While there is no magical button you can press to become successful in life, there are certain habits that the most successful people have in common. There have been countless studies done and books written about how to be, do, and have whatever you want in this lifetime; however, without certain habits in place, the canvas for a successful life isn’t primed to last. The decisions that successful people make on a daily basis are what separate the good from the great. Anyone can find a $100 bill on the street or be offered an opportunity of a lifetime, but only a fraction of those people have good habits and discipline that can turn that gift or opportunity into gold.
Picture this … take a moment to call to mind someone you consider successful. This can be someone you know personally or someone in the public eye that seems to be living his or her best life by all accounts. How do you think they maintain their levels of peak performance and effective contribution to the world—by leaving each day to chance? No way! Successful people are intentional about how they spend their 24 hours in the day.
Here are 10 habits of successful people, in no particular order.
1. Prioritize Quality Sleep
In her book, The Sleep Manifesto, co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, says “A good day starts the night before.” In a world where you may tend to praise exhaustion as a sign for productivity, getting an adequate amount of uninterrupted sleep a night is one of the most powerful things you can do for your health, well-being, and overall success. Good sleep hygiene and a good night’s sleep helps lead to greater productivity, better moods, and sharper, clearer minds. Even though the average recommendation is 7-9 hours per night, you may have your own threshold for minimum sleep requirements. Get real about how many hours of sleep you really need, and make it one of your top priorities.
2. Wake Up Early and Don’t Press the Snooze Button
Successful people practice waking up early so they can utilize the morning hours to start their day on their own terms. Some of the most influential people on the planet are early risers, like Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and our very own Deepak Chopra. These trailblazers harness the power of waking up early to engage in routines like meditation, visualization, and exercise.
Furthermore, successful people wake up with their alarm, and don’t press snooze! Hitting the snooze button not only fragments your precious sleep but tells your subconscious mind that you are resisting the day ahead. Successful people wake up early on purpose and usually accomplish more before 8 a.m. than most people do in an entire day.
3. Eat Clean
Successful people use the power of whole, healthy foods to build and sustain their energy. Healthy eating habits (like never skipping breakfast, limiting sugar and dairy, and eating mostly plants) fill your body with life-affirming prana and promote longevity.
Many high-profile celebrities (like Jennifer Lopez, Pharrell Williams, and Russell Brand) choose not to drink alcohol either, citing a stronger desire for clarity and health than imbibing toxins that could cloud their potential. While everyone’s approach to diet might be unique, the common denominator is a mindful approach to food and hydration that uplifts their energy and productivity.
4. Spend Time in Nature
Human beings have an innate inclination to connect with their natural environment. Studies show that spending as little as five minutes outdoors can lead to more balanced nervous systems, greater functioning digestive systems, and significantly higher happiness levels.
Scientists have even recently reported that people who spend at least two hours of time outdoors per week show the greatest benefit of health and well-being. Successful people know when to take breaks, refuel their systems with fresh air and sunshine, and make connecting with nature a regular part of their daily routine.
5. Move Their Bodies Every Day
As best-selling leadership author Robin Sharma said, “If you don’t make time for exercise, you’ll probably have to make time for illness.” It should come as no surprise that daily exercise is a staple in the lives of the world’s top go-getters. The benefits of getting your blood pumping every day include greater self-confidence, better mood, stronger hearts, and sharper mental clarity.
Whether you choose a yoga practice, hitting the gym, or going for a hike outdoors (see #4), making mindful movement a non-negotiable part of your life will put you on the same level as people like Richard Branson, who credits morning exercise for his financial and business success.
Successful people make time for silence. While it may seem counterintuitive to spend time doing “nothing,” we now know that regularly getting quiet yields powerful results on the body, mind, and attitude. Mega-successful business people like Russell Simmons, Jerry Seinfeld, and the late Kobe Bryant swear by daily meditation for setting up their day for positivity, poise, and potential.
As you meditate, you will notice how being alone with your thoughts and ideas can lead you to clarity later on.
7. Harness the Power of Visualization
Successful people know how to use their imagination to create the future they want, rather than imaginary catastrophes. Top athletes visualize making the goal, winning the race, and crossing the finish line to prime themselves for peak performance.
Top author and motivational speaker Jack Canfield teaches that visualization isn’t just for athletes, but can rapidly accelerate anyone’s achievement who is willing to set aside a few minutes in the morning or before bed to “mentally rehearse” the pursuit of their highest goals and intentions. Join the throes of Bill Gates, Jim Carrey, and Tiger Woods by using creative visualization to help manifest the life of your dreams.
8. Constantly Read and Learn
According to an article on Inc.com, Warren Buffet reads 500 pages a day, Mark Cuban reads for three hours a day, and Bill Gates reads 50 books a year. How (and why) do the busiest people find so much time to read? They make it a priority.
Rather than watching TV, scrolling through social media, or wasting time procrastinating with busy-work, spend more time reading about your craft and your passions. Choose to read material that enriches your life and increases your knowledge, and you will set yourself up to be at the top of your game. Whether you read newspapers, trade magazines, blogs, or books, ensure your position among the most successful people in the world, and spend more time learning.
9. Have Meaningful Relationships
Does your metric for success include happiness? If so, you are making time for meaningful social connections, which is one of the top happiness indicators according to positive psychology. Authentically connecting to other human beings is one of the most important skills you can have, and successful people foster relationships that matter.
If you find yourself cutting off from the world around you in honor of writing your book or completing your research, regularly making time for the people in your life will not only boost your mood, but also contribute to your efficiency and creative output. So have that shared meal, make that phone call, or show up to that yoga class with your favorite teacher to ensure your social connections remain strong.
10. Connect to Their Purpose
Being successful is not about being busy for no reason—it is about knowing why you do what you do, and making sure your actions are in alignment with your purpose. Author, pastor, and leadership coach John Maxwell says, “If you don’t understand your purpose, you cannot be successful, because success begins with purpose.”
Approaching your life without purpose is like getting in the car without knowing where you are going. Since success is such a subjective concept, it is crucial to be clear about what matters most in your life so you know when you are on the right track. Not sure what your purpose is yet? Spend some time getting clear so you can make the most out of your one wild and precious life.
If you are looking to make this year the most powerful year of your life, look at the most successful people you can think of and do what they do! Assess your own habits and routines and take purposeful action to improve and change your quality of life and make an impact on the world. By shifting your habits, you are changing your impact on the world.