The Top 6 Habits of Successful People
If you grew up like me, you probably got the impression that success is all about luck and opportunity. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that luck and opportunity play a role in every part of our lives, but success comes more easily when it’s accompanied by deliberate habits and a productive mindset. There are plenty of places where you can read about different techniques to improve your mindset and set habits that will lead you to your goals, but here is a list of 6 habits that, I believe, will lead you to success.
If you’re looking to amp up your productivity, you’ve come to the right place! So, are you ready to unlock the secrets to success? Let’s jump right in!
1. Set and Plan Clear Goals — Don’t Just Daydream
So, what does being successful mean to you? Your definition is probably different than mine, but one thing we can agree on is that success often refers to a meaningful state of finally reaching our goals and purposes in life. There are no fixed rules, really, in terms of being successful. However, having clear goals can be the common starting point for achieving them.
Goals, goals, goals. We’ve heard it a million times that goal setting is the only way to move intensionally toward success. Especially during times of change, people cling to their goals and values in an attempt to push through hardship. But setting a goal isn’t as simple as picking a path and walking down it. Studies have shown that the planning behind your goals is just as important as the goal, itself.
To start on your journey, you’re going to need a roadmap. It’s not enough to simply wish for success — you need to define it by knowing what you want to achieve and setting clear, measurable objectives to reach it.
When you set a goal, it needs to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. Let’s take a typical example in freelancing: instead of saying, “I want to be successful,” a better goal would be “I will increase my annual client work by 20% within the next 12 months.”
The idea of goal setting and planning is simple to understand, but it’s easier said than done. Don’t worry, you can try these tips to practice:
- Record your goals and plans using a journal, infographic ideas, or digital tool
- Stay aligned with your aspirations by reviewing your objectives regularly
- Refine your plans by seeking feedback from mentors and peers
- Be adaptable and open to adjustments as circumstances change.
- Motivate yourself by celebrating your achievements, no matter how small or big
Once you have a long-term goal, you can start breaking it into smaller, actionable steps that will lead you toward your goal. This roadmap will help you to see how close you are to success and what you can do to push yourself along or pick yourself up when you’re feeling unmotivated.
2. Manage Time Effectively
As cliché as it may sound, we all have the same 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The way that we manage our time has a direct impact on how much we are able to achieve and how quickly, or effectively, we can achieve our goals.
If you struggle with time management, you aren’t alone and there are plenty of ways that you can improve your habits. You can start by prioritizing your tasks — tackle the most important ones first and minimize distractions.
Some other common methods to help improve your time management skills include:
- The Pomodoro Technique: Break work into intervals (typically 25 minutes) followed by short breaks. This technique harnesses the power of time pressure to enhance concentration and productivity.
- Time Blocking: Allocate specific time slots for different tasks or activities. This technique gives sufficient time to essential duties to avoid overcommitment. You can track this using a daily planner or your Google calendar.
- To-Do Lists: Organize tasks, set priorities, and experience the satisfaction of crossing items off of the list when they are completed.
Keep in mind, that when you are completing tasks to increase productivity, you shouldn’t overwork yourself. Even if you are getting tasks done more quickly, you don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your work, or your own energy and mental stability. Effective time management includes understanding your boundaries — unplugging and resting when you need to is vital. Make sure to take regular “brain breaks” to make sure that your mind is getting the rest and recovery it needs.
Focus on allocating your time efficiently, not only for your professional hours, but also for personal time with yourself, friends, and family.
3. Never Stop Learning
The next, and my favorite, tip for increasing your success to to have endless curiosity and a drive for continuous development. This development doesn’t even necessarily have to be professional. Constantly learning and growing is one of the best ways to keep your mind healthy, especially in stressful environments.
Learning is a lifelong journey, and it’s up to us to take advantage of opportunities to invest in our personal and professional development. This habit helps us adapt to changing circumstances and stay at the forefront of our respective fields.
To cultivate a mindset that allows for continuous growth, try to always be welcoming towards new information and experiences. Treating each experience as a learning opportunity will help you to grow and experience more opportunities in the future. Understand that we’ll always have more to learn and we never can fully understand every aspect of an idea. View each challenge as an opportunity to expand your understanding and expertise.
Thanks to the internet and the wide accessibility of educational material, you can take advantage of this information by
- Reading books, articles, and research papers
- Attending courses, workshops, and seminars for more structured learning experiences
- Seeking guidance from mentors who are experts in your field
- Exchanging ideas with friends and colleagues
- Watching educational videos and documentaries
To find our favorite courses, tools, and educational resources, you can check out our Freelancer Resources page.
Remember that learning without action is just as ineffective as ignorance. Don’t forget to put into practice what you have learned. This practical application helps solidify your understanding and enhances your skill set.
4. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Maintaining your focus despite the gazillion distractions that we face every day is challenging, but oh-so essential! You can start to grow your focus and patience by practicing mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, and eliminating unnecessary distractions like smartphones. Essentially, you need to practice working on one task with full focus to complete it to your full potential.
You can train your mind to become more aware and disciplined through meditation. Here’s how meditation supports productivity:
- Mindful breathing: Meditation often starts with focusing on the breath. Simply inhaling and exhaling brings the mind into the present moment, fostering a sense of inner calm.
- Enhanced concentration: Regular meditation strengthens the “attention muscle.” It allows individuals to hold their focus on a single point for more extended periods, making them less susceptible to distractions.
- Lessening stress: Meditation reduces stress by activating the body’s relaxation response. It enhances your well-being, which leads to better decision-making and problem-solving.
To make mindfulness and meditation part of your daily routine, consider applying these simple tips:
- Start with short meditation sessions like yoga practices, gradually increasing the duration.
- Find a quiet, comfortable place for your practice, free from distractions.
- Experiment with various meditation techniques, such as guided meditation, body scans, or loving-kindness meditations, to discover what works for you.
- Use apps or online resources like social media videos to access guided meditation sessions.
- Consistency is key — aim for daily practice to experience the full benefits.
5. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
When you’re focusing on improving your productivity, maintaining physical and mental health has to be your top priority. With a healthy body and mind, you’ll become more resilient and capable of handling demanding workloads and stressful situations.
Start with physical exercise at home to rev up your engine, boost your mood, and increase your overall energy level. Physical activity stimulates the release of chemical signals to help sharpen your focus, cognitive function, and decision-making process.
Sometimes, these exercise routines also incorporate movements such as gently cracking your lower back to relieve tension and discomfort in your body. These movements, when done safely, can promote flexibility and alleviate stiffness. In return, it helps fix a slouched posture and makes you more comfortable during productive hours.
A healthy lifestyle also includes:
- Maintaining balanced nutrition and meals
- Having adequate sleep
- Nurturing mental well-being by managing your stress levels
Keep an eye on your work-life balance, as it contributes significantly to your healthy lifestyle, and the importance of disconnecting from professional responsibilities during off-hours. That’s right, we don’t recommend checking Slack and Gmail at all hours of the night.
6. Learn to Delegate
Delegation is the key to getting the job done swiftly and accurately. Becoming more successful usually correlates with higher workloads, but it’s important to understand how much you can manage and when you will need help. Hiring help is not a negative thing for your business — it’s a sign that your business is growing and succeeding!
Delegating is also directly linked with time management. Good managers and entrepreneurs understand that working for hours on something that you don’t do well is much less productive than delegating the task to someone who is an expert. It’s okay if you don’t know how to do everything, no one has to.
Delegation allows you to focus on high-impact tasks that align with what you like to do and what you are good at. You’re not the only one that will benefit from sharing tasks. It will also allow others to learn and grow their skills.
You don’t need to be a genius or the luckiest person in the world to be successful in your personal and professional lives. Success comes from a series of habits and practices that allow you to grow, change, and improve the way that you experience work and the world.
When you put in the time and effort that it takes to grow, your success will be just around the corner. By adopting the six practices discussed above, anyone can enhance their productivity and bring them a step closer to success.
While there’s no one-fits-all definition for success, true fulfillment and happiness at work come from consistent effort and intentional choices.