Advertising
Advertising

20 Things Highly Successful People Don’t Do

20 Things Highly Successful People Don’t Do

Success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose.” So it goes with saying that highly successful people are better at accomplishing their goals.

If you want to find success in your life it’s important to understand what successful people do … and the things they don’t do. Here are 20 things they avoid:

They don’t define success with money.

Successful people aren’t necessarily wealthy … but they’re usually happy. Happiness defines their success more than money.

They don’t make important decisions on a whim.

Successful people think before they act, especially when it comes to important decisions.

Advertising

They don’t underestimate the importance of planning.

People who are successful keep at least one journal to plan their schedule and track their progress. Many people even keep two journals: one for personal planning and one for scheduling/work.

They don’t go to sleep until their to-do list is done.

Highly successful people always finish what’s on their to-do list. And it makes them feel warm and fuzzy inside.

They don’t make their to-do list overwhelmingly large.

Keeping a to-do list is essential, but so is keeping your list of tasks manageable. Successful people don’t bite off more than they can chew. They keep their to-do list small and scalable.

They don’t set unrealistic goals.

People who accomplish great things in life set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-driven (SMART) goals. “I want to lose weight,” is not a good goal. “I will lose 10 pounds by the end of this year,” is.

Advertising

They don’t work for hours on end.

Successful people work in small increments and take frequent breaks. This helps them get more done in less time.

They don’t sleep the day away.

Early risers get more done, plain and simple. The hours you have in each day are limited. Successful people go to bed at the same time every night and get up early, refreshed and ready to conquer their day.

They don’t put others before their family.

Successful folks put family first. Work is important, but never as important as experiencing life with the people you love most.

They don’t work harder, they work smarter.

Successful people don’t necessarily work harder. They do work smarter though. They focus 80 percent of their efforts on the 20 percent of work that will give them the greatest return (this is called the Pareto principle).

Advertising

They don’t always get what they want.

Let’s face it: life doesn’t always give you what you want. The difference between people who find success and those who don’t is successful people are willing to make sacrifices for the greater good.

They don’t go a day without giving thanks.

Successful people make it a point to write down the things they’re thankful for every day.

They don’t walk past the homeless guy in the street without giving him some of their money or time.

“Success” is also defined by how much you give back. That’s why truly successful people will always stop to help someone in need and give their time or money freely.

They don’t drink too much.

Yes, successful folks like to unwind with a couple of drinks and socialize with friends. But they stay in control and don’t drink themselves into making bad decisions.

Advertising

They don’t let themselves go.

You’ll also find that successful people are usually healthier. They take care of their bodies and minds and make the time to eat healthy and exercise frequently.

They don’t let bad habits control them.

Highly successful people find ways to turn bad habits into good ones.

They don’t know everything … and that’s okay with them.

Another measure of a successful person is this: they’re thirsty for knowledge. They know what they know, and more importantly, they know what they don’t know.

They don’t care what other people think about them.

Highly successful people ignore the naysayers and the pessimists. They surround themselves with people who are going to make them better.

Advertising

They don’t back down from adversity.

Another trait of successful people is that they choose to see challenges and moments of adversity as opportunities to grow.

They don’t stop.

Highly successful people are relentless in their pursuit of a happier, healthier life. They go to great lengths to achieve success … but don’t stop there. Successful people constantly find ways to continue to improve themselves. They believe success is a choice, and they choose to focus their time and energy on the things that will lead them to that success.

More by this author

Scott Christ

Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

I Want To Be Happy: 7 Science-Backed Ways to Find Happiness 10 Things a Happy Person Does Differently 8 Simple and Effective Ways to Start Reaching Goals Today 7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life 7 Common Mistakes That Stop You From Reaching Your Life Goals

Trending in Productivity

1 5 Values of an Effective Leader 2 How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 30 Practical Ideas to Create Your Best Morning Routine 5 Is People Management the Right Career Path for You?

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

Advertising

From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

Advertising

The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

Advertising

But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

Advertising

Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Advertising

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

Read Next