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11 Essential Habits for Success

11 Essential Habits for Success


    We all want to succeed. Whether it’s in losing weight, learning the guitar, speed reading, or starting our own business. For those of us who have tried and failed, success seems elusive. Why is it one person succeeds where another person fails? First and foremost, I believe it is in their mindset. But secondly, I believe that successful people have developed certain habits, either naturally or through research, that the rest of us haven’t stumbled upon yet.

    Though I want each of you to succeed in everything you do, I can’t guarantee success. Only you can do that. It starts in your mind, and from there your thoughts take physical form through your actions. Believing in yourself is a necessity! Beyond that, I’ve made a list of some habits to help you set goals and achieve them.

    1. Identify your core values

    What is important to you? Finding your core values may seem a bit off-topic when it comes to success, but creating goals that are in line with your values is key to creating intrinsic motivation. Sit and reflect on what you value most. Pick a handful of things and actually write them down. Remind yourself of your values every day, and reflect on whether you are honoring those values through your work.

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    2. Pick a goal (Focus)

    Choose one goal to start. Something large enough that will give you a sense of accomplishment, while aligning well with your core values. Focus is key here. The more focused you are on one goal, the higher chance you have of success. If you spread yourself too thin, you might never complete your projects because they will take far too long. Believe me, multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

    3. Set a deadline for success

    Set a date for success. Identify when your hope to achieve your goal. Keep it realistic, while not giving yourself too much time. By setting a time limit, you are making the process more real. You also now have something to visualize in the next point.

    4. Build the right mindset

    Believe fully in your ability to achieve your goal. Visualize yourself having completed your goal in the exact time-frame you have chosen, although finishing early is also acceptable. You don’t need to consider the failures that will happen along the way. Success is inevitable. Others may think you will fail, don’t let yourself be one of them! (If you have trouble visualizing success, perhaps a fear of success is limiting you)

    “Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford

    5. Consequences for missing your deadline

    Set up negative consequences for missing the deadline. Necessity is the mother of all invention. If you can manage to keep yourself intrinsically motivated, that’s great. If not, this will help kick you into gear and keep your eye on the prize.

    6. Weekly and Daily Goals (Plan)

    Break down goals by week and by day, setting up a plan to reach your overall objective. Keep the number of tasks per day as low as you can, and focus on completing only your planned tasks for each day. If you find yourself done, pick the next thing from your weekly list. Do the hardest things during your peak energy level, which usually means doing them first!

    7. Prioritize

    Prioritize the tasks you have in front of you. Don’t always do the most urgent thing first. Pick the task that’s the most important. Sometimes these overlap, which is nice. By always accomplishing what’s most important, you are making clear progress toward your goal.

    Also keep in mind that completing the hardest task first is a sure-fire way of increasing your productivity. If you put it off until later in the day, your energy level is bound to drop, and finishing the hard task will seem daunting and maybe even impossible. But, if you start off with the hardest task, when your energy level is high, you will have the focus and energy required to finish it off.

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    8. Take risks

    Push yourself. Go out of your comfort zone. This is the best way to learn, and the best way to make progress quickly. If you’re looking for new ideas, being risk averse will not help. This takes a lot of self-awareness. Try and be conscious of when you are holding yourself back out of fear. Push yourself to be courageous, and take that next step.

    9. Perseverance

    Failure is inevitable when you take risks, which is what you’ll be doing if you want to succeed. By its very definition, the desire to succeed at something means you are risking failure. Many people tend to give up far too early. Don’t fall into this trap! Remember your mindset earlier, and visualize your success. Know it will happen. A failure is merely you working out the details, and learning what works and what doesn’t. Use failure. Treat it as a good thing, and march on!

    10. Reflect

    Take time every day to sit quietly and reflect on your values, goals, and progress made so far. Where have you excelled, and where can you do better. Is everything you are doing still lining up with your core values? Always look for ways to improve.

    11. Learn

    Never stop learning. Know what everyone else is doing, and what everyone else has done, and how they did it. Search wide for knowledge that might help you, and any inspiration that may do the same. Never think you have nothing to learn from others.

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    ***

    I cannot overstate the value of building the correct mindset and perseverance. I believe these two habits are the fundamental building blocks to enjoying any great success in life.

    (Photo credit: Businessman Climbing Ladder via Shutterstock)

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      David Loker

      David is making a living from his passion and helps people to do the same.

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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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