What makes a happy and successful person? What habits and routines do they have that I don’t? How can I improve my life by doing what they are doing? These are some questions I ask myself often.
I'm curious. Curious to find out what's different, what separates the successful from the merely average. Because if one thing I know, is that you can't get to where you want to go if you're doing what everybody else is doing. Unless your destination is completely average and mediocre.
But before we dive into that conversation on what habits and routines we can start to apply in our daily lives, let's define success.
My definition of success is: Having a family that loves and respects you. Leaving a legacy of kindness and integrity. Having the ability to make money, while also having the self-discipline to manage it the right way. Having true friends that would die in a heartbeat for you. Having the emotional maturity to put others before you, and put your ego on the shelf.
Here’s what success is NOT: Being the wealthiest person that nobody likes. Multiple failed marriages and messy lawsuits. A family that doesn’t know or respect you. Living in a beautiful mansion by yourself.
Too often we confuse those two versions of success. We get true success mixed up with what we have been taught, and what we see in the theaters. Don’t believe what you've been taught. Throw out everything you thought you knew, because true success is rare, and it’s not easy.
But if you’re ready to start on the difficult journey towards real and true success, start with these five habits that you can start using in your life today
1. Practice gratitude and joy daily
The truly successful know that happiness isn’t something that is achieved. It is something that is chosen. One way you can do that is by expressing gratitude daily.
Write down three things that you are grateful for today. If you want to go even further, share those three things with a friend, or on social media. Because there can never be too much good in the world. Share the good in your life.
If you’re looking for something good in your life, and you need some encouragement, consider checking this out. And never forget, happiness is always a choice.
2. Eat right and exercise right
Your body is your greatest asset. If it’s not working, then you’re not working. We must protect the asset.
The obvious way to do this is to eat and exercise right. But that's much easier said than done for most of us.
I have a very simple plan in place for exercising that works for me, where I complete different activities on different days of the week. For example, on two days out of the week I go on a 2-3 mile run. The rest of the days I do a simple 7 minute workout exercise, or I switch it up with some light lifting. And that’s it. No flashy plan, just something simple that works for me, something that I planned out in 15 minutes or less. Your plan may look completely different, it may be even more basic than mine, but the bottom line is this: without a plan, you have no way of reaching your destination.
For eating right, try cooking your own meals more. Eat out less, eat in more. Ask Mom to teach you how to cook again (especially for men, do it.) Be informed about what you’re putting into your body. Read the ingredients list on the food you buy. Don’t just be a blind consumer, be proactive and be intentional about what you buy, and what you feed yourself with. Without your health, you have nothing.
And get the sleep you need. Our bodies need a minimum of 7 hours, but 8 is optimal. The vast majority of successful people go to bed early, and wake up early. If you’re a night owl, consider reading this and this.
3. Have structured, planned out days
The most successful people are the most meticulous planners. They have every minute of every day planned out, even if they plan to relax and do nothing. Because, as mentioned before, the most basic plan is better than a life of great intentions gone to waste.
When they go to bed at night, they take the time to plan out what the next day will look like. And the next week, and month. They realize that if you fail to plan, you're planning to fail.
Now, plans change. We are always growing, and oftentimes we realize that the plans we made yesterday, won't work for the person we have become today. So we change those plans and stay flexible. But the truth remains: we need a plan in place in order to succeed. There are no shortcuts.
4. Be an avid learner
As the saying goes, leaders are readers. If you’re not filling your mind with some form of learning - whether it is through books, podcasts, mentorships, or online courses - then you are digressing.
The happiest, most successful people are constantly looking for new ways to stretch themselves, always looking for ways to add value to people and improve their skillsets . Even when they reach a high level of achievement or performance, still they maintain their love of learning and bettering themselves.
They know that if you’re not moving forward, you’re going backwards. So commit yourself to being a lifelong student, an avid lover of learning, open-minded and willing to try new things, even if they may not work out.
5. Surround yourself with great community and positive people
This is one of the most critical habits you can cultivate. If you want to focus on just one habit, start here.
All successful and wealthy people know that, without great people, you won’t get to where you want to go. Without great relationships in place, we have no backbone for going anywhere. They are what matters, truly.
And one of the most important things in community is to find positive and uplifting people. People who take personal responsibility for their actions, and people who are disciplined and mature enough to know their weaknesses, admit them, and work on them. Defensive people, or ones who are easily offended, can be toxic to any relationship.
Practical Next Steps
Start applying these 5 habits to your own life. Start with one, work hard on implementing that one habit into your own life, and when you have a good feeling about it, then you can start on another habit.
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