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9 Strong Mental Habits That Successful People Never Give Up

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9 Strong Mental Habits That Successful People Never Give Up

For most people, success in any endeavor is not an overnight phenomenon but is achieved through years of consistent effort and the development of strong mental practices. Along the way, we (hopefully) pick up good habits and drop the bad. Sometimes, though, knowing when to hold onto a habit that others might see as a negative can lead to success. For instance, the most accomplished among us almost always strive to adhere to the following mental habits.

1. Please Others

Successful people know that in order to get where they want to be, they need to get things done for others. In fact, you could make a good argument that wanting to help people is a requirement for true success, but it’s also a dangerous personality quality. If you try to please everyone all the time, you will become completely overwhelmed and unable to get accomplish anything. The most successful people know that saying “no” all the time is not the answer, though. Instead, they look for ways to get to “yes” that benefit all parties and help prioritize their work.

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2. Keep Their Options Open

While successful people are decisive and move steadfastly toward their goals, most of them avoid choices which limit future options. Modern life continues to move faster by the day, and new possibilities, opportunities, and even social standards arise all the time. None of us can afford to create boundaries that are so stiff we can’t adapt when necessary.

3. Listen Before Speaking Their Minds

Successful people are bold, but they know railroading every conversation is a quick way to end cooperation. We all need the help of other people in order to be truly successful, and one of the best ways to form alliances is to listen to what those around you are saying. Show them you understand their point of view with your responses, and they will be much more likely to hear out your opinion, too.

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4. Target Small Successes

Failure is a necessary part of ultimate success for most people, but bombing at regular intervals can kill your motivation and encourage you to abandon your dreams. Successful people set themselves up for victory by establishing many ambitious short-term goals on their path to whatever they see as their big prize. By consistently challenging themselves and achieving tougher and tougher objectives, they build confidence and move closer to their ideals.

5. Exercise Caution When Necessary

Fear of failure or embarrassment can paralyze even the most ambitious among us, but a healthy respect for the unknown and potential danger can save us from disaster. Successful people are not afraid of taking risks, but only after they have weighed possible pitfalls.

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6. Dwell on the Negative

Negative thoughts don’t make anyone feel good, but successful people realize that the shadow of potential failure lurks behind every new opportunity. By spending at least as much time and energy working through what might go wrong as what is likely to go right, they are able to dramatically improve their chances of long-term victory.

7. Have Multiple Projects Going

Multitasking has developed a bad reputation over the last few years, and for good reason since it’s really hard to do two things well at the exact same time. But that really only applies to what’s happening right now — can you read this article AND count to 100 at the same time without either one suffering, for example?

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Most of us are capable of working on multiple undertakings during the course of a day or week with no ill effects, and it’s a tactic that successful people use to become even more accomplished. They focus all their efforts on reaching the top of their field, but they line up numerous projects all aimed at that ultimate target. The variety keeps them fresh, and the multi-pronged attack keeps them moving forward.

8. Seek Ideas from Others

When we were in school, asking for input from other kids was a natural way to make decisions and get things done. Group thinking usually dictated what games we played and how we approached class projects. As we get older and assume more responsibility, though, most of us close off this avenue of fresh ideas in order to protect our turf and guard against credit for good work going to someone else. Successful people, however, know that collaboration is a key to really big accomplishments, and they never stop looking for external inspiration and help.

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9. Stay Stressed

Stress is the “silent killer” that can wreak havoc on your health, but successful people have learned how to use it to their advantage. They realize that hardly anything worthwhile ever gets done at a leisurely pace, and the pressure to perform is a powerful motivator. The most accomplished among us thrive on deadlines and outdoing their previous best efforts, over and over again. By applying stress from the inside out and latching onto these other “negative” habits, they leave 99% of us in their dust.

Featured photo credit: Eneas via flickr.com

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Adam Hughes

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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