They say that habits determine 95% of a person’s behavior.
Some of these are good habits. And some of them are bad.
After studying the matter for more than 30 years, I have realized that most successful people share a common mindfulness. They are mindful of their habits and have established daily routines that influence their behavior, productivity, and ability to achieve success.
Even more impressively, they’ve learned to harness the power of their good habits while using self-control to minimize the bad ones.
The list of habits everyone should consider picking up certainly has the potential to go on forever. In fact, that list would quickly become overwhelming for most people.
That’s why we asked several top success experts and entrepreneurs the following question:
“If you had to go the rest of your life with only three habits, what would they be?”
Let’s see what they had to say…
First, let’s meet these success experts:
Brian Tracy is recognized as one of the top sales training and personal success authorities in the world today. He has authored more than 70 books and has produced more than 500 audio and video learning programs on sales, management, business success and personal development. Get Brian’s free 14-Step Goal-Setting Guide here.
Jeff Bullas has harnessed the power of good habits to create a website that has helped over 25 million readers transform their life and business. Forbes calls him a top influencer of Chief Marketing Officers and Entrepreneur lists him among 50 online marketing influencers to watch.
Steve Scott is a Wall Street Journal best-selling author of over 70 books. He’s a leading expert on developing good habits and a writer for DevelopGoodHabits.com
Daniel Scocco is the founder of DailyWritingTips.com and consistently reads and writes to improve his professional and personal life.
Jack Canfield is the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, he’s taught millions of individuals his modernized formulas for success, and now certifies trainers to teach his content and methodology all over the world.
Phil Town is a hedge fund manager and author of 2 New York Times best-selling investment books, Rule #1 and Payback Time. He has a passion educating others, and has given thousands of people the confidence to start investing and retire comfortably.
There’s no way I’d let this question pass me by without taking a crack at it.
So here we go:
You need to be a habitual goal setter, and dedicate yourself to working from clear, written goals every day of your life, forming daily habits. All highly successful people are intensely goal oriented.
This is made up of two practices.
The first is the practice of continuously learning so that you become better at what you do.
The second practice is that of time management. This means setting very clear priorities on what you do and then concentrating single-mindedly on the most valuable use of your time.
All really successful people are intensely result-oriented.
This is really the most important habit for material success. It is the ability to get on with the job and get it done fast. It is your ability to develop and maintain a sense of urgency, and a bias for action. Fast tempo in whatever you do is essential to your success.
You need to overcome procrastination, push aside your fears and launch 100% toward the achievement of your most important goals. As Steve Scott mentions above, if a task seems hard, you absolutely should “eat that frog” and tackle it first thing in the morning to get it out of the way.
The combination of goal orientation, result orientation, and action orientation, in themselves, will virtually assure great success.
The 3 habits that I couldn’t do without are set-up with my morning routine.
As my first few activities get me into the groove of getting things done.
The morning routine is like a healthy rut that guides you towards what you want to achieve.
My routine starts with a shower that wakes me up and energizes me and then there is the making of the bed. That may sound too simple…
But it works for the marines and the Navy Seals. It’s a simple discipline to get started.
Then it’s a coffee and a steaming mug of lemon and ginger tea that is sometimes gulped when cold or sipped as it comes off the boil. Finally, I sit down and stop for about 30-40 minutes of meditation.
At this stage, I haven’t opened my email or checked my social streams. I don’t owe the world anything. No obligations to answer to what may seem but often isn’t in the scheme of business or life… urgent.
Books have been both a distraction and a place for learning since I learned to read.
Every day I consume content by reading. Often morning and sometimes at night. Books are the distillation of decades of learning by passionate smart people…Their life learnings.
Read and absorb their wisdom. You cannot create if you don’t feed your mind.
I allocate a set time and place to create. A place where I can do “deep work” without any interruptions.
Joseph Campbell the famous author of the “The Hero with a Thousand Faces” described it: “Create a sacred place.”
Have a sacred place, use it and take advantage of it. Have a place where you focus on nothing else: not your friends, the news, or what anybody owes you. Only use the space for creation.
When you first start, nothing may happen…
But if you use and take advantage of it then something will happen.
This habit is where you reveal your passionate purpose. It is your “Self-realization”, shared with the world.
We’ve always been told that mind and body are separate. The reality is that we are one being and it is intertwined.
Deepak Chopra called it “Mind-body”.
Looking after your body means moving. If you don’t use it you lose it and as you get older the reality of that will become self-evident.
I have been a runner all my life until 10 years ago. Today I am a road cyclist and 4-5 times a week I become breathless and have aching muscles. I climb steep hills and challenge my racing heart and pumping lungs.
Endorphins are my drug of choice. I could not do without any of these habits.
If I had to stick to only three habits, then I would choose ones that would provide maximum results in my life. These would be habits that I know I could do daily—even when I’m not in the mood or don’t have a lot of time..
With that in mind, here are the three that I would choose:
I would wear a step-tracking device (like a Fitbit) to make sure I get a baseline of exercise every day. Whether it’s running, walking, cycling or a HIIT workout, I would strive for at least 5,000 steps. Sure, most days, I like to get 10,000 to 15,000 steps, but setting this lowball goal helps me be 100% sure that I’m getting at some exercise every day.
Focusing on my most important tasks (MITs) before anything else eliminates the problem of scheduling too many activities, and the feeling of failure when I don’t accomplish them all. It keeps you focused on priority activities. In fact, if I only complete the MITs, then I can still consider it a productive day.
I agree with Brian Tracy that the best way to stop procrastinating is to begin your day by “eating that frog.” If you can complete the hardest task first, then you’ll begin with a major win that will make all the successive tasks or chores seem less daunting. So I would start every day by completing the most difficult task on my list of three MITs.
I read mainly nonfiction books, and the impact they had over my professional and personal life over the years is monumental.
Writing helps to keep your mind sharp, to organize your thoughts, and if you publish your work it can increase your network and be incredibly rewarding.
Being mindful and living in the present rather than in the past or the future.
Creating a meditation habit is the best way to get the long term benefits of the practice.
The more you meditate, the more access you have to your intuition which can help you achieve success faster. That’s because when your mind is clear and focused, and your body is relaxed and calm, you can access information, both internal and external, that can help you make better decisions.
When you start doing visualization exercises every day, your focus and confidence will begin to skyrocket. Visualization techniques have been used by successful people to visualize their desired outcomes for ages. Whether you visualize your perfect day, finding a parking spot, or hitting a grand slam in the World Series, turning this practice into a habit will help maximize its effects.
Another huge benefit to doing visualization work, such as with a vision board, is you stimulate your Reticular Activating System. This makes you more keen to notice important things, resources, and opportunities related to your goals and dreams which may have otherwise gone by unnoticed.
I strongly believe that we were all born with a deep and meaningful purpose. The problem for most people seems to be that they get distracted by the demands and expectations of modern society, which makes them lose touch with their true purpose and passion. To get back on track, I encourage everyone to think about what they love to do and what comes easily to them. Finding a path guided by those two questions will ensure you are working toward your true potential and – more importantly – living a happy meaningful life.
Don’t make decisions out of emotions, make them rationally. Practice a mentality of “non-reaction” so that you can keep a cool head despite market or life conditions.
Don’t waste resources including money, time or energy on stuff that is meaningless to you. Put otherwise, invest in what is valuable to you. Not just in the stock market, but with how you spend your time and your energy.
Challenge conventional thinking and evaluate situations from all sides. From investing in quality businesses to choosing a house, really think through all your decisions thoughtfully.
What good habits help contribute to your success? Leave a comment below, and we’ll follow up with you.
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