Published on December 17, 2020

15 Simple Habits That Will Make You Successful

15 Simple Habits That Will Make You Successful

The conventional wisdom of success that relies on willpower, motivation, and forcing ourselves to change tends to be ineffective at best and downright wrong at worst. Instead, what if you could move towards your goals with small, simple habits designed to make you successful every day?

The great news is that you can.

While most of us are taught to use willpower to achieve goals, research by Roy Baumeister of Florida State deemed it to be a finite resource. In other words, it runs out surprisingly quickly.[1]

However, humans are designed to combat our limited willpower through habit formation. By doing so, you can start today by incorporating small, simple habits that are easy to do. In this article, you’re going to learn 15 simple habits that will make you successful and create momentum in your life.

If you use these long enough, they will transition into something you barely have to think about doing and instead are naturally compelled to. Let’s dive into these simple habits of success.

1. Gratitude

The first successful habit on this list is gratitude, We hear about gratitude all the time—but science backs it up. Those who express gratitude increase well-being, can focus more on what’s working, and overcome challenges at a faster pace.[2]

By shifting from our problem-seeking monkey mind to what’s working in our lives, we shift our emotions and set the tone for the day.

Write three things you’re grateful for in the morning, and start your day empowered.

2. Airplane Mode

In a world of endless distraction, protecting your most prized real estate of attention has to be a priority. Instead of immediately grabbing the phone and starting the day off being reactive, choose to take control and start the day on your terms.

To do so, start the day on airplane mode for at least 15 minutes and work your way up to 60 minutes or more.


3. Physical Movement

Physical movement is vital for our health, it but may be even more important for our mindset and neurochemistry.

John Ratey MD, who wrote Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, found countless research to support that physical movement is crucial to creativity, motivation, and mental performance.[3]

Start simple: time yourself doing one activity for at least 10 minutes.

4. Creative Work

Remember that creative activity you used to do but then life got in the way? We all have one thing we love doing that makes us feel better. Creative work is an often ignored successful habit.

Doing something creative every day flexes a much-needed muscle, which translates into other projects you’re working on. Set aside at least twenty minutes every day to work on something creative.

5. Appreciation

When was the last time you received a handwritten note or a video on your phone from someone expressing their appreciation for you?

Become the person who sends these messages—and watch how they not only deepen connection but make you feel better, too.

This is the old “helper’s high” at work here—lifting others is a key source of happiness.[4] Send at least one appreciation message every single day.

6. Focused Time

Who would you imagine to be more productive—someone who works 55-hours a week or someone who works 70?

If you guessed the latter, you’d be incorrect. Research done by Stanford showed that productivity diminishes after 40 hours and falls off a cliff after 55.[5] In essence, those extra fifteen hours are a total waste of time.


In other words, less is more. To make focus a habit, start with 25-minute Pomodoro sessions at least once a day, and build your habit of focused time from there.

7. Mindfulness

The habit of mindfulness through meditation is shown to increase well-being, boost creativity, and provide some much-needed perspective.

However, many people complicate this habit and think they are “doing it wrong” if they have a particularly tough meditation. Nothing could be further from the truth—meditation is simply a practice.

Spend at least five minutes being aware of your breath, in silence, or using a guided meditation.

8. Journaling

Writing things down in a journal doesn’t only create clarity, it also amplifies meaning and allows you to recognize patterns of thinking and behavior.

Journaling can be used in various ways—to deconstruct success, to work through difficult emotions, or to reflect on our day to day experiences. Either way, it is a potent tool for self-discovery and reflection.

Make it a habit to journal once a day for at least five minutes by reflecting on your day, asking open-ended questions, or exploring emotions.

9. Learn Daily

Anyone can have above-average expertise in nearly any field through learning for at least ten minutes a day. Sounds crazy, right?

Think of it this way: ten pages of reading a day amounts to an average of 18 books per year! If you do this for three years, you’ve read 54 books on one topic—more than enough to make you skilled and sought after.

Constant learning and education is a successful habit shared by many successful people. Set a marker for learning every day—whether ten pages a day or a specific time you’re blocking out.


10. Close Open Loops

You likely don’t hear about this one much, but here’s why this matters: right now, you likely have “open loops” in your brain that you haven’t closed.

An “open loop” can be a message to respond to, a decision you must make, or anything that is pending. By keeping these “open”, you drain your energy and willpower and limit your ability to focus. Make it a habit to close at least three open loops every day to create clarity and practice the skill of decision making.

11. Set Boundaries

We tend to respect people who set boundaries and are willing to say “no” to requests that aren’t aligned with their priorities, but we’re not skilled at doing this ourselves.

Setting boundaries is a habit and could mean to create a calendar every week and sticking to it. It could mean having a conversation with someone about our current focus. Or, it could simply mean saying no.

To make setting boundaries a habit, find one way every week to ensure you protect your time, energy, and attention.

12. Seek Novelty

Another successful habit you should practice is seeking novelty. While morning routines, focused time, and mindfulness are all important habits, even the best activities need a boost. Enter novelty, which is the simple act of experiencing something new to provide a spark of ideas, insight, or perspective.

For example, changing your workout routine, reading a book in a genre you would otherwise discount, or even taking a new route home from work. All of these are simple ways to introduce novelty. Add in a weekly dose of novelty to your schedule and make it a habit.

13. Celebrate Wins

We’re often the worst people to see and recognize our own growth, especially those who consider themselves high performers. However, there is immense value in owning and celebrating wins by taking a step back and reflecting on how far we’ve come.

By doing so, you’ll focus on what is working, harness progress, and drown out the part of you that relies on pointing out how you could be further along. Celebrate three wins every day by writing them down.

14. Prioritize White Space

Creating pockets of white space in life is setting time aside to unplug, recharge, and get some much-needed downtime in a world full of stimuli.


Many tend to treat this time as “wasteful” or when they do use it, it’s scrolling through social media or other distractions. Instead, use this time to be with yourself and the people you love.

Carve out daily white space as a habit and remember that it’s much less about quantity than it is about quality.

15. Shutdown Routine

The last successful habit on this list is having a shutdown routine. The personal growth space is littered with morning rituals for success, which are no doubt powerful—but what about shutting it off?

In a remote-work world, we can find ourselves more “on” than ever. Instead, create a simple shut down routine at night by reducing electronic use, celebrating wins, and doing anything that signals to your brain that it’s time to rest.

This habit is one you create. For example, a shutdown ritual could be closing the laptop, cleaning the home office, and putting the phone away to be with family.

Success Is Not a Trait, It’s a Habit

We tend to think of success as a set of traits or genetic make-up someone else has, but it’s not true—success is about the actions we regularly take that turn into habits.

Think of your habits as the auto-pilot mechanism on the cross country flight. The pilots do the heavy lifting for take-off and landing and then step back and do maintenance during the flight.

You can do the same for your life by making your success and growth a habit instead of using willpower or discipline.

Start small, keep it simple—and watch the magic happen.

More Articles About Successful Habits

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via



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Tommy Baker

Expert on human potential and reverse engineering success.

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Published on October 14, 2021

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome

Do you ever worry about being exposed as a “fraud?” You’re not alone. It’s actually quite common for people to feel like imposters. In fact, approximately 70 percent of people admit to having experienced impostor syndrome[1] at some point in their lives — a Twitter poll found that 87 percent of people have experienced this.[2] Even successful and famous people like Tom Hanks, Howard Schultz, and Natalie Portman suffer from imposter syndrome.

But, what exactly is imposter syndrome. And, more importantly, how can you silence it?

Originally coined in 1978 by psychologists Pauline Rose Clance, Ph.D., ABPP, and Suzanne Imes, Ph.D., the term “impostor syndrome” describes symptoms that include being unable to internalize accomplishments and being afraid of being exposed as a fraud.

The individual may also be plagued by chronic self-doubt and believe that they’re unqualified for success despite evidence to the contrary. Inadequacies, fears of failure, and disbelief that success is a matter of luck or timing are also common.

If you don’t address this phenomenon, feeling like an impostor can prevent you from achieving ambitious goals. Moreover, those experiencing these feelings tend to over-prepare or procrastinate — which obviously hinders productivity and reaching goals. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, imposter syndrome prevents you from pursuing new challenges and opportunities.

Do you feel like you’re suffering from impostor syndrome? If so, don’t beat yourself up. After all, there are effective ways to overcome these feelings in a healthy and proactive way.

1. Don’t Hide It.

“Firstly, acknowledge it,” advises Claudine Robson,[3] the Intentional Coach. “You give strength to imposter syndrome by letting it continue to peck away at your confidence unchecked.” It can only be banished if you acknowledge it as soon as possible and break the silence.


“Then you need to separate your feelings from facts,” Robson adds. “One thing imposter syndrome does very effectively is to mix up your perceptions of reality.”

If you can, take a step back and look at the situation objectively. “Recognize when you should — and when you should not — feel fraudulent,” she says. Appreciate and acknowledge the task, intellect, and insight that have led to your success.

You might even be able to take action by recognizing that the reason you feel fraudulent is that you’re new to a task. “That gives you a path forward; learning is growth, don’t deny yourself that.”

2. Implement the STOP Technique

In her book Cognitive Enlightenment, Melinda Fouts, Ph.D., outlines a technique to overcome imposter syndrome using what she calls the STOP technique.

“STOP is an acronym for ‘silence the oppressive player,” Fouts explains in Forbes.[4] “You need to eradicate this tape that is playing 24/7, whether you are conscious of it or not. It plays loudest when we are tired, hungry, or feeling defeated.”

Steps to implementing the STOP technique and rewiring your brain are as follows:

To replace the tape of not good enough, you need a “launch sentence.” “I’m more than good enough” would is an example of a solid launch statement.


Put your launch sentence in prominent locations, such as your car’s dashboard or computer. How come? The reason is that as the tape plays, you won’t be able to remember your launch statement.

Continue to say “stop” until you recall your launch sentence, says Fouts.

Put your launch sentence into your own words and pontificate.

While going about your daily tasks, like while driving or exercising, practice your launch sentence so you can recall it when you need it in the future.

“I am told this sounds simple and it does,” she adds. However, this technique is challenging when your negative tape is playing. You will not want to replace the tape every day while your brain is rewiring itself. “It is these moments you can’t give up.”

3. Distinguish Humility and Fear

When it comes to hard work and accomplishments, there’s humility, and then there’s fear. In other words, having a high level of competence can lead one to discount its value occasionally. However, as Carl Richards wrote in an article for the New York Times,[5] “After spending a lot of time fine-tuning our ability, isn’t it sort of the point for our skill to look and feel natural?”

The problem is that we feel unworthy from time to time. But, as Seth Godin explained in a blog post,[6] “When you feel unworthy, any kind response, positive feedback or reward feels like a trick, a scam, the luck of the draw.”


Feeling worthy without feeling entitled is possible. And, finding the right balance between them is critical for overcoming impostor syndrome. “Humility and worthiness have nothing at all to do with defending our territory,” Godin continues. “We don’t have to feel like a fraud to also be gracious, open, or humble.”

4. Keep a “Brag Sheet”

When you were sending out college applications, did you build yourself a “brag sheet?” If not, here’s a clean description from Shawna Newman,[7] “A brag sheet is very similar to a student resume – it highlights your accomplishments, key experiences, leadership skills, and employment throughout your secondary education.” In short, “it’s a quick reference guide with all the details and achievements for someone trying to get to know you better.”

While it may be awkward at first, you can apply the same concept when coping with imposter syndrome. Just compose a list of your accomplishments, activities, skills. That’s it. Just remember Godin’s advice and also be humble and gracious.

As an added perk, besides being an effective way to talk myself up, I’ve also found that this has helped me stop comparing myself to others. Instead of harping about other people’s milestones, I’m honing in on what I’ve done.

5. Celebrate Wins, Period

Speaking of accomplishments, they shouldn’t be categorized as small or big. After all, you feel as if you don’t belong when you have imposter syndrome. So, the more you celebrate your wins, the more confident you’ll become.

Furthermore, accept compliments without qualifying them and practice listening to praise every day. Finally, become kinder to yourself by saying at least one kind thing to yourself daily. And, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back.

6. Assemble a Legion of Superheroes

“You know how corporations have a board of directors to — in theory — make them stronger, maintain checks and balances, leverage resources, and help advance the organization’s vision?” asks inspirational speaker, speaking coach, and creative consultant Tania Katan.[8] “Why not assemble your own board of directors to leverage resources to help make your career stronger, keep you in check and balanced, and advance your vision?”


“My friend Alison Wade, president of conferences, training, and consulting at Techwell, calls her personal board of directors her “front-row” — those are the people she invites to sit spitting distance from the stage, cheer her on, challenge her, and review her performance,” Katan writes.

As for Katan, she calls hers a “legion of superheroes.” The reason? “I dig the idea of joining forces to do good in the corporate galaxy.”

It’s important to have a diverse group of individuals who will defend you. Ideally, they should be varied in all dimensions, such as cultural background, way of thinking, and skills.

Katan recommends that you meet together frequently, whether if that’s once a week or every quarter. “Share your experiences, fears, creative ideas, aspirations,” she adds. “Celebrate each other’s accomplishments.” You also need to both support and challenge each other. “Discover what you are capable of doing when you combine your powers.”

7. Visualize Success

Follow the example of a professional athlete by imagining yourself crushing that presentation or project. You’ll enjoy the relief from performance-related stress. And, more importantly, it can help you avoid focusing on the worst-case scenario.

Final Words of Advice

While there’s no single formula to cure imposter syndrome, the tips listed above are a start. After all, your success depends on your ability to fight the negative effects of it. For example, feeling unworthy over time can lead to crippling anxiety and depression if left untreated.

If you’ve tried the above, then make sure that you speak to someone about what you’re experiencing, whether it’s a mentor, peer group, or licensed professional. And, above all else, there’s a place at the table for everyone — no matter what your inner voice is telling you.


How to Silence the Impostor Syndrome was originally published on Calendar by John Rampton.

Featured photo credit: Laurenz Kleinheider via


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