1,440 minutes—that’s the time that each of us has in a day.
What we do with that time makes a significant impact on our productivity and overall success. You reap what you sow. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” The habits listed here aren’t earth-shattering. The key is to practice them routinely, not just once in a while.
Successful people don’t work harder, they work smarter. The following seven habits prepare both your body and your mind to be more successful in your professional and personal life.
1) Master Your Mind
Meditation calms the mind and allows it to function in a healthier way.
Regular meditation improves focus and decreases anxiety. It will help you have a better memory, be less stressed, and increase your creativity. Taking the time to practice mindful stillness just a few minutes a day will improve your productivity. Your meditation could be yoga, prayer, or simply taking the time to practice being still.
When you let go of problems and stresses, you gain a more open and centered mind to work out productive solutions. Think of it as investing in your own cognitive performance.
2) Use Your Pen
Daily writing is a learning process that will help you work through personal progress, set goals, and learn from failures.
Reflect on the observed successes and failures of others, too. Journaling is an effective way to learn about yourself and find solutions to problems and stressful situations more quickly than you would otherwise. This key to self-awareness is an easy habit if you use the right tools. Keep a notebook with you at home and work and track your own success.
3) Begin with Mindfulness
Establish morning routines and stick to them—even on weekends.
Morning routines shouldn’t include putting out fires and going through your email inbox. That is a sure way to start your day with a stressful “fight or flight” response. Rather than spending your morning reacting, use that time to be more mindful and focus on goals. Center your consciousness and prepare yourself to follow a plan for the day.
This could be the time of day when you practice meditation. A routine that will help you start the day in a focused way should include light exercise, good nutrition, and mindful reflection.
4) Be Confident, But Humble
Self-awareness gives us the perspective to take criticism well, be objective, and avoid the trap of overconfidence.
Be both humble and proud. Successful people know they don’t achieve anything completely by themselves. They acknowledge everyone involved in their successes. They realize failure is just part of the process and are willing to learn everything they can when something goes wrong. Recognize others’ successes! Self-awareness helps successful people to be unafraid when facing unknown situations. They’re okay with feeling a little uncomfortable.
5) Practice Gratitude
We can always come up with new things to want. But it’s important to first be grateful for what we already have.
Practicing gratitude improves your health, relationships, emotions, personality, and career. People who are grateful and happy with what they have and where they are in life are more satisfied with their life circumstances in general and look at their lives with much less anxiety.
Individuals who have a habit of practicing gratitude are more compassionate towards and generous with the people around them. Many people talk about the secret to happiness. Gratitude is at the core of happiness, and successful individuals practice gratitude daily. You can keep a journal and reflect on the things you are grateful for in meditation or prayer, but gratitude should eventually be an ingrained perspective that affects your daily approach to all of the situations you encounter in your life.
6) Stay Physically Active
Having the energy to accomplish all that you need to do (and to do it well) is everything when it comes to success.
With regular physical exercise, we are able to decrease stress, increase energy, and keep our bodies in top shape. Getting enough exercise and plenty of sleep gives you the energy you need to be your most productive self. Stay active and make time for hobbies. Exercise and play relieve stress and foster creativity. Both your body and mind need to be in top shape for you to function at peak levels. Physical activity doesn’t need to be intense, just regular.
7) Learn to Say the Hardest Word
How often do you tell people “no?”
Prioritize tasks and do what’s most important. Every time you say “yes” to something, you’re saying “no” to something else. Make sure what you’re saying yes to will get you on track to making progress rather than wasting your time. Say no to things that don’t matter, and yes to things that add value. Look at this as an opportunity to delegate responsibilities. Trust others and take advantage of opportunities you have to teach them what you know. This will allow them to progress on their own path to success. You don’t need to take care of everything.
Successful people are flexible and have the ability to see situations from multiple perspectives for better overall understanding. Their self-awareness fosters resilience in difficult life situations. Even when they work with different personalities, they’re able to easily adapt to the circumstances and arrive at optimal solutions that will help everyone reach their goals. Having the ability to pause and take someone else’s perspective makes these people more compassionate, grateful, and willing to help others.
By routinely practicing the seven habits listed above, you will create the critical habits necessary for success. Professional achievement, overall happiness, and life satisfaction are the byproducts of making a real investment in yourself. Start with one new practice at a time and keep track of your progress!