Are you already wavering on your New Year’s resolutions? It’s okay, you’re not alone. If you want 2017 to be the year that they stick, you are going to need some proven routines to keep you going. Where better to look than at the habits of highly successful people?
We all know the typical things that successful people do differently – wake up early, set goals, network – but what does the next level of successful behavior look like? No matter whether your passion is baking or real estate, everyone has something at which they strive to be successful. While there is no one defined behaviour for successful people, anyone who has spent extensive amounts of time reading interviews of and articles by successful people can agree that there are similar attitudes and behaviors that they possess. There are universal traits and practices that are common to all successful people regardless of their background and field of influence. If you want to create a culture of success in your life, here are the most common and effective habits of successful people to get you started.
They set daily goals.
Most successful people attest to the fact that they do not simply wake up to an agenda filled with random activities. Instead, most successful people come up with large, long-term goals. American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault, for example, states that “at the beginning of each year, I set the key priorities and key objectives”. These priorities and objectives are part of a larger, long-term vision, and are easily achievable when broken down into smaller pieces. Every day, then, successful people take the initiative to set themselves small, daily goals that contribute to the priorities, objectives, and long-term vision. They then plan their day ahead of time to ensure that they have activities and appointments planned that address each of their goals.
They take care of themselves first.
The most valuable resource you have is yourself. Successful people, especially those in the service industry, understand that they need to continually work on their personal brand and physical appearance. They also understand that their social life is as important as their finances and, as such, set aside enough time for leisure activities with friends and family. They know when to stop working. They also know that their bodies need good food, hydration, rest and sleep. On top of physical maintenance, they look out for experiences and relationships that will enhance their lives. They read widely from good authors and engage in positive conversations. They understand that you cannot change the world if you have not taken care of yourself first.
The concept of remembering to attend to one’s own needs is captured by the term self-care. It was coined by and remains a pillar of the work that mental health professionals do every day. There are countless resources that uphold the importance of the practice as well as provide resources in its pursuit. If you are unsure of where to start, I recommend an interactive self-care flowchart by Jace Harr entitled, “You feel Like Shit: An Interactive Self-Care Guide”. It walks the user through his or her needs, beginning with the most basic. As the landing page asserts, it is designed “for people who struggle with self-care, executive dysfunction, and/or who have trouble reading internal signals”. It is a simple, straightforward, and effective first step at attending to yourself when you are not feeling your best.
This may seem trivial to many people, especially given the number of things vying for our attention these days. However, successful people always make time to meditate. What they do during this quiet time varies by personal preference and time of day. If it is the end of a busy day, they might take time to reflect on their goals as well as the day that has passed: their achievements and failures, the status of their personal relationships and their spirituality. The successful people who do this understand that when so much is going on that you do not have time to reflect, it is easy to miss out on the lessons. Since they are continually seeking ways to improve themselves, they take time to reflect on their strengths and areas for growth. If they are feeling particularly drained or negative, they might use the quiet time for positive self-talk. Other times, if they are feeling particularly stressed or overworked, they might choose to focus on their breath and enjoy ten minutes of not thinking at all.
If you are interested in starting a practice but unsure of where to begin, there are many support out there for you, beginning with the mogul Oprah Winfrey. She is a huge proponent of meditation, stating that it has shifted her life in ways that she never imagined. She is such a firm believer in the practice that she has instituted period of “Quiet Time” twice a day in her network offices. For those who do not work for Oprah, she has collaborated with spiritual guide Deepak Chopra to create a number of free 21-day guided meditations. There are others with free meditations available, including Tara Brach. If you prefer music or silence, there are free apps available that help you to time and keep track of your meditation sessions.
While there is no script that successful people follow, there are traits that are common amongst them. If you are seeking practices that will give you a boost in your productivity and overall success in life, consider the importance of goal setting, self-care, and meditation. Make each of these practices a pattern of behaviour and you will surely be on the road to success.
Wheeler del Torro (www.wheelerdeltorro.com) is a nutritional anthropologist and author. His most recent book, Boss Up!, provides a step-by-step guide to creating a powerful executive presence in order to be perceived as a leader and reap the benefits that go along with it. When he is not researching, lecturing, or hosting popups, Wheeler is out setting the next culinary trend.
 Bulygo, Zach. (n.d.) “Business lessons from American Express CEO Ken Chenault”. Kissmetrics Blog. Retrieved on 23 December 2016 from https://blog.kissmetrics.com/lessons-from-ken-chenault/
 Interview with Oprah Winfrey. Facebook Live stream. http://original.livestream.com/facebookguests/video?clipId=pla_7a8c2dfe-44a4-42db-99f3-f01273c76a2a