New Year’s resolution: try to worry less, fill that time with oh god what am I supposed to fill that time with this is already going terribly, is just one of my favourite tweets that surfaced after January 2nd this year (more here). Jokes aside, it can be difficult to stick to goals clumsily proclaimed at one am on New Year’s Day. Instead, here’s a list of habits cultivated by successful people to achieve more in day to day life. Let’s call these life success goals, we all know we should be doing them, so get into a routine and don’t quit just because you had an off day.
Get up early
There are some successful people who wake up at 3:30am to go to the gym and answer emails. You’re not Michelle Obama, so you don’t need to go this far but to make the most of the hours in the day you should be out of bed before six. This will give you valuable time to work out and fit in a healthy breakfast.
There’s one activity that successful people have in common, and that is exercise. Keeping fit gives you energy and makes you more productive, which in turn will make you feel more confident. When you’re in good shape you will be more creative, more able to handle stressful situations and feel more positive.
It can be difficult to maintain motivation to exercise especially when it’s cold and miserable outside. If you need a nudge in the right direction, here are some tips and tricks that I’ve found helpful:
- Get a gym buddy. It’s so much more fun working out with a mate and to be frank, you’ll go harder if there’s competition. Bonus – you’re less likely to miss the gym if you’re going to let someone else down.
- Make a plan. Write a schedule for the week including exercises, weights and reps. This can be a bit time consuming, but bodybuilding.com has planner that you can personalise with your goals etc. Honestly, it is the best thing I’ve discovered this year.
- Think outside of the gym. If you’re not a fan of public exercise (I feel you) then find another option. There are a ton of activity videos online that you can do in your living room. This way you don’t have to leave the house AND you can use your own shower after.
- Work out at work. This may be for the more extroverted amongst us but if you have a sedentary desk job then getting moving at work is worth thinking about. As a bare minimum, make sure you’re taking the stairs and stretching every hour, you could even try a walking meeting to get some fresh air.
Keep to a schedule
Successful people go through the day with a plan which they are dedicated to completing. Having a schedule focuses the mind on tasks ahead and makes sure that nothing is forgotten. Remember that there are only 1440 minutes per day, make the most of them.
Have a notebook at all times
Ideas are more likely to become reality when written down. No matter how vivid a thought may be now, you are probably going to forget it, unless it’s inked somewhere you can easily find it. Richard Branson claims that Virgin would not exist if he hadn’t owned a note book, enough said.
Those who have made it in the world know that you don’t get there without failing a few times. They also know that sometimes, you need a pick me up to maintain your enthusiasm. So, if you want to learn a new skill, then book the graphic design course you ‘haven’t had time for’. Or if you’re falling out of love with cycling, go ahead and get one of those carbon fibre road bikes you’ve been dreaming about. Just make sure that these rewards are linked to the other positive habits you are cultivating and not something that will compromise them.
Don’t say yes to everything
To quote Warren Buffet, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Although having a busy and rich social life is essential to being fulfilled, finding a balance is just as important. Saying yes to another tequila with your best mate, is essentially saying no to your morning workout. Be mindful of the choices you are taking and where their consequences will lead you, you’ll thank yourself later.
Only touch things once
If you’re anything like me, you’re incredibly easily distracted and if left unchecked will wander from room to room half finishing things whilst trying to remember what you were doing half an hour ago. Stop doing this and focus on the task at hand. By completing errands straight away, you negate the possibility of forgetting about them later. It will also free up the energy fuelling that niggling feeling left by unfinished/forgotten jobs for better use elsewhere.
Being successful is all about making small changes and sticking to them. By cultivating the above habits, I can guarantee that you will be more productive and probably feel a lot better too. Don’t beat yourself up if you have a bad day though, as Pele so rightly said ‘Everything is practice’.