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Published on January 27, 2020

8 Daily Habits of the Successful People (Which Are Rare)

8 Daily Habits of the Successful People (Which Are Rare)

I wrote an article on how to stop bad habits. The aim was to help you enhance your creative thinking, productivity, and establish a work-life balance as well as achieve mental health.

However, once you have broken bad habits, there is a need for you to learn and imbibe the habits of the successful people, which the rest of the world doesn’t have. This is crucial as it will propel you to superstardom and guide you on the road to success. But first, you must define what success is to you.

To some, it is making more money, getting promoted at work, or becoming more influential. While to others, success is learning as well as upskilling, making progress on a career and in business.

As soon as you are clear on the definition of success, it is crucial to learn and practice the habits of successful people.

Here are 8 daily habits of the successful people:

1. Read Extensively

One common habit most successful people possess can be found in the library. Have you found a leader who does not read? Every reader leads. Reading is one of the notable habits of the successful people.

P.J Worsfold, the head of product division for FTSY or footsy, an AI-powered platform that matches people to shoes that properly fit them said he spends an hour after dinner to digest information about relevant industries, pop culture, and current events.

Reading is an avenue to sneak peek into the minds of great and successful individuals, visit locations that you may never reach physical and improve yourself in every aspect of life.

2. Work Out

Bill Gates founded Microsoft and he is one of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. He has given charitable courses via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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So what does Bill Gates do daily that the rest of the World is not doing?

He was known to work out on the treadmill back in 2008 after waking up. He combines that with watching videos from the Teaching Company series of Great courses according to a report by the Business Insider.[1]

Every successful people knows that it takes a great body to hold a strong mind. Success requires mental fitness.

Tom Carley, in his book, Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, stated that 76 per cent of the rich population exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes daily. Most of them attribute their success and happiness to physical fitness.

Mark Zuckerberg is a 35 years old billionaire with a worth of over $72 billion. He says,[2]

“I ensure I work out at least three times every week-first thing in the morning.”

3. Eliminate Fear

Fear is a great threat to success. You cannot achieve remarkable results without courage.

Do you know Warren Buffet used to be afraid of public speaking to the extent that he fell ill and even talked about it in an interview? He was anxious about delivering speeches in high school and during his university days. He revealed that he dropped out of a course on public speaking and avoided presenting by all means and at all costs.

So how did Warren overcome his fear of public speaking and won an award of completion of the course?

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Here are Warren Buffet’s habits on gaining your confidence in public speaking.

  • Take small steps to improve.
  • Re-frame your nerve endings as a positive reaction to opportunities.
  • Rehearse like it’s the real deal

He took a teaching position, having completed his public speaking course to maintain his posture or risk drifting backwards.[3]

4. Never Give Up

Successful people understand that tough times expire. When you hear the names of successful people like Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba and Elon Musk, you may not believe they went through a hard time.

Musk was not only bullied at school, but he was also fired from Paypal. Yet, he was not discouraged. His company, Tesla, recently became the most valuable company in America as it is now $2.1billlion richer according to Forbes.[4]

Harvard rejected Jack Ma for about ten times as his idea of escrow payment was not accepted. He was also rejected as a job candidate at KFC. Yet, he became one of the wealthiest personalities in China and the world.[5]

Here’s a takeaway from me:

“If you find yourself in a trying situation, you may change your goals, but you must not give up. Every success story comes with sacrifice. Never give up!”

5. Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish!

When Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started what would be known as Apple today in his parents’ garage, nobody knew that the giant step of 1976 would become formidable and relevant in this century. A significant setback for Steve was when the board of directors forced him out of his company in 1985 as they did not believe in his Mackintosh idea.

He slept on the floor during his tough times, and he exchanged coke bottles for meal tickets at a local Hare Krishna temple. His focus was on his vision.

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By 1985, he founded NEXT and Pixar Animation Studio in 1989 with his co-workers and friends. By 1997, Apple was about to file for bankruptcy. Jobs was invited for the negotiation of purchasing NEXT and this led him to return as the CEO of Apple. The company regained profitability in less than a year. He shared his success habit at the Stanford University Convocation Speech in 2005- Stay Hungry, Stay foolish.[6]

6. Jot Down Notes

You could imagine the jam-packed schedule of Bill Gates. Notwithstanding, he keeps track of every idea and plan by jotting down notes. Another successful billionaire that shares the same habit is Richard Brandson. Richard is a heavy note-taker. Richard and Gates both spoke at a conference in London.

While Gates was making the closing remark, he pulled out some pieces of paper from his pocket. The notes were scribbled on some paper he had kept in his pocket, according to Richard Branson. Richard attributed the habits of the successful people to this simple habit of jotting down notes.[7]

7. Plan Every Minute

Bill Gates is one of the posters for success when it comes to time management. Telegraph reported that he broke his schedule into five minutes intervals.

And guess what? Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, does the same. Every minute is carefully planned. He does not believe in procrastination. He shared the same philosophy on time management with Warren Buffet:

“Time is the only asset that money can’t buy.”

You can buy all the assets in the world but you can’t purchase more time. Successful people have the habit of making every minute count.

So let’s talk about you! Do you leave the next thing for later? Do you do what comes by, or you have your time scheduled?

Bill Gates and every successful people maximize their time.[8]

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“Anything that wastes your time wastes your golden opportunity to become successful.”

8. Share

Sharing includes charitable giving or sharing of ideas. Giving is another common habit that most successful people have in common. They understand the significance of giving. They believe that:

“Life is not in duration, but a donation.”

Bill and Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah Winfrey and Serena Williams are some of the successful givers. Recently, Serena ended a three years title drought and donated her winnings of about $43,000 to the victims of Australia fire.[9]

You don’t need too much money before you can donate, you can start with what you have. You can volunteer to teach orphans or provide help for communities recovering from a volcanic eruption in the Philippines.

An impact should be a result of success and not only wealth accumulation.

The Bottom Line

Habits, be it good or bad, are what make or mar the success of any individual. If you want to become successful, you only need to break the bad habits and reinforce the habits of the successful people that I have shared so far so good.

It takes consistent effort and routine to succeed. It may require more skills and consistent practice, but success is inevitable.

More Habits of Highly Successful People

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

The Lifehack Show: The Importance of Leadership (No Matter Who You Are) with Michael Bianco-Splann What Is Speed Reading and How to Successfully Learn It How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World 50 Habits of Highly Successful People You Should Learn Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It)

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Published on February 17, 2020

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals in a Distracting World

In this digital era, distractions can seem impossible to avoid. Just figuring out how to stay focused on your goals and ambitions can feel as difficult as actually achieving them.

These days, constant distractions can lead to a massive loss in productivity.

Statistics show that employees, on average, waste 28% of their time dealing with and trying to recover from unnecessary interruptions.[1]

And that’s at work, where you’re paid to be productive, and where some of us are monitored too much or too closely for comfort.

So, one can only imagine how much time is lost or wasted when we are left to our own devices.

A World of Distractions

Speaking of devices, how many times have you grabbed your cell phone at the very moment you hear a notification, wasting precious time scrolling through social media when you should be using that time working on your goals?

I can bet a lot.

But we’ve all been there.

Sometimes, even with the best of intentions and efforts to stay on task, we still find ourselves being chronically distracted.

Chances are you’ll be interrupted before you can even finish reading this article.

The reality is as undeniable as it is unavoidable: we live in a world full of distractions!

But how can you take back control of your time and attention to avoid these distractions and learn how to stay focused on your goals?

There are several strategies for overcoming distractions and reclaiming your focus, such as avoiding social media, prioritizing emails, meditation and more.

You can read about them in detail in our article, How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide).

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Some of these methods have been discussed ad nauseam. But one method in particular hasn’t been talked about enough.

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals

Your Environment Is a Major Factor

Whether we want to admit it or not, all of us are mostly a product of our environment. Our environment impacts us far more than we realize.

It’s made of a multitude of things, from the space we live and work in, to the people we spend the most time with, to the things we read, listen to, and watch, to even our profiles on social media, and more.

All of these elements of our surroundings influence our focus, thoughts, mindset, belief systems, and the goals and standards we set for ourselves. They all serve as triggers for certain behaviors, tendencies, and moods. That’s how many of our habits are formed.

We’ll always take on aspects of the environments we continually place ourselves in.

Willpower and Motivation Is a Broken Approach

What a lot of people have gotten wrong about trying to achieve their goals is that they often focus only on what needs to be done and how to get it done – outcomes and willpower.

Many think that willpower and motivation in their own right determine success.

While both are great and necessary virtues to have to navigate this increasingly difficult world, willpower is largely a short-term solution, while motivation is great to get you started but is also fleeting.

This is one of the main reasons why so many people’s New Year’s resolutions go belly-up by the end of January.

Your willpower is like a muscle, which means it’s finite and will deplete with use. [2]

Using the willpower approach to stay focused on goals centers on increasing personal efforts to overcome the environment, not on modifying or changing the environment.

The harsh reality is that your environment is more powerful than your internal resolve. No matter how much discipline you have, eventually, you’ll succumb to your environment despite your greatest efforts.

Setting Yourself up for Success

In an environment that’s incompatible with your goals, its negative influence will sabotage your success.

On the other hand, a compatible environment is one of the most important strategies you can utilize to stay focused on achieving your goals.

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Creating an environment that is conducive to success will trigger your desired behaviors and, most importantly, will decrease distractions.

Inevitability Thinking

In fact, productivity expert Eben Pagan believes that designing the right environment will create conditions that make it impossible for you not to achieve your goals.

The multi-millionaire, entrepreneur, and investor regards this as the next evolution of goal-setting that will move us away from focusing on willpower and outcomes.

He calls this concept “Inevitability Thinking,” which is thinking and acting as if what you are doing is a foregone conclusion because you set up the conditions for it to happen.

What he means by “setting up the conditions for success” is designing an environment that’s conducive to you achieving your goals.

Building Your Environment

World-renowned leadership coach and author Dr. Marshall Goldsmith believes if a person doesn’t create and control their environment, then it will create and control them.

He suggests having a vision of achieving the goals you want to accomplish. Then, think about designing the structure of your environment, your situation, or your organization in a way that would organically bring that vision to life.

“If [you] can design your life [and] behaviors well, [you] don’t need to rely on willpower.” – BJ Fogg, Social Science Research Associate, Stanford [3]

“But I’m not a designer,” you might be thinking.

Don’t get intimidated, it can be done – by you or anyone! Designing or modifying your environment so you can better stay focused on your goals is not like designing spaceships – it’s not rocket science.

Here is how to make it happen.

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals: Designing Your Environment

1. Find the Environment That Supports Achieving Your Goals

Real progress occurs when we fully understand and align with what, whom, and where best support our goals.

So, the next time you’re in your environment, whether at or outside of work, try to pay attention to how you feel while you’re there. Note if that feeling changes when you leave that environment.

Examine your surroundings. Look at all the infrastructure and ask yourself these simple questions:

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  • Am I in an environment that’s conducive to me achieving my goals?
  • Is it detrimental to me maintaining my focus on my goals?
  • Is it on par with people who have already achieved what I want to achieve?

Also, examine your lifestyle and habits. Are you placing yourself in environments and situations that spark personal growth?

If the answers to these questions are anything but a definite and resounding yes, then you should seriously consider modifying or completely changing your surroundings.

The more you understand yourself, the more aware you’ll be of the environment that’s most likely to help you stay focused on your goals.

2. Let Your Goals, Not Distractions, Distract You

If you constantly lose focus on your goals, you pretty much render them useless. Distractions and interruptions are the biggest culprits of losing your focus.

One of the most practical ways to maintain focus is to allow your goals to constantly distract you.

You’ll inevitably lose focus from time to time. But you can limit the number of times it happens and the duration by facilitating your goals to distract you back to your focus.

Now, how do you do that?

It’s simple: make visual cues.

There’s a saying that if you don’t see it, you’ll probably forget it. Science agrees; the eyes hold the majority of sensory receptors in the human body. Therefore, the eye is a major component of focus.

The following cues are simply things that will trigger you to focus or refocus your attention back onto your goals.

What type to use will largely depend on what works for you, but below are a few common ones:

  • Tape your task list or habit tracker to your desk or onto your refrigerator at home.
  • Hang motivational posters at frequently visited sections of your house or workspace.
  • Post-Its – write your goals in a one or two-word phrase on them and stick where you’re sure to see them.
  • Set cues to constantly remind you to stick with your productive habits.
  • Digital devices – alter the screensavers of your computer, smartphones, tablets, or any other digital device you use regularly to display something about your goal.

Read more about how to stay focused on your goals: How to Create an Action Plan and Achieve Your Personal Goals

3. Modify Your Inner Circle

Multiple studies have proven that our mindset, behaviors, and motivations are largely influenced by our peer group. Therefore, the people in our lives have an enormous impact on our ability to reach our goals.

“You are the average of the five people you associate with most…” – Tim Ferriss [4]

Since people have such a significant influence on the direction of your entire life, if you’re really serious about achieving your goals, you may have to adjust your inner circle. This is where designing or modifying your environment for success becomes tricky.

Unlike upgrading your iPhone, changing the makeup of your inner circle can be a lot more complex.

One of the most difficult things to do in life is to sever ties with friends, especially against their will, even if it’s for the betterment of the self.

It will likely foster resentment because it will require you to betray the very virtue that served as the keystone of the friendship in the first place: loyalty.

But we must remember that above all else, when we set important personal goals, we must be loyal to ourselves if we are to achieve them. Loyalty to friends, family, or even to your spouse that is detrimental to your success in life will only slow your growth.

By consciously deciding whom you want in your inner circle, you are taking control of the ultimate direction of your life.

4. Change Your Environment Completely

This method is the most extreme, but it can also be the most effective.

While modifying your environment for it to become less distracting is ideal, sometimes it’s just not enough. Certain elements in your environment, such as your social circle, are harder than others to modify. In fact, some elements that are nearly impossible to adjust.

There are times when these elements are so out of your control that the only thing you can do to stay focused on your goals is to make more radical and thorough changes. This can mean changing your environment completely.

Here are some examples of changes you could try to make (only if necessary):

  1. Change your physical possessions (ex.: get rid of your TV)
  2. Create a new virtual set-up (online)
  3. Change your physical workspace (work, home, co-working, cafes, etc.)
  4. Join a new social group
  5. Change locations (home, co-working space, café, etc.)
  6. Change jobs or switch branches
  7. Drop distracting friends or family from your inner circle.
  8. Change your spouse
  9. Move to a different country

Of course, these are some extreme steps to take. So, only resort to these if you have tried everything else to stay focused on your goals but are still unsuccessful.

Conclusion

If you’re struggling to figure out how to stay focused on your goals, it’s a lot harder to make a significant, lasting change without altering some elements of your environment.

By taking control of the set-up of your environment, you can influence your levels of motivation, enthusiasm, drive, and desire towards the goals you have set.

Optimizing your environment creates powerful conscious and subconscious motivators that make staying focused on your goals easier. And for many of us, easier is always better.

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More Tips on Goal Setting

Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Information Overload Research Group: The Cost of Not Paying Attention – How Interruptions Impact Knowledge Worker Productivity
[2] American Psychological Association Study: Willpower, choice, and self-control
[3] BJ Fogg on Twitter: @bjfogg
[4] GoodReads: Timothy Ferriss: Quotable Quotes

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