Have you ever felt like there's something common among all successful people, but you can't exactly put your hands on it? You know, people like Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerburg, Bill Gates, and the list goes on.
Well, while, of course, they aren't identical per se, at the end of the day, it all boils down to the daily patterns each of them has for themselves. Really, success is much easier than it looks – only if you stay on the right path.
So, with that being the case, we've compiled the top 5 things successful people do every day. You'll be surprised by how simple they are but have proven themselves time and time again to give you an edge in life. Read on!
1. They Set SMART Goals
We all have goals, don’t we? For most of us, goals and aspirations are what keep us going and provide us with a sense of direction and purpose. If you’re living your life without goals, you’ll end up feeling demotivated. But sometimes, goals can also make us feel overwhelmed.
Why? Because as much as it’s great to be ambitious, you need to be realistic so that you don’t end up stretching yourself too thin and taking on too much at once. By taking on too much, your chances of falling behind are higher, and you’ll end up losing motivation and losing the drive to keep going.
So, what’s the solution? Setting SMART goals to guide your goal setting! SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. In more depth, your goals should be:
- S (specific): Concise, well-defined, and detailed.
- M (measurable): Assessable through certain criteria that can be tracked to measure your progress.
- A (achievable): Feasible and attainable.
- R (realistic): Sensible and practical in line with the purpose of your life.
- T (timely): Happens over a clearly defined period of time to stimulate urgency.
To put this into perspective, a generic goal would be something like “I want to be fluent in French”, while a specific one would be “I want to enroll in a French language class at the nearest language center and attend classes four days a week to master the language.”
To make it measurable, you could say, "every week, I will aim to learn 20 new words", and to make it timely, you could say, "In three months, I will have taken my French vocabulary to the next level if I learn 20 new words over the course of each month".
And last but not least, to ensure that the goal is achievable and realistic, you’d need to make sure you have the resources to help you achieve the goal, like the course fees and the time availability, for instance.
By setting SMART goals for yourself, you’re guaranteeing overall success by achieving one goal at a time rather than setting all the goals for yourself at once or setting unrealistic ones that you can’t follow through with!
2. They Lead Well-Balanced Lives
The more balanced you feel, the more free you feel – that’s a rule. While “balance” may have different meanings for different people, we’re talking about feeling that you’re in charge of the different aspects of your life and aren’t being pulled too hard in one direction against the other, against your will.
For successful people, it's mostly about work-life balance, having to put in too many 80-hour weeks consecutively, and feeling out of whack. Unfortunately, while most of us are conscious of this overworking, most of us also fall into the pressure trap that demands us to be working all the time.
As Arianna Huffington wrote in her book Thrive on work-life balance, “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” But that’s not true.
And for that reason, successful people never stop striving to find balance in their lives until they achieve it. Naturally, some times and circumstances call for particular actions, and it's okay to get busy every once in a while at work. But the idea is always to be conscious about it and get back into balance at the soonest opportunity.
No, you don't have to be working 24 hours, 7 days a week – no matter how many times anyone says it. If anything, if you live like that, you'll eventually burn out, and you'll have sacrificed your health, relationships, and me-time! Instead, work your hours 100% and make them productive so that you have free time for your life.
So, the bottom line is that you need to make (not find) time for all the essential things in your life because a balanced life is the only way you'll hang in there until you achieve all your goals. Take Huffington's word for it: you can afford to take time away from work, but you can't afford not to.
3. They Know How to Set and Maintain Healthy Boundaries
Do you ever feel like everything's too much and work, especially, is unmanageable? Do you get many work requests at very short notice and have to get them done promptly? Do you find yourself saying yes to things you deep inside want to say no to? If the answer is yes to any of these, you're not alone.
But there’s a solution, and it’s called boundaries. As Tony Gaskins once said, “You teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” So, it’s all in your power to work smarter, boost your productivity, and gain respect – all by setting healthy boundaries.
While it's true that most of us were raised to rarely say no, it's totally okay to say no and actually necessary sometimes. You need to say no when you'll be taking on more than you can handle, if you won't have time to get a task done, if a task is being asked of you after working hours or during vacation, if a task is outside of your responsibilities, if you're simply trying to preserve your work-life balance and more.
Of course, you shouldn't say no to everything that you're asked to do either – find the middle ground according to your needs. It's always about how to say it, the situation, and the justifications you'll provide so you don't stir up conflicts, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be afraid to say no occasionally.
So, say no to that extra hour or two of work, and say yes to time off because work will never end! You deserve as much time as you put into work to preserve your wellbeing. Back off when you need to if it’s for the sake of taking care of yourself, whether mentally or physically, or both.
4. They Embrace Failure
At a Harvard commencement ceremony in 2013, Oprah Winfrey said, “There’s no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” But it’s not just Winfrey who takes failure with a grain of salt – most successful people take failure as a learning opportunity and take notes of the lessons learned from the experience.
If you've noticed, whether in books, interviews, videos, or programs, successful people always take pride in their failures and sometimes even tell their failure stories more than they do their successful ones. No one builds an empire on the stroke of fate, so failure is inevitable, and you need to pick yourself up from it and keep going!
If you look at failure from the right perspective, you’ll understand that failure is a stepping stone to your success and takes you closer to it. In essence, success is really composed of a series of failures and lessons learned, so don’t let failures drive your focus away from your ambitions and weigh you down.
If you let failures consume you, you’re headed in the right direction, whereas if you embrace your failures, they’ll continue to merely be some bumps along your road to success!
5. They Take Care of Their Health
Finally, successful people not only know the value of their health, but they also keep it a priority, no matter how busy their lives get. That's why they're proactive about their physical health, exercising, and eating healthy.
That often results in days that start before 8:00 AM to allocate time to prepare healthy meals, workout or exercise before work, and even just sit in the bright sunlight for an hour or two before the business of the day takes over. So, basically, successful people never take their bodies for granted or abuse them because they know their health is more important than anything else.
Of course, waking up early to get these things done isn’t a must and isn’t always doable. But what should be a must among your priorities are eating healthy and exercise, not only because they improve your physical health but also because they impact your productivity and energy levels.
Therefore, the next time you grab an energy drink to give you an instant boost without taking away time from your schedule, pause and think for a second about your health. You need to fuel your body properly so that it could serve you, so take the time to understand what foods work best for your energy.
Inspired? Achieve the Next Big Thing Now!
See? Like we promised, the habits of successful people are all quite simple and can easily be implemented in your day-to-day life if you set your mind to them. It’s all about breaking down success into milestones and practical actions and attitudes so that it doesn’t seem overwhelming.
So, now that you’re aware of the habits you should plug into your life, start tomorrow with a clean slate, set SMART goals for yourself, work towards a well-balanced life, set boundaries, embrace failure, and most of all, take care of your health! Then, enjoy the success you’ll reap!