Over the years I have read about and observed a number of successful people. During that time I have noted their habits. Appreciate that not all these habits were in play all the time, but there was definitely a current underpinning their behavior that was on display. Ironically, many of these are self-evident and resemble what our mothers and fathers may have told us when we were younger. Interestingly, it appears if your goal is to be successful, our parents may have been right.
However, even if we have not subscribed to these yet it is never too late.
To that end, here are 10 of the most often-cited habits of successful people (not in any particular order of importance).
- Figure out where you want to go, then plan on how to get there.
- If you have no goal, then you will go nowhere. People just don't stumble into success.
- If there is no plan, you have no benchmark to evaluate your actions.
- Allow time to sleep well every night.
You can't be at your best if you are not well rested. I have heard many people who claim to not need much sleep but don't believe it. It is simply not possible to be at your best if you are routinely depriving yourself of at least seven or eight hours sleep per night. Current research is finding that it is also vital for your mental health.
There is a reason that sleep deprivation is a form of torture.
- Just do it - take action
It is important to organize, to plan, and to set priorities, but without action, a plan is nothing more than potential.
Successful people act. In addition, although it may sound counterintuitive, according to James Clear, they often start before they feel fully ready. While others come up with reasons not to act, successful people take that all-important first step.
- Personal Care
Personal care with regard to diet, exercise, and hygiene are on the list of habits of those who are successful.
For some, personal care involves a complex regimen and a highly disciplined lifestyle. For others, not so much. However, don't overlook your physical self.
- Positive Attitude
According to many successful people, having a positive attitude is not just a result of being successful – it’s one of the root causes of success.
It can sound silly when you say it but it is true. No one ever passed a hard exam or broke a world record thinking they were not going to make it. Believe in yourself.
Successful people know the value of exchanging ideas with others through networking. They also know the value of collaboration and teamwork – all of which are likely when you network.
Successful people know the importance of surrounding themselves with other successful people, according to author Thomas Corley. Corley says 79% of wealthy people spend at least five hours a month networking.
Frugal is not the same as stingy or always being cheap. Frugality is a habit of being thrifty, with money and resources. It is also a habit of being economical. Learning to be economical comes through avoiding waste (in time as well as money), which automatically results in efficiency.
Successful people avoid overspending. Instead, they comparison-shop and negotiate. The result is financial success through the simple act of saving more money than they spend. Paraphrasing Benjamin Franklin who once said, "if you cannot save money, the seed of success is not in you."
- Rising Early
The more time one can devote to being successful, the more likely success will result. Successful people are accustomed to rising early, and that habit appears repeatedly among those who do well in life.
Whether through donating to charity or the sharing of ideas, successful people have a habit of giving. They know the value of sharing and most believe their success should result in something more than the accumulation of wealth for themselves.
Lack of wealth does not need to be a factor when it comes to sharing. Volunteering in your community or at a local school does not cost anything but could provide help where it is needed most.
It's important to note that successful people read. While they also read for pleasure, most use their reading habit as a means to gain knowledge or insight.
For anyone who needs inspiration about the value and importance of reading, look no further than the example of billionaire author, J.K. Rowling, who says she read “anything” as a child. She advises, “Read as much as you possibly can. Nothing will help you as much as reading.”
We all have habits and most people are capable of modifying theirs if they want to be more successful. So, the bottom line is successful people tend to have more of these kinds of habits and it contributes to their success.
The good news, for those who wish to be successful, is that cultivating positive habits takes no more effort than developing bad ones.
I will conclude with the reality that life is a journey that needs to be worked at. Anyone can adopt these habits (after all, not one of them is rocket science). So, if you want to be more successful, take a close look at yourself and make the necessary changes. YOU CAN DO IT!
About the Author: Milt Fullen is a CPA and CFP® with more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He is a multi-year winner of Columbus Monthly’s Five Star Wealth Manager Award, and Fullen Financial Group ranks among Columbus Business First’s top fee-only financial planning firms in Central Ohio. We have helped over 200 individuals and families prepare for retirement, and we manage more than $157 million of assets on behalf of our clients. Our team of professional advisors has a wealth of experience and the best credentials in the industry, supported by the latest technology tools and a dedicated client service team.
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