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10 Simple Things Successful People Do To Achieve Great Things in Life

10 Simple Things Successful People Do To Achieve Great Things in Life

When we think about the lives of successful people, we always wonder, what could have they done differently? How did they live each day? They say success is a mixture of hard work, perseverance, and desire. To achieve all your aspirations, you have to put in your best effort. To surmount all the challenges that come your way, you have to know how to persevere. And to make everything worth your while, you need to desire whatever it is that you do.

Many  researchers who have studied the lives of successful people have found similar patterns in their habits and perspectives that could have contributed to their success. The following are 10 simple things successful people do every day to achieve their goals in life:

1. They do the most important things early in the morning

Successful people set their first hours of the day to work on the top priority activities. They discipline themselves to wake up early and follow a healthy morning routine. According to Roy F. Baumeister, a social psychologist, and professor of psychology at Florida State University, “willpower is a limited resource and it gets depleted as people perform various acts of self-control throughout the day.”

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You don’t have the same willpower and clarity in the evenings as you do in the mornings. Mornings are the best time to focus because it is in the early mornings when we have a fresh supply of willpower. It is also in the mornings where we may tend to feel more energized, fresh, and optimistic.

2. They follow routines

A morning jog after a cup of coffee. Sunday movie time after dinner with family. Routines make up the lives of successful people. While it does sound fun to spend each day spontaneously, successful people save time and energy by reducing decision-making through incorporating simple routines. For example, instead of thinking what to cook and eat for each meal, successful people create meal plans that last for the entire week.

3. They make lists

Whether it’s digital or on paper successful people like to make lists. They like to make lists of their goals, tasks, and a list of improvements. How can you surpass yourself and do better if you don’t keep track of your progress? How will you create a second plan of action if you fail the first time without some form of record to review your efforts? Successful people like to review their lists to see how far they’ve come or how well they’ve gone in accomplishing what they were supposed to do.

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4. They know how to spend money to make money

Successful people are not insanely frugal. They know exactly when to cut expenses and when to invest for a big return. People who are looking to increase their revenue think they will save more by cutting expenses all the time, but as it turns out, the best opportunities to earn more come from investing and putting your money out for profit. By spending money to make more money, successful people increase their income and savings.

5. They keep learning

Successful people never stop learning. They try to squeeze out as many life lessons as possible in every experience they get. They also make use of their free time well by reading, watching the news, or attending seminars that widen their knowledge.

6. They treasure great friends

Every successful person understands the importance of networking. They like to connect and befriend people in their community, work group, or industry. They treasure their connections well and value every opportunity as it arrives.

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7. They take good care of their health

You can’t enjoy the fruits of your success if you’re always sick. Successful people take good care of their health by maintaining a balanced lifestyle. This includes eating healthy, giving themselves time to relax and making sure they get the right amount of exercise every day.

8. They engage in productive hobbies

Successful people take hobbies that get their mind off work. Whether it’s painting, writing, or golfing, they make sure that time spent will be fun and engaging. These hobbies not only provide entertainment, they also contribute to the well-being of the person.

9. They live their schedule

Successful people know the value of time and how important it is to their own success. They follow their schedules by heart and make sure that every commitment gets done exactly on the exact hour. When plotting their schedules, they make sure it’s realistic and doable.

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10. They learn from failures

Successful people don’t repeatedly bash their heads at the same mistake. They acknowledge their mistake, plan a better action, and triumph on their next try. Failures never discourage them but only foster their will and passion to do it right the second time.

As Winston Churchill says “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm”.

Featured photo credit: Allef Vinicius via images.unsplash.com

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Armela Escalona

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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