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10 Things Early Birds Do that Make Them More Likely To Be Successful

10 Things Early Birds Do that Make Them More Likely To Be Successful

Are you an early bird? Most people have heard the phrase “the early bird gets the worm,” but they may actually be getting much more than that.

Early birds are more likely to be proactive, happy and healthy – check out 10 things that early birds do that make them more likely to be successful.

1. They Can Accomplish Tasks As Soon As They Start Their Day

It doesn’t take long for our days to get started; family, friends, career obligations, emails, and tidying mean that there are things to start doing as soon as you wake up. Early birds get a head start on this first thing, accomplishing most of their tasks in the morning.

This is good in another way, too – as early birds accomplish tasks when they wake up, they are more likely to have a relaxed evening.

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2. They May Be Wired To Be An Early Riser

Researchers have discovered that around 10% of us are born early birds. This means many early birds are actually wired this way, and forcing themselves to sleep in will reduce how proactive they are. So embrace your early bird status to achieve success!

3. They May Be More Intelligent

A 2008 study from Texas University discovered that the students who identified as being early birds actually scored a full point higher on their GPAs than the students who identified as night owls.

4. They Are Most Focused In The Morning

Many people feel more focused first thing in the morning, and early birds really get to embrace this as they get up when most people are asleep, creating far fewer distractions.

The most efficient way to work is in two to four hour block sessions – and by 11 many early birds have already completed their first block.

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5. They Are Following The Habits Of Extremely Successful People

It appears greeting the day early is one of the keys to success. Many successful entrepreneurs are early birds themselves; CEO of Apple Tim Cook is up for 4:30 a.m. and Richard Branson is up for 5.45 a.m. This may be because getting starting early gives you a head start on the day.

6. They Get A Good Night’s Sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential to a productive day, and early birds often have more opportunities to sleep.

Many people struggle to fall to sleep straight away, and many wake up during the night. If this happens, you may need an extra half an hour in the morning – and as early birds rise so early, they have the opportunity to get a little extra sleep if they need it.

7. They Are More Proactive

In a 2008 study at Harvard, Christop Randler discovered that morning people are more proactive.

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The early birds were more likely than the night owls to agree with proactive statements like “I spend time identifying long-range goals for myself.”

A proactive attitude naturally leads to higher productivity, which means early birds are more likely to be successful later on.

8. They Have Time For Breakfast

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but many people do not make time for a proper breakfast, or even a rushed one. Early risers have more free time in their mornings than other people, so they have fewer excuses to skip breakfast.

A survey from the Harvard School of Public Health discovered a possible link between not eating breakfast and a higher risk of coronary heart disease, so having a good breakfast can benefit you in many different ways.

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9. They May Be Happier

A study at the University of Toronto has actually shown that morning people are likely to be both happier and healthier than night owls. The health part is partially logical; as early birds are up earlier they have more opportunity to eat a good breakfast and exercise.

The happiness is the more interesting part; morning people report higher levels of happiness, which could be due to how proactive they are.

10. They Have Great Personality Traits

Studies have shown that early birds are more likely to show some traits than night owls. Night owls are more likely to exhibit creativity and pessimism, while early birds are more likely to exhibit optimism, conscientiousness and satisfaction.

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Amy Johnson

Amy is a writer who blogs about relationships and lifestyle advice.

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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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