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3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently

3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently

Are you already wavering on your New Year’s resolutions? It’s okay, you’re not alone. If you want 2017 to be the year that your resolutions stick, you are going to need some proven routines to keep you going. Where better to look than at the habits of highly successful people?

We all know the typical things that successful people do differently – wake up early, set goals, network – but what does the next level of successful behavior look like? No matter whether your passion is baking or real estate, everyone has something that they strive to be successful at. While there is no one defined behavior for successful people, anyone who has spent extensive amounts of time reading interviews of and articles by successful people can agree that there are similar attitudes and behaviors that they possess. There are universal traits and practices that are common to all successful people, regardless of their background and field of influence.

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If you want to create a culture of success in your life, here are the most common and effective habits of successful people to get you started:

1. They set daily goals.

Most successful people attest to the fact that they do not simply wake up to an agenda filled with random activities. Instead, most successful people come up with large, long-term goals. American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, for example, states that “at the beginning of each year, I set the key priorities and key objectives”.[1] These priorities and objectives are a part of a larger, long-term vision, and are easily achievable when broken down into smaller pieces. Every day, then, successful people take the initiative to set themselves small, daily goals that contribute to the priorities, objectives, and long-term vision. They then plan their day ahead of time to ensure that they have activities and appointments planned that address each of their goals.

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2. They take care of themselves first.

The most valuable resource you have is yourself. Successful people, especially those in the service industry, understand that they need to continually work on their personal brand and physical appearance. They also understand that their social life is as important as their finances and, as such, set aside enough time for leisure activities with friends and family. They know when to stop working. They also know that their bodies need good food, hydration, rest, and sleep. On top of physical maintenance, they look out for experiences and relationships that will enhance their lives. They read widely from good authors and engage in positive conversations. They understand that you cannot change the world if you have not taken care of yourself first.

The concept of remembering to attend to one’s own needs is captured by the term self-care. It was coined by and remains a pillar of the work that mental health professionals do every day. There are countless resources that uphold the importance of the practice as well as provide resources in its pursuit. If you are unsure of where to start, I recommend an interactive self-care flowchart by Jace Harr entitled, “You Feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide”.[2] It walks the user through his or her needs, beginning with the most basic. As the landing page asserts, it is designed “for people who struggle with self-care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals”.[3] It is a simple, straightforward, and effective first step at attending to yourself when you are not feeling your best.

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3. They meditate.

This may seem trivial to many people, especially given the number of things vying for our attention these days. However, successful people always make time to meditate. What they do during this quiet time varies by personal preference and time of day. If it is the end of a busy day, they might take time to reflect on their goals, as well as the day that has passed, their achievements and failures, the status of their personal relationships, and their spirituality. The successful people who do this understand that when so much is going on and you do not have time to reflect, it is easy to miss out on the lessons. Since they are continually seeking ways to improve themselves, they take time to reflect on their strengths and areas for growth. If they are feeling particularly drained or negative, they might use the quiet time for positive self-talk. Other times, if they are feeling particularly stressed or overworked, they might choose to focus on their breath and enjoy ten minutes of not thinking at all.

If you are interested in starting a practice but unsure of where to begin, there are many forms of support out there for you, beginning with the mogul Oprah Winfrey. She is a huge proponent of meditation, stating that it has shifted her life in ways that she never imagined. She is such a firm believer in the practice that she has instituted a period of “Quiet Time” twice a day in her network offices.[4] For those of you who do not work for Oprah, she has collaborated with spiritual guide Deepak Chopra to create a number of free 21-day guided meditations. There are others with free meditations available, including Tara Brach. If you prefer music or silence, there are free apps available that help you to time and keep track of your meditation sessions.

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While there is no script that successful people follow, there are traits that are common amongst them. If you are seeking practices that will give you a boost in your productivity and overall success in life, consider the importance of goal-setting, self-care, and meditation. Make each of these practices a pattern of behavior and you will surely be on the road to success.

Wheeler del Torro is a nutritional anthropologist and author. His most recent book, Boss Up!, provides a step-by-step guide to creating a powerful executive presence in order to be perceived as a leader and reap the benefits that go along with it. When he is not researching, lecturing, or hosting popups, Wheeler is out setting the next culinary trend.

Featured photo credit: Shuttershock via workitdaily.com

Reference

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Wheeler del Torro

Nutritional Anthropologist

3 Unique Things That Successful People Do Differently

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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