13 Habits of Highly Successful People

Our habits make us or break us. If there is one thing that will surely help you on this journey of life it is your habits. There is no scientific formula to develop habits but one thing is sure unless you acknowledge the need for change nothing else will happen. Here are 13 habits of remarkably successful people that I have found that can be implemented to get the most out of life.

Get up Early – This is totally about discipline. On average most of the highly successful people from history have all got up early. Reading about Eisenhower he slept at 9:30 pm and got up early. Ernest Hemingway and Benjamin Franklin were also early risers. When you rise before the sun you feel a sense of accomplishment and you can read or write or catch up on emails before the busy workday starts. Of course if you are working in a night shift or you are most creative in the late hours then this won't apply to you.

Exercise – All presidents exercise nearly daily. President Obama exercises first thing for 45 min in the morning. Eisenhower played golf nearly every day and this was what kept him energized to get through the tough demands of being a president. This is a great habit as it keeps you energized throughout the day. Try it for a few weeks and see the difference it makes. Science has proven that exercise releases those pleasurable chemicals like serotonin, dopamine and of course endorphins. We all know this but it takes discipline to implement this in our lives. Be proactive about your health and get on an exercise programs. Of course if you enjoy sports that's another way to stay healthy.

Set Goals – Our search for meaning in our lives can be achieved only through setting goals. With goals you have direction for your life. Set goals in your personal, physical, financial, and social lives. Keep your goals confidential and don’t share it with anyone else. Keep looking at it weekly and make course corrections as needed.  Make it specific, measurable and just out of reach. The key is to write down goals that you want and look at it regularly.

Personal Mission Statement   – Most successful people and organizations have strong mission statements. They take the time to figure out what is the reason for their existence. Having a personal mission statement will energize your whole life.  My personal mission statement over the last 5 years has been “My mission is to maximise my potential and help others maximise theirs.” Of course I have a longer mission statement but this is the crux.

Eat to Live   – Benjamin Franklin in his auto biography writes how he had a light lunch while others were having heavy lunches. This ensured he always had high energy. It is important to eat moderately and include lots of vegetables and fruits. We all know what we need to do in this area but we do fall short on occasions. This is just a reminder to do what we already know. Of course the key is if you fall off track just get back on track rather than brooding over any over indulgence.

Continuous learning  -  To keep up with changes in your profession read in your field, read broadly, listen to podcasts, read blogs and document what you have learned. This is the key to winning in the 21st century. You have to schedule time in the week for your self-development as it never happens automatically. The great thing is all the information you need to be on the cutting edge of the learning revolution is at your finger tips and it is largely free of cost.

Reflection – Successful people take the time to reflect on a continuous basis and make sure they learn from life. Unless you take the time to reflect in a journal you cannot really understand what is going well and what can be improved. Unless you take time for reflection you won’t know how far you have come and how far you have yet to go. Another key habit of successful people is they think big. They don't engage in small thinking.

Financial Planning – To achieve well rounded success some amount of financial planning is required. The key as mentioned in the book "The Richest Man in Babylon" is pay yourself first. Saving is a key financial habit and the more you save the more secure you feel. Of course discussing with a financial adviser may also be a good idea.

Take vacations   – There is a reason vacations are there. When you take a vacation and disconnect form your work you come back renewed to even work better. Vacations can also be a good time to connect with your dear ones. We really don’t need exotic vacations but the best thing is don’t schedule every minute of your vacation. Have some free time to make the vacation count.

Volunteer – Volunteering can be done with your time or also by making charitable contributions. The only way to get some significance to your life is through contribution. There are multiple avenues for contribution and you can choose your best vehicle.

Excellent time management – All successful people manage themselves well within the gift of 24 hours. It is not what you do but what you don’t do that is vitally important for time management. Look at all your activities and see which ones are time wasters. Eliminate those and you will have more time to do the things that matter. Focus on the wildly important, write down lists, focus only your top priorities and develop the habit of saying no to low priority activities.

Hobbies – All successful people have interesting hobbies. Einstein liked sailing, playing violin and many others liked to play an instrument as well. Personally for me reading and writing are hobbies. When I do that I feel fulfilled. You need to find hobbies that you are passionate about and do them every week. This will keep you energized.

Networking – Successful people network both officially and socially. Having a strong network professionally ensures that when the chips are down you can rely on them to back you up. Strong social relationships ensure your life has more meaning and joy. In terms of crisis you need this network to bring you back up.
I know all this seems like a lot of habits to develop but if we adopt some of these on a regular basis we can get the most out of ourselves and our lives.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.

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