12 Daily Habits That Successful People Have In Common
Sometimes the direction of your entire life will hinge on a single decision. But most of the time, it’s the smaller stuff that matters most. The things you do every day not only determine the quality of your life, they shape your choices when those big-decision moments roll around.
From mental health to career opportunities, here’s how tweaking your routine now can lead to big gains in the future.
Setting early deadlines
To paraphrase Jeremy Irons’ character in Margin Call, there are three ways to succeed in business: be first, be smarter, or cheat. And unless you were gifted with extraordinary brainpower and a lack of scruples, it’s just so much easier to be first.
To this end, always set yourself “imaginary” deadlines ahead of the actual deadlines. This applies to everything from getting to work, to submitting reports, to waking up in the morning.
If you’re not early, you’re potentially late.
Writing everything down
A common habit of highly successful people, regular note-taking is an awesome thing to get into. It helps you organise your thoughts, prioritise tasks, and capture information for later review.
For best results, stick to pen and paper; when you write things by hand, you’re much more likely to internalise the information than if you had typed it out on your phone or laptop. Keeping a notepad and pen on you might seem a little dorky, but it’s a small price to pay when you consider the benefits.
Speaking of writing things down, if there’s one financial habit you should make stick, it’s recording your spending.
Even if you’re just recording dollar amounts across broad categories – food, fuel, entertainment, clothes – and putting it in a simple diary, having insight into your spending habits is a huge part of the personal finance puzzle. It will train you to think about your spending, and allow you to identify problem areas should you decide to cut back.
Eating at home
This is a big one for both health and wealth. No matter which way you slice it, preparing your own meals is both cheaper and more nutritious than eating out.
If you’re not exactly a MasterChef, don’t despair. Start with simple dishes like scrambled eggs, or even just adding some sautéed meat and veggies to two-minute noodles. You have your entire life to get better at this.
Consuming books and articles on a wide variety of topics not only improves your English and comprehension skills, it will broaden your mental horizons and make you a hero on trivia nights.
Plus, if you habitually spend more time reading than you do watching TV, you’re more likely to be wealthy, possess greater emotional intelligence, and experience slower memory decline as you age.
We don’t have to go into this – you know why exercise is good for you. Even if it’s just a thirty-minute bodyweight routine in the living room, daily exercise is one of the cornerstone habits for long-term health and happiness.
Benefits include reduced risk of injury and chronic pain, improved posture, and even a boost to mental health. These benefits will in turn reduce your overall medical costs.
Plus, you’ll be thankful for those ten-minute sessions on the yoga mat when you’re approaching fifty and your joints are still loose and limber.
Reviewing your goals
While some people wait for January 1st to start making changes in their lives, the highly successful tend to go over their objectives at the start of every month, every week, and every day.
Making small but regular course corrections is way easier than having to pull a one-eighty every twelve months or so. Taking a little time each morning to consider how the day’s activities will service your larger ambitions can make all the difference.
Being social has all kinds of long-term benefits, including better mental and, strangely enough, physical health. It also exposes you to countless opportunities, from expanding your professional network to meeting someone special.
Water might not be the wrinkle-reducing, skin-detoxifying miracle fluid it’s often cracked up to be, but regular hydration is still essential for short- and long-term health.
Not only is it necessary for physical exercise, good hydration has been shown to reduce the risk of several chronic illnesses, as well as headaches and migraines. Drinking water throughout the day will also tend to suppress your appetite – useful if you’re trying to drop weight.
Mindfulness is essentially getting your brain in the habit of focusing on one thing at a time, a skill that smartphones and the internet have made pretty uncommon. It’s good for your mood, productivity, and clarity of thought.
If you think you’re behind the mindfulness curve, you don’t have to jump into meditation straight away. There are plenty of ways to be mindful besides the traditional methods.
Practicing gratitude has been shown to reduce stress, improve sleep, and bolster self-esteem. It’s also a pretty solid way to curb impulse spending. The easiest way to do this is to take some time each day to write down three things you’re grateful for.
It’s not just writing things down, though. Take the time to actually enjoy the things in your life. Make a list of your unread books, break out your old board games when you have friends over, take a few minutes each week to polish your favourite shoes. You’ll feel richer every day.
Joel Svensson is a Canberra-based writer originally from Melbourne. He’s written more latté-fuelled stories about first-world problems than he cares to admit, and can be found coping with misleading hashtags at @le0jay.