Success Habits For Dummies
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon
Whether you want to know how to succeed in life or how to succeed in business, you need to create habits for success. Success, or excellence, is always created by establishing positive, repetitive habits. Unfortunately, almost anything we do repeatedly can lose its luster, passion, and energy. Without doing something repeatedly, you won’t establish it as a habit. When you focus on repeating the actions that lead to success, you create habits. So, repeating and success are like peas and carrots: They go together.

success habits © Millena / Shutterstock

Daily habits for success

Success is created through consistency turned into repetition. A singular morning routine is not habit, nor is it repetition. A morning routine executed a single time is an act. An act by itself will not determine success or failure. It must be linked together in succession and consistency to create success.

You can create new habits for success, have them take hold, and apply commitment to continue in a day or even a week. It takes weeks of repeating that act to establish and cement it as a habit in your routine of success.

Here are a few basic things to do daily to increase your chances of being successful in whatever endeavors you choose to pursue in life.

Step 1: Get up early

Not all of us are morning people, but most early risers tend to compact more work and productivity in their day. If you get up one hour earlier than you’re doing presently, if you use it to make more sales calls or complete more reports, if you use that hour to work on self-improvement through reading and studying, then that one hour each work day equates to 30 extra full work days in a year. It’s like having 13 months in a year to achieve your goals. You won’t miss the hour of sleep.

Step 2: Invest at least an hour a day learning

Renowned investor Warren Buffett spends more than 80 percent of his day reading. He reads five newspapers per day, each day. You don’t have to read newspapers or books; you can listen to podcasts or attend classes or take online courses. And with audio books, you can even use your drive time in the car to educate yourself. Whatever knowledge has brought you to the level of success you are enjoying, it will not be enough knowledge to keep you there.

Step 3: Move your body each day

Don’t neglect the temple in which you live. There is a direct connection between physical health, mental health, and wealth. Becoming successful takes energy and stamina. It’s hard to take charge, go against the herd, “stand your ground,” and delay gratification of now when you’re tired and not physically ready. In the competitive world we live in, you need physical stamina and energy to build your business or brand to attract customers and client.

Step 4: Rest

High achievers are frequently poor at rest, but your body and mind requires downtime to operate well. You need fun, recreation, and friendships to be able to achieve a fulfilled life of success. And your body requires enough sleep nightly to be prepared for a new day of challenges and opportunities ahead.

Time-wasting behaviors that lead you away from success

If creating habits for success is your goal, you probably need to figure out how to stop wasting time. With all the things you have to accomplish in a given day, wouldn’t it be nice if the day were just a bit longer?

Before you start thinking of ways to slow the rotation of the Earth, try to cut out some serious time-wasters — or at least reduce the amount of time you devote to them. It’ll seem like you’re gaining a few hours in your day to invest in activities and success habits that are important to you.

What follows are some of the most voracious devourers of your precious time.

Avoid Being Sucked into Social Media

As a business tool, if you are trying to deepen your relationship with prospects, customers, and clients, there are many effective ways to monetize your relationships through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. There are also opportunities to waste so much time through any social media platform that you may suddenly realize you’ve been on Facebook for the last few hours. Where did those few hours go? Here are some strategies to successfully protect you from having social media overtake your afternoon.

  • Set specific times that you check your social media platforms. Don’t be checking every few minutes, but scheduled times.
  • Turn off notifications that pop up on the screen, chime or ding, or inform you of a post or comment. This applies to all social media platforms. If you are a regular contributor to the social media world, following tweets, or reading posts from a number of friends or even celebrities, your phone could be blowing up all day long. You are bound to be frequently distracted and less productive.

If you want to really stand out from the other employees in the company you work for, put your phone in your backpack, purse, or locker until your break or lunch hour.

Limit Time Surfing the Web

Nothing is wrong with hanging ten on the Internet — as long as the ten isn’t ten hours. The Internet is incredibly valuable as a time-saving tool. Just think how much faster pulling data and tracking down information is than in the past. But the web is a storehouse of useless information as well. You can spend hours sifting through waves of data in search of what you really want to know.

When using the Internet for research or information-gathering, it pays to stay focused on your mission: What are you in search of? The annual report from a company you’re pursuing as a client? The best bed-and-breakfasts available in St. Thomas in May? Don’t get sidetracked by related information that steers you off-course. Put specific phrases in quotation marks to get exact matches, or use the advanced search features to avoid certain words or limit your search to .org, .com, .gov, or .edu sites as needed. Bookmark sites you find especially useful or copy and paste important info into a separate document, along with the URL where you found it, for later reference.

Don’t Stay Glued to the Tube

According to the Nielsen Company, the average person in the United States watches more than 33 hours of TV per week. Think about it: If you could eliminate that much viewing time, it’d be like having an eight-day week. Just think of all you could do with 33 extra hours: read a good book, spend time with your family, take a class, start working out — and even get a good night’s sleep!

If you’re a committed TV watcher, kicking the habit cold turkey probably isn’t realistic. Here are some ways to wean yourself off evenings and weekends glued to the couch:

  • Leave the TV off if you’re not watching it. Some folks like to have the tube on for company, but it’s too tempting to wander over and plop yourself down if the tribe is about to cast another member off the island.
  • Preplan your TV schedule. Decide what’s really important for you to watch. On Tuesday evening, if it’s the 9 p.m. crime investigation series, so be it. But don’t turn on the TV until it starts and turn it off immediately upon seeing the closing credits.
  • Schedule no-watch zones throughout your week. Maybe set aside a specific weeknight or weekend day when all household TVs remain off.
  • Reduce the number of TVs in your home. Keep the TV out of the kitchen and bedroom, especially. Just as diet experts advise weight watchers to eat only in certain places in their houses, limiting the number of TVs helps keep the habit under control.
  • Prerecord what you want to watch and view it on your own schedule. The added bonus? You get to skip over all the commercials, which reduces your viewing time by about one-third!

Don’t Fail to Stop and Think

When you spend too little time in preparation, you’re forced to spend too much time in execution. The time you invest in collecting, compiling, and organizing your thoughts before you begin a project pays off in time savings and in the quality of the outcome.

Not only does planning ahead eliminate problems before you start, but it also helps you imagine how you’ll perform the task. When you address the situation in advance, you feed your subconscious with the tools and information it needs to work on the problems, often without your awareness. That’s kind of like sticking bread dough in a warm space and letting it rise overnight. Just consider your planning efforts to be the yeast that causes your projects to rise to their full potential.

Preparation is valuable in efforts big and small. Even ten minutes at the end of a day to review your schedule and set out the materials you’ll need is sure to increase your productivity and effectiveness the next day.

Don’t Work without Breaks

There’s a point of diminishing return where your focus and concentration start to fall dramatically. Too many people grind through, skip breaks, and cross that threshold. They sit and read the same paragraph over and over again because they’re tired and out of focus. They review the same report again without realizing it until they’re halfway through it.

Everyone needs breaks from routine and the tasks at hand. You should take frequent breaks but for very short durations. If you’re given two 15-minute breaks a day plus your lunch hour, ask your boss if it would be acceptable to instead take three 10-minute breaks or two 5-minute breaks and two 10-minute breaks for the day. That way, you’re using the same amount of allotted break time to more effectively regain your focus and energy.

Stop Believing in the Myth of Multitasking

The scientific evidence overwhelmingly suggests that multitasking — switching back and forth between two or more tasks — is an extremely ineffective way to get things done. Researchers say that when you multitask, you’re making your brain take time to switch to a different skill set and a different memory experience.

For those projects and tasks that require your best effort, you’re better off to focus on one at a time. Here’s how to keep yourself focused on the task at hand:

  • Turn off your cellphone or forward your phone to go directly to voicemail. Even if you intend not to answer a call, the notification halts your attention and slows your progress.
  • If working on the computer or a tablet, set your e-mail program so you’re not notified every time you receive a new message. You may check your e-mail at certain time intervals or even arrange to check and respond to e-mail in your time-block schedule.
  • If you’re working on a report, article, or some project that demands a lot of concentration, set aside at least one hour of uninterrupted time. You may not be able to finish it in that hour, but you’ll get a good jump on it. An hour of focus is about all most people can do on an intense project without some type of break to get a cup of coffee or visit the restroom or just do a stretch.

Stop Demanding Perfection

If you’re expecting perfection out of yourself or others, you’re wasting your time. Letting imperfection keep you from pursuing recreational interests or your career goals can end up limiting your fulfillment in life.

The amount of time, effort, energy, and emotion required to achieve perfection dramatically reduce production. You may invest as much time and energy to move from a 95 percent performance score to the 100-percent mark as you do to go from 0 to 95 percent. You’re much better off investing your energy in starting something new than focusing on perfection.

Avoid Spending Time with Negative People

Success takes hard work. When your desire is to be more successful, you will encounter people in life that don’t share your desire, your attitude of positivity and success. One way to bring down your energy level, reduce your enthusiasm, darken your outlook, slow your productivity, and drain your glass from half-full to almost-empty is to invest your time in negative people. The more you reduce the influence they have on your life, the happier and more productive you can be.

Do your best to minimize the time you spend in the company of curmudgeons and contrarians. Not only do you take back valuable time to direct toward positive endeavors, but their absence also breaks the dark spell over your optimistic outlook.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Dirk Zeller is recognized internationally as one of the premier speakers and coaches on sales, success, time management, and peak performance. Dirk's proven systems and strategies take ordinary performers and transforms them into extraordinary performers. Zeller's strategies on wealth and success enable anyone to achieve financial independence in their life.

This article can be found in the category: