August 8, 2023
We often believe that big talent gaps exist between those who are successful and those who aren’t. What if I told you that the difference doesn’t lie in talent but in the level of intention?
Studies show that most people get up everyday and coast into wherever the day takes them, reacting to what comes their way. Successful people, on the other hand, have daily habits and systems that lead them where they want to go.
Another way to put it: unsuccessful people play defense, successful people play offense.
Before we dive in, let’s define success. Success isn’t a one size fits all. Each one of us has to identify what success looks like in our own lives.
In general, success is achieving the the desired goals we have set through time, dedication, effort and intentional work.
If we zoom out further, it is being satisfied and pleased with our level of health internally. If we feel successful, we possess a sense of confidence and happiness with how we are spending our time and attention. Though not perfect, we are satisfied with our lives, work and relationships.
Success is more than money. Success is an overall sense of well-being.
With this in mind, let’s dive into some common factors that create, in most, a successful life.
HERE ARE SOME COMMON HABITS OF SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE
1. THEY PLAN WELL
High performers take time to plan their days and months. They intentionally prioritize what is most important and set their schedule to work on those most pressing tasks.
They also plan other important aspects of life, such as exercise and family or community involvement. High performers know that they function best when there are times of input and output.
Look at your calendar for the next six months and see if you have intentional fun and rest built into your schedule. Also see if you have times scheduled for uninterrupted deep work.
2. THEY HAVE GOALS
Successful people create goals and work toward them consistently. I personally love the 12 Week Year approach by Brian P. Morgan. Essentially, people work in twelve week increments on ONE goal at a time. This creates focus and accountability.
Once leaders have goals, they know where they are headed.
If you need more accountability for your goals, hire a coach, sign up for a race, join a support group or ask a co-worker or friend to be an accountability partner.
3. THEY CREATE TO-DO LISTS AND PRIORITIZE
To-do lists are simple but powerful. High achievers “brain dump” all they need to do on paper, then prioritize those tasks.
Brian Tracy, leadership guru, says to work from the 80/20 rule. If there is a list of ten to do items, pick the two that are the most important to get done, and prioritize those above all the others. Some of the tasks on the list should move toward the bigger goal you’ve set for yourself.
A few minutes of organization goes a long way. The brain likes to take the easiest road possible. If you tell it what to do at the beginning of the day, it will follow. Having to make decisions hour by hour is exhausting and mentally taxing.
4. THEY ESTABLISH A MORNING ROUTINE
One of the biggest common denominators of all successful people is they have a solid morning routine. Though the routines vary, they have one and they stick to it.
Exercise and nutrition play a critical role in a leader’s health and these intentions are set at the beginning of the day. How a person begins determines how the rest of the day will go.
They prioritize sleep, wake up excited and energized for the day, and spend some time reading, meditating, exercising or praying.
Successful people know themselves and are in touch with their internal state. WIth busy, full days, the morning time is usually the most ideal for doing this heart work.
They also tend to their primary relationships, identifying which ones need some time and attention.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS WITH 12 DAILY HABITS THAT WILL IMMEDIATELY MAKE YOUR LIFE HEALTHIER + HAPPIER
IN THIS CHECKLIST YOU WILL FIND:
- Science-backed research
- Small habits that make a huge difference
- Do-able action steps
- A recipe for a powerful, purpose-driven day
5. THEY READ
Tom Corley, author of Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, says that 88% of wealthy people devote at least 30 minutes a day to reading. Leaders grow, and reading is one of the best ways to do that.
Not only does reading make successful people smarter, but it also increases their brainpower. Research has shown that reading increases memory function. As people age, memory and brain function declines. Reading helps slow down that process, keeping the brain sharp.
Reading also allows learning from the experience of others, saving years of time and hard knocks.
6. THEY REFLECT
Experience does not make people wiser, REFLECTED experience does. Successful people take the time to analyze and evaluate why something went well, or why it didn’t.
Inviting input from others, they gather important feedback and adjust accordingly.
Peter Drucker, the famous author and business consultant, once said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”
7. THEY THINK ABOUT + SERVE OTHERS
Contrary to what one may think, successful people actively think about and serve others, knowing this leads to significance. They realize that life can’t only be about self benefit.
Lebron James has a foundation to help at-risk youth. Dolly Parton opened up Dollywood to help her county thrive. Bill Gates helps people living in poverty around the world, Russell Wilson paid weekly visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital while living in Washington and Oprah Winfrey support girls and education in underdeveloped countries.
People who live for something greater than themselves prosper.
8. THEY PRACTICE A POSITIVE MINDSET
As a person thinks, so they become. Successful people know that disciplining thoughts is a secret to success. They recognize and call out limiting beliefs, reject thoughts that place them as a victim and hunt the good, making gratitude a value and practice.
Every feeling and action flows from a thought. Successful people know that a positive mindset will lead to better relationships, more opportunity and growth.
GET MY PERSONAL DAILY DOZEN CHECKLIST
Most days I have twelve habits I practice that help me be successful in my life. You can download the list and use it to help you make positive decisions that move you forward.
Like I said earlier, the brain would rather not think too hard. It likes to be bossed around! This takes the guess work out of powerful daily habits. You simply plan to do them and check them off. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll gain important ground through these small habits.
Habits are most successful when we have systems in place (like using the Daily Dozen checklist) that ensure the success of those actions we want to implement. James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, is a must-read for creating systems that work.
Change takes time. We won’t hit these every single day, but we can do them MOST days, and that adds up to big dividends over time. This is what sets successful people apart.
And YOU are one of these successful people!