Over the years of reading self improvement books, success literature and blogs, biographies of successful people and just general real life experience I’ve found there are many habits that if adopted and sustained, have been proven to lead one down the path to happiness and success. I’ve compiled a few of them here for this post. This is by no means a complete list, and in this ever changing world we live in hopefully, we are learning more about what it takes to be successful and happy in life. The are some of the habits that have worked for me and others and I’m sure they will help you too.
1. Read for at least 30 minutes per day of quality stuff
Daily reading cannot only make you smarter but also healthier. Reading on a regular basis has been proven to lower your stress level and help keep your brain young by slowing cognitive decline. Beyond the mental stimulation you receive there’s also gains in knowledge, vocabulary expansion and memory improvements. You will improve your analytical thinking skills as well as your focus and concentration abilities. And last but not least it’s great entertainment! No one ever said the movie was better than the book!
2. Get At Least 7 To 8 Hours Of Sleep Every Night
Getting a good night’s sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Studies have shown that people who get adequate sleep live longer on average than those that don’t. Getting the right amount of sleep has shown to spur the creative process and this can lead to numerous benefits. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested loss 56% more fat than those who were sleep deprived. Also if you’re tired all the time you tend to eat more carbs for energy. Getting better sleep helps you to better handle and recover from stress as well as help to control your blood pressure.
3. Try To Take One Step Toward Your Goals Everyday
If you can get into the habit of taking one step – even if it is just planning for your goal or visualizing yourself achieving said goal, you will be one step closer to achieving it in reality. Doing this also keeps your goals in the forefront of your mind allowing you to see opportunities to help you meet them. Keeping your goals in mind will allow your subconscious to get used to them and accept them as reality and soon they will be!
4. Get 3 to 4 Hours Of Exercise Every Week
One of my favorite authors, the late great Stephen Covey, used to use the phrase of “sharping the saw”. He used the analogy of a woodcutter sawing for days and getting less and less productive. Why? Because he never stopped to sharpen the saw. The same is true with our bodies and our mind. If we don’t take time out to exercise and get the accompanying rest and recuperation then we will eventually run our selves in the ground, and become dull and inefficient.
5. Focus More Experiences And Relationships Rather Than Material Possessions
I doubt anyone, on their death bed, ever wished they could have bought that new car or new expensive clothes. Life is made of our experiences and relationships with others – not how many materiel possessions we accumulate. Many people, including myself, would gladly give away most of our material possessions if it meant they can have more time with a deceased relative or friend. Now I’m not saying don’t buy nice things if you can afford it. You work hard for your money and it is part of the reward for your time. And I wouldn’t begrudge anyone that. All I’m saying is when it comes to a choice of spending time with loved ones or taking that trip to a place you’ve never been before, or trying that new restaurant with a significant other – do that, instead of buying the latest gadget. You won’t regret the latter but you might regret the former.
6. Learn To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
By this I mean learn to notice when you have a choice between taking the growth path or the fear path and choose the growth path more often especially when you’re young. This habit is not talking about thrill seeking. What I’m talking about for example is if you’re at a social gathering and you want to meet a certain person and are feeling nervous or anxious about it, learn to look at it as either the growth path or the fear path. Overcome your fear and go talk to that person. A famous hockey player once said you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. So go ahead and take a shot.
7. Learn To Set Goals And Review Them Regularly
It goes without saying if you don’t know where you’re going you are most likely going to end up someplace you don’t really want to be. To make sure you get where you DO want to be, you need plan and set goals. I like to use the end of year to step back and see where I’m at and to plan my goals for the next year, but really this can be done anytime. You can start by thinking of where you want to be personally, financially and even physically, meaning your health. Just the act of planning and setting goals can give you clarity and focus in what you really want in life. This can can give you peace of mind in that you know what you want in life and it can help you in your decision making because you will naturally make the decision that gets you closer to your goals. It’s also important to review your goals on a regular basis to make sure you are on track and that this goal is still something you want to achieve. Check out this previous post on effective goal setting.
Resources For You:
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
- The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business
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