Top 5 Habits of Successful People

Being successful in business is not for the fainthearted.  Success, by whatever measure you use, takes effort, time and above all good habits.  We know that business owners and entrepreneurs take on massive risks when starting and running a business and 85 to 90% will fail within the first 5 years.
So to help you beat the odds, I want to share with you some of the daily habits I have observed that successful people have.  Over the past 25 or so years as a keen observer of people, I have identified some of the habits which seem to be universal and practical which could work for you and me.
Instead of looking for the stuff which is driven by hero worship, for example, wearing the same style and colour of T-shirt and jeans every day because that is what Steve Jobs did, I have rather tried to focus on those habits which have a real and long lasting effect on business.  Let’s face it, not everyone looks good in a black T-shirt and jeans, while often looking cool, are as little a guarantee of success as is wearing a Gucci suit or a Rolex watch.
So let me give you the 5 top habits of success people I have observed and why they are the top habits.
  • Plan Tomorrow Today

This is the number one habit I have seen in the people I have interviewed and met over the past 25 years.  If you plan tomorrow today, you already know what you have to do the following day.  You will be more rested and more energetic and ready to go when you wake up.  We all know though that life does not always work out as we plan, but if you do plan and plan the day before, you will be better prepared than your competitors, you will be way ahead of them and you will more easily deal with unplanned for events.

  • Nail The One Big Thing First Every day

Often the biggest thing in our day is the thing we least like doing or the most difficult task of the day.  Many of us put off doing these things because we don’t want to do them and then find we have to move them on to tomorrow list.  They then seem just grow in scale, complexity, and challenge.

There is a train of thought which suggests getting something small done first thing in the morning, will give you momentum and a small win that will set you up for bigger wins as the day goes along.  Although it may work for some people, I have not seen it work for successful people.

But by getting the One Big thing nailed first, you will feel a massive sense of accomplishment and the smaller stuff will be a breeze for the rest of the day.  This should be a part of your planning from the day before.

  • Exercise Body and Mind

Bill Gates reads 50 books a year, Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading and Mark Cuban insists on reading 3 hours a day.  They are exercising their minds with new ideas and thoughts, learning from other peoples mistakes and successes.  Oprah Winfrey said ‘books are my pass to personal freedom.’

Richard Branson wakes up early every day to kite surf, swim or play tennis and claims to get 4 hours more productivity a day from regular exercise.

Unfortunately, most business people believe they don’t have the time to read or exercise, but will spend hours in front of the TV or computer and wonder why they are not as successful as they hope to be.

Now I am not suggesting you read a book a week or 50 books a year.  I also am not suggesting you spend hours and hours in the gym.

However, half an hour exercise every day will do you wonders and read one book a year that you get 4 or 5 gems from is great.

Just be aware of what you read and the gems you learn.  Books like ‘Over the Top’ by Zig Ziglar or ‘The 5 Pieces to Lifes Puzzle’ by Jim Rohn are a great place to start.  You may want something more focused like a book on leadership and I would recommend my book, Audacious Leadership.  Or you may want more information on KPIs and I would recommend my friend Jeff Smith’s #1 best seller, The KPI Book.

Half an hour in the gym or a brisk walk 4 times a week is all it takes to get more oxygen and nutrition into your cells, making them more efficient and do their job better.  All this means is that you will function at a higher level with just a small amount of effort.

  • Talk To Themselves

Although this may sound strange, talking to yourself has some amazing benefits.  However, it is not just talking to yourself that will make you more successful.  It is saying the right things that will make you successful.

We have all heard it said, ‘Talking to yourself is the first sign of madness’ but it turns out that when we talk to ourselves, there are some very important cognitive and memory functions that go on and there are now suggestions that it could be the first sign of success.

Although you may need to hide talking to yourself by pretending to be talking on your phone, it will lower your stress level and boost your achievement.  It helps you remember names and details better, will help you feel better about yourself and your achievements and will get you to push yourself harder and further than you thought possible.

And talking to yourself is more normal than you may think.  We all ask ourselves questions about a variety of things regularly.  From, ‘Where have I left my keys?’ to ‘Now that was a dumb thing to do!’

It is not that we talk to ourselves that is the issue.  It is what we say and how we respond to what we say.  By changing the words you use about yourself, about circumstances, about people, you can change your actions, your attitudes and consequently your results.

  • Make Consistent Time for Silent Reflection.

Whatever your chosen method of taking time out to be still, quiet and thoughtful is, it is something I have seen most successful people do consistently and in fact daily.  Most often I have found that successful people have some form of quiet time in the morning before they start their day.  Some people set aside 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes at midday, which helps then separate the day into 2 parts and they find their time is more productive.

It helps you with your perspective and allows you to come up with solutions to problems you may be facing.  It should be a time when you can reflect on yesterday and mentally prepare for today.

During a time of reflection, some people take notes of their thought and their emotions.  Studies have shown there are huge benefits to journaling and combining it with this time when you have stilled your mind, could make your journaling of greater value in the future.

So there are the top 5 habits I have observed in the successful people I know, have worked with or have read about.

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