Aristotle perfectly encapsulated the essence of success in this quote: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
We all know that success directly results from how people spend their time, but what exactly does that look like? If you’re interested in learning more about the bigger picture of successful people’s conventional and unconventional habits, keep reading!
The Conventional Habits of Successful People
To kick things off, we’ll cover the conventional habits of highly successful people. These are the commonly known habits that entrepreneurs have woven into their lifestyles to make their vision a reality.
If you have a growth mindset and are ready to create your business, then keep reading to learn the core day-to-day habits you can begin creating.
Wake Up Early
Across the board, it is consistently found that the morning routine of successful people is a cornerstone of their lifestyle.
One of these individuals’ most consistent morning habits is waking up early. The trick here is not necessarily waking up before the sun rises but a method to create space between the time you wake up and your actual workday.
Creating a sleep routine and sticking to it has many benefits. Here are just a few reasons to try it out:
Higher quality sleep
People that go to bed early, get an average of eight hours of sleep, and rise at the same time each day (yes, even on the weekends) get the most out of their sleeping hours. Enough sleep makes people feel refreshed and recharged each day, improves brain function, and reduces stress hormones. This is one of the best habits on its own as it has a huge impact on their lives.
Establishes meal times
Starting your day right allows your body’s circadian rhythm to sync up naturally with your eating schedule.
Another reason set sleeping hours are beneficial is that it allows people to eat a healthy breakfast before their workday. It seems counterintuitive, but night owls consume around 200 extra calories daily from snacking late at night.
Waking up with plenty of time before your workday allows you to get in a quick workout. The simple act of a 20-minute yoga stretch or a quick walk can profoundly benefit you and your overall mindset for the day.
There is no better time to map out your day’s priorities than right away in the morning. Creating space for this in your team will help lead to long-term achievement.
Sneak in some quiet time
Rising before the world wakes is one of the most peaceful experiences people can have – especially if they have kids. This quiet time is much needed for high-powered individuals.
An early wake-up time can be considered to be a cornerstone habit for success. It is a starting place to build other habits that will help you change your lifestyle and reach your goals!
As you probably guessed, exercise is another common habit among highly successful people. Exercise is not only a tool that keeps us physically fit; it has significant benefits for our brain function and health as well.
Moderate exercise is shown to help cognitive abilities such as problem-solving, learning, and regulating emotions. It has even been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Exercise also goes hand in hand with quality sleep, which will help you establish the first habit of waking up early!
A great goal to hit is at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. This exercise should be moderately intense. That shakes out to about 30 minutes a day for five days a week or a little over 20 minutes for seven days a week.
Alternatively, you can do about 75 minutes of vigorous activity for the same effect; it’s up to you!
There is a lot of debate about which exercise is the best for you, but when it comes down to it, the best exercise routine is one that you will keep consistently. That means the most important element for exercise is to find an activity you enjoy and stick to it!
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to build the habit of exercising. Here are a few ideas that have an extremely low barrier to entry:
- Running, jogging, or walking
- Jumping rope
- Intramural sports (basketball, volleyball, or soccer)
If you feel your heart rate is increased but can still comfortably carry on a conversation, the activity can be categorized as moderate. However, if you cannot carry on a conversation and feel your heart rate is high, that would count as vigorous activity.
Examples of vigorous activity would include sprinting or a high-intensity interval training workout.
Within just one week of exercising regularly, you will begin to see the benefits!
Streamline Their Meals
Eating healthy is another daily habit of highly successful entrepreneurs and business people. After all, we are what we eat!
Fueling our body with the necessary vitamins and nutrients that are needed is a surefire way to have sustained focus and more energy throughout the entire day.
There is something that you can do that goes even beyond healthy eating- streamlining your entire diet.
One way to reduce decision fatigue is to eat the same meal plan throughout the week. Choosing healthy food you enjoy is the key to making this well-balanced diet work long-term.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to have a restrictive diet or that you can’t enjoy dinners out. It is simply a strategy to cut down on 90% of your thoughts about what to eat and how to cook it.
Write Down Goals
One of the simplest daily habits that sets successful people apart is writing down their goals.
When trying out this success habit, be sure to elaborate not just on what your goals are but on how you will achieve those goals. Then, if you’re unsure where to start, check out the blog for more new ideas.
Another essential element of this habit is a self-reflection on past goals and whether or not you achieved them. Always remember that a failure with a lesson learned is a true success.
Stop Wasting Time
Another habit that successful people share is to eliminate different time-wasters in their life. A time-waster is anything pulling you away from your most important goals and not adding value to your life.
An example of this could be an app you’re wasting time on, social media, or even people in your life. To stop wasting time, start by identifying the time-wasters in your life and eliminating them one by one.
Read More Books
Successful people are often educated people. Education does not necessarily mean education in the traditional sense through schooling; it can also mean self-education.
Accomplished people often spend their spare time reading good old-fashioned books! It is important to note that frequently these people are not just reading books in their specialty area. They cast a wide net with what they are reading and devour books on all different topics.
Creating a great understanding of the world as a whole can be accomplished through reading and often directly benefits their professional endeavors.
To make reading easier, try getting a digital tablet or exploring the world of audiobooks.
Surround Themselves with Role Models
It’s no secret that the people we surround ourselves with directly impact the type of person we become. Therefore, carefully selecting who you share your time and energy with is a huge part of success.
Identifying leaders in your field or role models that carry the values you want to embody can be a game-changer in your journey.
No man or woman is an island and the connections we make, make us!
Successful people create a practice of respecting themselves. Of course, good sleep and exercise are a part of this, but it goes all the way to personal grooming, hygiene, and interior living spaces as well.
Self-care should encapsulate the following categories:
Here are some examples of practical self-care:
- Keeping your home and office space clean and free of excessive clutter
- Keeping up with maintenance tasks involving home and car repairs
- Regularly scheduling routine doctors visits
- Practicing good hygiene
- Scheduling time to relax and recharge
- Spend time with people that you love
- Setting boundaries
- Spend time in nature
When someone is taking care of themselves on all levels, it is no wonder that they can rise to the top.
Outsource Daily Tasks
One effective business strategy is outsourcing skilled labor that you cannot do in-house. Outsourcing is effective because it allows the business to focus on what it does best. It also is the most effective way to keep growing your business without restraints.
The same principles hold true on a personal level. Another essential habit of the high-achieving is to outsource anything that you can! If you have the financial means to hire an assistant, a house cleaner, a driver, etc., this is a worthy investment!
A successful person understands that time is their most important resource and that an opportunity to streamline their life is worth taking.
The Unconventional Habits of Successful People
Now that we have covered all of the conventional habits of successful people let’s dive into some of the unconventional habits! These good habits will cover practices that range from counterintuitive to downright strange.
A successful person is often brave enough to go against the grain and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Let’s dive in!
Create "White Space" Throughout the Day
When picturing a high-powered CEO, you may imagine a super type-A personality type with a to-do list a mile long that is a master of using their time efficiently and staying on task. But as it turns out, doing nothing is another strategy for being productive!
“White space” is the practice of creating time in your day for focused thinking and doing absolutely nothing. It found that rather than attempting to be productive 100% of the day, allowing your mind to wander and be “off-task” makes the time you spend focusing more impactful.
Successful people incorporate time for white space throughout the day to make the time they spend focusing meaningful.
Take Time Off
Alongside “white space” throughout the day, successful people also practice taking time off to rest. The time they take off to rest is a chance to get away from the daily grind, unplug electronics, and recharge their physical, mental, and spiritual batteries.
If you think about it, you’ll see that some of the most highly regarded careers have been encouraged to take time off routinely. One example of this is professors. Most tenured professors are encouraged every 3-5 years to take an entire three months off to increase longevity in their careers.
While hustling to achieve your dreams is important, taking breaks and enjoying yourself are equally crucial for better mental clarity and well-being.
Practice Being Uncomfortable
Successful people are often those that are okay with being uncomfortable in a variety of situations. Many successful people purposefully put themselves in uncomfortable circumstances to practice this.
Here are a few ways that you can practice being uncomfortable in your own life:
Traveling is an enriching experience because it builds resilience in people. In addition, traveling has a way of making you shift your perspective and challenge your worldview.
Anytime you have the opportunity to expand your mind and get out of your comfort zone, you should take it. If you can travel to a place where you are the minority or need to speak a different language, all the better!
Try Something New
Whether it’s a dance class, an instrument, or a type of cuisine, frequently trying something new is an easy and fun way to practice being uncomfortable.
People that are highly successful practice taking risks. They can balance this by realizing that risks that result in losses are just learning experiences. The more calculated risks you can take while young, the wiser you will become.
Practice Public Speaking
No matter your business plan, you will likely need to engage in at least some public speaking to share your ideas effectively! However, public speaking is a skill that has to be practiced to be perfected. If you have a fear of public speaking, you are not alone. Finding the right coach to help you hone your skills will put you on the road to success.
Develop Hobbies and Skills
Often we associate success with laser focus vision on the goal at hand. However, one of the keys to long-term success is developing other hobbies alongside your larger goal.
When thinking of the most remarkable people of our time, you’ll notice that many of them had more than one talent.
For example, Albert Einstein was a fabulous violin player. Leonardo da Vinci was interested in everything under the sun, including architecture and hydraulics. Anna Wintour is a competitive tennis player. The list goes on and on.
The message here is that if you find yourself inclined toward multiple skills, then feel free to pursue all of them! Any time you actively pursue new skills and self-improvement is time well spent.
Being multi-talented allows you to go into a flow state more frequently. Flow is associated with an increased sense of self-worth, happiness, and greater creativity.
Pay Attention to Jealousy
You may have heard the advice to “stop comparing yourself to others.” This is excellent advice and allows people to stay focused on their pursuits and not get bogged down in feeling “less than” because they haven’t followed the same path as other people.
Highly successful people tend to toe the line between comparing themselves to others and carving out their path in the world. The key to doing this is to pay attention to what makes you jealous without getting caught up in feeling ashamed that you aren’t where you want to be yet.
When brewed upon, jealousy is harmful, but successful people can tap into their jealousy to understand what they want in their business and personal life. Then, once they’ve identified it, they can create a plan to achieve their end goal and become their best self.
Create Cues for Focus Time
One conventional habit for successful people is to lock in their focus. The unconventional part of this daily habit is how an individual locks into focus time. This is a habit that is unique to each person and might take some time to figure out!
Here are just a few examples of quirky ways that CEOs get themselves into the headspace they need to get the best results out of their business:
Michael Kors, Steve Jobs, and The Minimalist
All of these people have something in common… They wear a “uniform” every day. This “uniform” helps people not worry about what they will wear each day to reduce decision-making and fatigue and use that brain space for something more substantial.
The CEO of Spanx lives right next door to her company. However, she spends an hour every morning driving around her neighborhood to think. She feels she does her best thinking in the car!
The Nike CEO keeps a notebook to write down his thoughts. However, he keeps his notes a bit differently than many others. He puts his notes for business on one side of the notebook and just sketches and doodles on the other side.
To read more great stories about some of the unusual daily habits of the greatest minds in our history, check out the book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey.
They Ask for Help and Admit What They Don't Know
To become a successful entrepreneur, you need to be wholly honest with both your strengths and your weaknesses. Successful businesspeople lean into their strengths and learn to ask for help when they need extra support. Likewise, dedicating your resources to round out your weak spots is a strategy for success.
For example, an engineer with a phenomenal invention might not know how to market it. A scientist might have a groundbreaking discovery with no ability to write about it for the public. There are countless examples of this! Asking for help takes practice, but it is a sign of strength in a business leader.
The Pathway Towards Success
Now you know the tried and true habits of successful people and some of the more unconventional methods you can try. No matter what your most important goals are, consistent efforts and a willingness to learn will help you reach higher heights than you ever have before.
Streamlining your lifestyle to create a daily routine that works for you is the first step toward a successful life. From there, you will be in a positive mindset to begin working on other new skills, such as public speaking, seeking out mentors, and crafting your business plan.
If you are a growth-minded entrepreneur ready to step into your power and achieve success, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are here to help you succeed.