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11 Successful People And Their Unique Habits

11 Successful People And Their Unique Habits

Have you ever wondered about the habits of history’s most successful people? What is it they do that helps them earn money, respect and a good reputation? Becoming more successful with the help of simple daily habits is easier than you think when you have focus and are committed to reaching your goals.

Read on to learn about 11 successful people and the unique habits that helped them succeed.

1. Benjamin Franklin

Waking up early in the morning

    Benjamin Franklin is one of the most successful and well-known men in history, being not only known as a politician but also as a printer, inventor, scientist, and much more. One notable habit of his was to rise very early each day before he started work. He would wake up at 5 a.m., bathe, review his business for the day, and have breakfast. This way he would be fully focused by 8 a.m. and would be able to work without getting distracted.

    2. Evan Williams

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    Evan Williams Co-Founder of Twitter

      Evan Williams, founder of Blogger and Twitter, keeps his mind sharp by making sure his body gets a workout. Every day he takes some time off in the middle of the day to go work out at the gym, and when he returns, his energy level is higher and he is able to focus more easily on his work.

      3. Arianna Huffington

      Arianna Huffinton Founder Huffintonpost

        Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, practices yoga and meditation each day to help her keep stress levels down and increase mindfulness in her life. When people don’t have as much stress in their life and they are more aware of their own feelings and needs, they are happier and healthier. Happy, healthy people can provide their best work to the companies that employ them or to the companies they own.

        4. Randy Garutti

        of the Shake Shack Randy Garutti

          Randy Garutti, CEO of the Shake Shack franchise, attributes his success to the habit of focusing on one thing at a time and “being present.” No one can do everything at once, so it is better to give your whole focus to one task at a time. Otherwise you’ll spread yourself out over numerous tasks and not be able to give as much time and energy to any of them as you could if you gave yourself more room to focus.

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          5. Barack Obama

          US President Barack Obama

            Among the many successful habits that Obama practices, one of the most significant is making it a point to have breakfast with his daughters and the first lady, help his daughters get ready for school, and have dinner with his family again in the evening. Like Obama, successful people are careful to strike a good work-life balance, working hard but also making sure to prioritize spending time with family.

            6. Stephen King

            Famous Fiction Writer Stephen King Playing Guitar

              The famous fiction writer Stephen King makes a habit of keeping his work space arranged the same way every day. He sits down to work at around the same time every day and in the same chair, has a glass of water, keeps his papers arranged in the same way each day, and listens to the same music. This is his way of getting himself ready to focus on working, and when you are focused on your work, you are bound to succeed.

              7. Franz Kafka

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              Franz Kafka Writer

                Another famous fiction writer, Franz Kafka spent his days as an insurance agent but always made time to feed his creative urge. He would start writing at 10:30 p.m. and keep going into the early hours of the morning. His day job was very stressful and busy, but creative writing was his release. No matter how busy your day job, everyone should nurture their passions when they have time in order to stay motivated. And who knows … perhaps your passion will be your calling.

                8. David Zinczenko

                Men's Health Editor-In-Chief David Zinczenko

                  David Zinczenko, Editor-in-Chief of Men’s Health magazine, practices the habit of keeping healthy snacks and drinks around his office. This way he stays energized and won’t experience a sugar crash later in the day from eating unhealthy foods. Plus, when he already has snacks stocked, he doesn’t have to leave the office while he is working just to waste time buying food.

                  9. Cindy Ratzlaff

                  Cindy Ratzlaff, a consultant, speaker and author

                    Cindy Ratzlaff, a consultant, speaker and author, comes up with a “success goal” each day and writes it on her white board in her office. It’s then in front of her all day to remind her to ask herself before each action if the action will serve her chosen goal. Keeping focused on a goal brings purpose to each choice she makes, eliminating time-wasters and distractions.

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                    10. Albert Einstein

                    Theoretical Physicist Albert Einstein

                      Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist, philosopher and author, enjoyed taking the time to go for long walks on the beach or gazing at the ceiling during the workweek so that he could listen to what was going on in his mind. By spending some time in solitude, you can reach deep within yourself and focus on the thoughts in your head.

                      11. Warren Buffett

                      Warren Buffett CEO Berkshire Hathaway

                        Warren Buffett, the oracle of Omaha, likes to play online bridge with three other partners almost every Monday because of the emphasis it places on “playing a hand right rather than on playing it successfully.” Successful people know that luck comes from working hard over time and positioning themselves for success rather than hoping to just get lucky.

                        These successful individuals have great habits that work to help them stay successful. Develop some unique habits for yourself and soon you will be on your way to success and time well spent.

                        Featured photo credit: Silhouette of successful business man /KieferPix via shutterstock.com

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                        Last Updated on March 21, 2019

                        11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                        11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

                        Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

                        You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

                        But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

                        To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

                        It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

                        “What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

                        The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

                        In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

                        Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

                        1. Start Small

                        The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

                        Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

                        Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

                        Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

                        Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

                        Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

                        It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

                        Do less today to do more in a year.

                        2. Stay Small

                        There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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                        But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

                        If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

                        When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

                        I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

                        Why?

                        Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

                        The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

                        Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

                        3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

                        No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

                        There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

                        What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

                        Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

                        This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

                        This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

                        4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

                        When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

                        There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

                        Peter Drucker said,

                        “What you track is what you do.”

                        So track it to do it — it really helps.

                        But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

                        5. Measure Once, Do Twice

                        Peter Drucker also said,

                        “What you measure is what you improve.”

                        So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

                        For reading, it’s 20 pages.
                        For writing, it’s 500 words.
                        For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
                        For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

                        Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

                        6. All Days Make a Difference

                        Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

                        Will two? They won’t.

                        Will three? They won’t.

                        Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

                        What happened? Which one made you fit?

                        The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

                        No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

                        7. They Are Never Fully Automated

                        Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

                        But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

                        What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

                        It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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                        The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

                        It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

                        It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

                        8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

                        Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

                        Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

                        When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

                        The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

                        Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

                        9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

                        The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

                        Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

                        You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

                        But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

                        So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

                        If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

                        This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

                        The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

                        Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

                        10. Punish Yourself

                        Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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                        I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

                        It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

                        You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

                        No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

                        The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

                        But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

                        11. Reward Yourself

                        When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

                        Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

                        The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

                        After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

                        If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

                        Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

                        If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

                        In the End, It Matters

                        What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

                        When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

                        And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

                        “Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

                        Keep going.

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                        More Resources to Help You Build Habits

                        Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
                        [2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
                        [3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
                        [4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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