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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 July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, 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.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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