only stick to one rule, make it Rule #2.
Of all the success habits I could share, implementing these 3 rules is perhaps the most important.
Implement. Implement. Implement.
Success habits of successful people…
Barry Dunlop is a lifelong Entrepreneur, Business Coach and Sales Turnaround Expert who is passionate about helping business owners grow their businesses and make a positive difference in the world. Contact Barry HERE or connect with Barry on LinkedIn