7 Habits for Success: Make them Your Own!

by Mark Jenney


Success is never an accident, nor is it the result of a single brilliant move or idea. Rather, success is cultivated over many years of smart business transactions, outstanding people skills, and renewed motivation to be the best you can possibly be.

When you start to look at the successful people in this world, whether they’re professional athletes, CEOs, entrepreneurs, or committed to another profession, you realize that despite their inherent differences, they all have a few big things in common. For example, they all have a similar outlook on life, they all have similar rituals, and they all have similar reactions when life throws them a curveball. More than that, though, successful people take these positive behaviors and turn them into habits, doing them over and over as a regular part of their routine.

By recognizing these commonalities and slowly taking them on as your own, can you be successful as well? There’s no guarantee, of course, but emulating these habits is a great place to start! You’ve heard about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People  — here are seven habits of highly successful people.

1. Successful people take care of themselves (https://hbr.org/2008/09/why-its-not-selfish-to-take-ca/). They eat right, they exercise, and they don’t skimp on sleep. And again, these are habits. They don’t exercise when it’s convenient or eat a salad once in a while or catch up on sleep on the weekends. These things are part of a healthy lifestyle, and a healthy personal life leads to a healthy business life. Ready to change your ways? Stay conscious of what foods and beverages you’re putting into your body, block out time at least three times a week for a workout session, and get on a consistent sleep schedule. When you feel good physically, you’re the most ready to use your mental sharpness to your advantage.

2. Successful people are positive and grateful. Negativity, anger, and other toxic emotions are just wasted energy. Not only does nothing good come of them, but they can hold you back from greatness. Successful people know that a positive, can-do attitude and honest gratitude for all of their blessings lead to confidence. They also make you a person that others want to be around and work with. To get started, spend at least a few minutes a day mentally listing the things in your life that are going well and that you are thankful for. Once you get started, you’ll realize that you’ve actually got it pretty good, and that should give you the confidence to be even better.

3. Successful people network. What’s more, they do it the old fashioned way: in person!  Yes, social networking has its benefits, but it simply can’t replace looking a colleague in the eye and shaking his or her hand. If all of your networking is currently done in the digital realm, resolve to get up from behind your desk and meet others in person. To make it a habit, join a networking group that meets regularly, attend social events and charity functions, and conduct more business in person rather than over the phone.

4. Successful people create prioritized to do lists. The key word here is create — they actually write them down or maintain a digital version on their phone, rather than keep a haphazard list in their heads. And, they update their to do lists regularly. To take this from good idea to habit, spend five or ten minutes before you go to sleep every night to write up (or peck out) your to do list for the following day. Write out specific things that need to be done, and then number them so you know what you’ll need to tackle first.

5. Successful people set goals. If you’re only interested in making a living, you can get by living from one day to the next. However, to achieve real success, you’ve got to set some goals — create some targets that you can focus in on. Don’t set goals, and you deprive yourself of direction. As Zig Ziglar so famously said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” Take some time on a regular basis to think about goals, both short term and long term. And, make at least some of these goals a stretch to keep yourself challenged and working toward something bigger than you think you can accomplish.

Related by Mark Jenney:Winning Rituals: 10 Behaviors of Successful Individuals

6. Successful people understand the importance of accountability. Successful people keep their word, and people who don’t keep their word will have a very hard time earning enough money to rent a studio apartment. To help keep yourself accountable, find a mentor or colleague to work with to keep you in check; meet for coffee once a week (or on a regular schedule that works for you) to discuss achievements, setbacks, and how you plan to do good work until your next meetup.

7. Successful people never stop learning. You may have a diploma from an Ivy League University hanging on your wall, but it doesn’t mean that you’re done learning new things. On the contrary, successful people recognize that there are always new things to learn, new skills to acquire, and new insight to consider. And, learning doesn’t necessarily mean paying tuition to sit in a classroom, listen to lectures, and write exams. On the contrary, learning means reading books, listening to podcasts, attending webinars, and so on. To keep your own personal education going, commit to reading a book a month, spending your commute time listening to podcasts or audiobooks, and don’t pass up opportunities for seminars and conferences.

What do you think? Can you take these seven attributes and turn them into personal habits? It may take a little while to get these things ingrained in your life, but once they are, you’ll probably see success follow.

What habits do you have that make you successful? Share one with us in the comments!

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