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Every day, you see “Cinderella stories” about successful people and their accomplishments. You think, “wow, they’re so lucky!” or “if only I __________, I could do that too!”
NOPE. Wrong way to go about this, sorry!
OR Maybe you think, “I wonder what they did to get there.”
Okay, I see you – now you’re on the right track.
If you really want to level up, you should start asking yourself not about what they DID to get there, as if it was a one-and-done situation. Because it’s not (unless they won the lottery.. but then, are they really successful, or just f**king lucky??).
What you need to ask yourself is:
What do successful people do EVERY DAY?
Figure it out, then copy that sh*t! There’s no rule that says you have to be completely original in every aspect of your life.
We’d all be eating weird ass meals every day if that were the case, am I right?
Yes, originality has its place, and is incredibly important in many facets of life… BUT
You’re absolutely allowed to figure out what routines, habits, and mindsets work for other people, adopt them, and adapt them to fit your circumstances.
Then rock the socks off of what ever project, goal, job, or pursuit you’re after!!!!
Now that you feel better about copying brilliant people (their habits, not their work, of course!), let me lay it out for you. Without further adieu, here are,
15 Habits of Highly Successful People
1. Work With the End In Mind
Successful people have goals, sure. But it’s more than that.
Every. Single. Thing. They do is in service of those goals.
Their life has a purpose, and they’re out to achieve that purpose.
How does this help them? I’m glad you asked!
Highly successful people don’t waste time. They don’t spend precious hours of their days trying to decide what to do, or if doing something is worth their time.
They probably wake up with goals for the day, and set out to accomplish them. If not, they have overarching goals for their lives, years, months, weeks, days, etc – and they simply ask themselves “is doing ______ in service of my goal?” each time they are presented with an opportunity.
This laser focus means the majority of their time, energy, money, and other resources are all working toward that goal as well.
Their success doesn’t seem so surprising or lucky now, does it?
2. Wake Up Early
I know, I know. I HATE waking up early, too. I’m simply not a morning person.
Instead, I’m a night person. Day after day, I’m convinced that I can get so much done at night . . . until I don’t.
Sometimes I’ll be just plain worn-out from working all day.
Maybe that margarita or glass of wine at dinner pushed me right over into sleepy-town. Perhaps I simply want to spend time with my loved ones or park it in front of the TV.
No matter the circumstance way – productivity isn’t guaranteed to happen at night. *le sigh with me, fellow night owls
But getting up early is huge for successful people! In the still, quiet mornings, they tend to knock out those pesky tasks no one likes doing (emails, dishes, etc.), exercise, eat a healthy breakfast, and show up to work actually awake with their shirts on right-side out!
If you’re like me and straight up SLEEP THROUGH ALARMS, try this insane alarm clock. I’ve used it for years. It flashes a bright red light, wails like a fire alarm, and has a bed-vibrating function. Incredible.
Just try getting up early. Maybe for a week or two. *Don’t attempt a drastic change all at once – remember to aim for small changes over time. Setting small, attainable goals will help you with consistency and routine!
3. End Toxic Relationships
You know that one friend that never picks up the damn phone when you REALLY need to talk? Or “is busy, sorry” when you want to grab dinner.. every. single. time.?
Yeah, highly successful people don’t put up with that sh*t.
They remove toxic people from their lives.
I’m not saying you should slash you friends list, delete every number from your phone and become a friendless hermit. I’m just saying.. if there’s someone in your life who doesn’t help you, love you, care about you, or generally bring joy to your life (and you’re in a position to do so) – set them free.
Just because you’ve been friends since high school or college, or because you exchanged BFF necklaces in 4th grade doesn’t change this.
Fake friends don’t help you achieve your goals. They don’t contribute to your happiness or your well being.
The smartest people let those “friends” go.
Same goes for relationships. **If you’re married (especially with kids), you should certainly give it the old college try and attempt to make it work, yes! This doesn’t really apply to you.
But if you’re just dating someone so you don’t get lonely or bored and NOT because you love each other, treat each other with respect and kindness, and help each other achieve your goals….
Focus your time, energy, and emotional well-being on yourself, your goals, and your happiness.
4. Keep a Journal
“Dear Diary, I just can’t believe that Suzy called me a…” .. NOPE. That’s not what I’m talking about here. Incredibly successful people keep journals, but not full of venting, complaining, or fantasizing about a long-lost lover.
They journal about their goals, their strategies, their habits. What is the meaning of life? Where do they want to be in 5 years? 10 years? What do you want your obituary to say about you?
There’s truly no better way to set goals than to just put pen to paper and brainstorm- then figure out how to get sh*t done!
The smart people do this so they can get those genius ideas out on paper instead of sinking into the recesses of their mind.
They write down tangible goals to help hold themselves accountable moving forward.
Brilliant people write out their daily habits and output to look for patterns in what they want, what they do, and what they get done.
How smart is that!?
Be like them. Journal away!!
5. Say No
Saying no can be way more challenging than it sounds.
We all love to please people. We want to make the people we love and admire happy, and make them like and appreciate us.
Very often, we take on too damn much. Just because someone asks us to do something, we fold and do it. “Because I’m nice. . .” or “I just couldn’t say no.” – B.S.
You can say no.
Unless it is a life or death situation, don’t feel obligated to do literally every single thing people ask of you.
Sure, do some if you have the time, energy, money and will to do so. Help out a friend or family member. Pick up the check. Drive all the kids to practice. Help out at the bake sale. Whatever.
But if there’s something you know you simply cannot fit into your schedule without screwing up something else, or killing yourself running all over creation to get done…
Just say those 5 sweet little words:
“No, I can’t this time.” (“Sorry”- if it pleases you).
The first time or two you may feel some guilt, but after that, you’ll realize that an enormous weight has been lifted. You’re free to carry on with your regularly scheduled hectic life!
Welcome to easy street, where the smart, successful people live!
6. Eat the Frog
No, I’m not crazy OR demented. This is a real thing.
Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
What does this mean?
It means that you should do the thing that sucks the most right away and knock it out.
If that’s paying the bills, sending the email, running the mile, writing the paper, picking up the dog poop, applying to something you’re scared about, or firing a weepy underling – JUST DO IT.
The most successful people in the world target the thing that’s the biggest pain in the ass and knock it out. Then they’re free to do more pleasant tasks the rest of the day, without the looming fear or anxiety of the stupid frog hanging over them all day (week, month, year! eek!)
Now go on and do it – eat your frog!
Thank me later.
7. Make The Bed
I’m not talking “a quarter had better bounce off of that bed” perfection. That’s not necessary unless your grandma is coming to visit that day.
I just mean pull up the sheets, rearrange the pillows, and make it look relatively un-slept in. And do it first thing in the morning.
This small sense of order and achievement you get from making your bed will set you up for a successful day ahead.
I’m not going to ramble about this, instead I’ll let US Navy Admiral William McRaven tell you all about it. This is one of my favorite speeches ever.
Feeling motivated yet?? Go pull up those sheets!!
8. Exercise (preferably in the morning)
I am super guilty of this.
Exercising is difficult to fit into a busy schedule. Often, successful people feel busy – because they are! And they feel like they’re achieving things – because they are! Perhaps they’re worn out at the end of the day from all of that thinking, doing and achieving!
It’s so easy to NOT exercise… but it is so important to do it.
The most successful people make exercise a priority, because they know that taking care of your body means taking care of your mind.
Plus, all of those fun endorphins put you in a better mood, give you energy, and help with that smokin’ hot body your genius brain is rattling around in. What’s not to love?!
If you do all this in the morning, you’re knocking out several birds with one stone:
- You ate the frog – congrats! One check off on your routine list!
- You (hopefully) showered after and now you’re ready for work / school / the day
- You’re wide awake and ready for action!
- You’re probably in a great mood. Woohoo!
Everyone knows that we’re all addicted to technology. Hell, you’re scrolling through it right now!
WAIT, don’t close this just because I said to unplug! I have more to say!
Technology has its many merits, but so does going off the grid for a while! The most successful people in the world certainly take some time offline each day, even if only a few minutes.
It allows them to enjoy nature, reconnect with the world around them, maybe even come up with an original thought or two.
When’s the last time you just sat around THINKING about the answer to a burning question you had, rather than Googling it??
Probably been a while, right?
Consider taking just a bit of time off of electronics and the internet every day to reconnect with the world around you. Your spouse, kids, pets, and house plants will love you for it!
10. Ask for Help
I hate asking for help. I really do.
I fancy myself Wonder Woman, and I like to believe that I can do any damn thing I put my mind too, and I don’t need anyone’s help!
But that’s stupid. I’m 5’1″. I can’t even get groceries off the top shelf at Kroger.
I’ve finally embraced this fact, and rather than climb up the wobbly shelves that threaten to crash in a tidal wave of fruit juice, I go and find some kind looking tall person and abashedly ask for some assistance getting my favorite item that happens to be up high.
Successful people do this all the time. (But they’re not stubborn idiots about it like me.) They ask for help with ideas, execution, staying on track, maybe even financial help.
The most successful ones ask for help when they feel overwhelmed. (And trust me, this happens a lot).
They realize that humans are strong and brilliant, but we’re so much better when we work together. We can achieve so much more this way.
Relationships and working with others are some of the most rewarding experiences we have as humans – so why fight it when you need or want help?
11. Ditch the Clutter
Successful people are often minimalists. (Not always! I said often.). It’s because, just like they’re laser-focused in their intents and actions, they’re laser focused about the things they keep.
That old (ugly) trinket that their college roommate’s mom’s cousin gave them once?? It’s gone.
The magazine they read last week? GONE.
Clothes they no longer wear? GONE GONE GONE.
Not only do they greatly value the things they do have – but successful people are clutter-free for another reason, too.
They don’t want to waste their time cleaning and looking for sh*t.
Successful people don’t stare at a huge closet full of crap that doesn’t fit them or went out of style 10 years ago.
They have go-to items front and center. They shower, grab them, get dressed, and hit the road to tackle the REAL tasks of the day.
A clutter free life is an efficient life.
12. Make Time For Yourself
You can’t continue to fill other’s tanks if your own tank is empty. Sure, you can pretend for a while, but it’s not real, and it certainly won’t last.
You’ve gotta take some time for yourself. If that means binge watching something stupid on Netflix all weekend, taking a nap, getting your nails done, beard trimmed, going on a walk, or a vacation – do it.
Successful people have figured this important secret of life out already. . . are you ready for it?
Say it with me:
Taking time for yourself doesn’t make you selfish.
One more time.
You’re not selfish if you spend time, money, or energy doing what you want and need to do for yourself.
No matter who you are, you have to have time to unwind, empty your mind and let everything go. You need to laugh, relax, explore, exercise, sleep, veg – whatever moves (or, more accurately SETTLES) your soul. Please. Do it.
Here are 60 ways to start taking care of yourself TODAY!
13. Persevere & Embrace Failure
Do you think that highly successful people have simply gotten everything they wanted on the first try… their entire lives?
Newsflash, they haven’t. Highly successful people all around the world make mistakes Every. Single. Day. Lots of them.
The difference between the highly successful people and the, um.. less than highly successful people is that they PERSEVERE. They don’t give up.
No matter the setback, they push on. And on and on and on, until it works out for them – whatever “it” is.
“If you have the guts to keep making mistakes, your wisdom and intelligence leap forward with huge momentum.” – Holly Near
And not only do they just keep going – they embrace the failure. Highly successful people don’t try the same thing over and over again if it doesn’t work- they adapt, make changes, and attack it from a different angle.
They know that failure is only temporary. They learn from it and get better.
They’re stronger than failure.
14. Stay Organized
Successful people typically have a lot on their plates – often more than the rest of us. But that doesn’t give them a free pass to be slobs, miss meetings, or lose sight of their goals.
Successful people go the extra mile to stay organized.
Often, they keep long-term calendars, lists, and goal charts to keep them on track and not get bogged down by the daily minutia.
Some use bullet journals, others use calendars – physical or on their phones, some have a little notebook in their pocket ALL. THE. TIME. with phone numbers, dates, reminders, goals, and ideas.
15. Follow a Routine
Highly successful people nearly always have a strict routine they follow!
As you’ve learned, it probably includes:
- Waking up Early
- Making the Bed
- Taking Time for Yourself
. . .amongst other things. They may even have a specific schedule down to the hour, half hour, or *gasp* QUARTER HOUR!
Whatever they do, though – they stick to it.
One tough day, a menacing donut, or Netflix can’t throw off their groove! They’ve got a routine that reinforces good habits, health, cleanliness, organization, and goal setting.
Every day, they know exactly what they’re going to do.
They don’t waste any time.
They just get straight to freaking work and get sh*t done.
So go be like them. Get sh*t done too! I believe in you!
So Now What?
What will you do with all of this information? You know all about highly successful people and what they do each and every day.
Meaning . . . *drumroll* . . . you know how to be successful too!
So go DO THE THING! Get after it.
There’s no need to go trying to implement all 13 of these habits all at once. Your day will be consumed with trying to do them, rather than focused on YOUR goals.
Just try a few at a time, and add in the others as you go!
You can pin this or bookmark the page to come back to each time you’re ready to adopt another habit!
Leave a comment below and let me know which habits YOU do every day that contribute to your success!
remember: Make Good Life Choices!
Save it for later!