We are creatures of habit. Our habits, whether good or bad, are undeniably part of our lives. A recent study shows that almost half of the things we do on a daily basis are driven by our habits. Like it or not, those habits will either help us attain the successes we desire or hinder our progress toward these goals.
From entrepreneurs, to athletes, to successful business leaders and homemakers, the good habit lists were surprisingly alike:
1. Wake up early / get on a good schedule
Anyone who is serious about success knows that it’s important to wake up early. It’s a peaceful time to plan your day and set your goals, before the busyness of the day begins. If you’re not in the habit of waking early, try setting your alarm 15-20 minutes early for a week, then repeat that each week until you are consistently waking up giving you ample time to get ready for your day. Once you find your desired wake up time, make sure to follow that schedule every day. Our bodies perform best when a set sleeping and waking scheduled are followed.
2. Eat breakfast / Healthy diet
Our brains and our bodies need the right food to perform at their peak. Going to work or going about your daily activities on an empty stomach can throw your whole day off. It can mess with metabolism, and certainly doesn’t allow you the energy your body needs. So, if you’re on the go, make sure to at least eat a healthy breakfast and give your body the fuel it needs.
The health benefits of regular exercise are well documented. Developing a consistent exercise routine is a habit that will not only improve your health, but leave you more motivated, provide you with more mental clarity and you’ll feel physically better.
4. Drink plenty of water
Another documented health benefit is drinking plenty of water. Generally speaking, the IOM (Institute of Medicine) recommends consuming 8 cups of water per day. More specifically, that number is 13 cups for men and 9 cups of water per day for women. (There are other factors that can affect this recommendation such as age and level of physical activity). Drinking the recommended daily amount of water will help with digestion, boosting your immune system and cleansing and rehydrating our bodies. It also may help with reducing inflammation and weight loss.
5. Practice gratitude / Journal
Most successful people agree that it’s vital to practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude helps you shift your focus away from your problems. By shifting your attention toward what you have and being grateful for that, helps us realize what we’ve been given and all the good things that we have in life. This shifts the focus away from negative or stressful thoughts. Journaling is a helpful tool in practicing gratitude. It encourages us to reflect on each day, and record the positive events of the day. Journaling also helps us track our progress on our goals and helps with goal setting for short and long term goals.
6. Daily goal setting / Create a short and long-term plan
Most of us have goals or dreams. However, the difference between having a dream and accomplishing a goal is all in the planning. Whatever it is you want in life, without setting a plan on how to get there may be the first misstep of not achieving that goal. Successful people know that by creating a long term goal, you must first break that down into attainable pieces. This means setting shorter term goals such as quarterly, weekly and daily goals to help track our progress.
7. Be money wise / Budget and track expenses
When it comes to sound financial habits, creating a budget and sticking to it are essential. It’s all about prioritizing. If your plan is to put money away for retirement or a desired vacation or trip, put your designated dollars aside first, then spend what you have left on your daily living.
8. Volunteering / Give back
You may have heard the saying “ Life gives to the givers”. Giving your time or sharing your expertise with others ultimately comes back to benefit you. Studies show that when you stop thinking about your own problems and focus on someone other than yourself, your stress levels start to decrease, your immune system is strengthened, and your overall sense of life satisfaction increases. This is because helping someone else interrupts tension-producing patterns and replaces it with a sense of purpose, positive emotions, and high confidence levels.
9. Think positive
Like attracts like. When we think negative thoughts, we attract negative things into our lives. The same is true of the opposite. When we think positive, we attract positive things into our life. Realistically, it may be difficult to have positive thoughts all the time, however, be aware of your thoughts and try to introduce positive thinking more and more and watch the positive turn in what comes to you.
10. Be punctual
First impressions happen. Arriving late to an appointment is a negative that can imply negative emotions and perceptions, such as, can this person be trusted? Create a habit of being punctual. People will notice.
11. Strive for excellence
“Good enough” isn’t “good enough”. So why do a job that you aren’t proud of? Excellence should be the standard we strive for in all we do.
12. Respect the environment
Years ago, going “green” wasn’t’ even a term. Today it is expected. We depend on this world for our survival. Every person needs to do their part to protect and efficiently utilize what this world has given us. Developing and being aware of good environmental habits is in everyone’s’ best interests.
People who smile are generally happier in life. When we slouch or walk around with a frown, our minds follow these clues, leading to negative and sad feelings. One of the best habits for finding a happy state of mind, is to put a smile on your face. This also inspires those around us to smile – it’s contagious!
Clutter is distracting. Whether its your home, office, or work space, if it’s in a state of disarray, it will make your ability to focus much more difficult. Take the time to organize your space. Start with a single room, drawer or closet and work your way up. And once you are organized and clutter free, create a habit of keeping it that way. You’ll be much more likely to stay focused and on task.
15. Me time
Many times this is further down on our list of priorities, or never makes our priority list at all. However, for successful people, “me time” makes the list. Creating time for yourself instills happiness and peace of mind. The goal is to find happiness in life. So why not enjoy some of the things we love in life every day. Whether it’s just for 10 minutes or 10 hours, do something you love. Your happiness depends on it.