These 9 Habits of Highly Successful People are about the little things.
That’s the great news! They’re little but the impact is huge.
FACT: It’s the little things that add up to a very BIG THING.
In launching and being challenged by my life-changing New Way Forward, I have the big ideas, the big to-do’s, the big (mega!) obstacles and big changes in what I do and how. But the biggest challenges are internal and require changing the way I think, believe and respond. Change is hard but these 9 habits of highly successful people helped me and it helped them become successful.
These little things help me be in a mental, physical, emotional and even spiritual place to perform at my best.
And they just make life better.
If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right. -William H. McRaven
Try these out for size:
1. Go on a News and Social Media Diet
Challenge yourself: How much do I really need to know about in the news or what other people are doing and thinking? Some engagement is fine but how much is sucking up my time or leaving me worried (unnecessarily), mad or upset? Take back control of your attention and agenda! Especially in the morning (see my morning routine method).
2. Get in an airplane (mode)
Somehow the sun will still rise in the east if you don’t instantly respond to the sound effects on your phone. Find the times and opportunities to put your smartphone in airplane mode. This will allow you to concentrate and be fully engaged in whatever you’re doing. Work and play. Whew! This is amazingly freeing.
3. Take a true lunch break (in two parts)
Drop the work and take a mental and emotional break. Look at your lunch hour as a time to refresh and reboot. Healthy and light eating is ideal. If you’re working from home, also take less than 30 minutes for a power nap. Set a phone alarm if need be (gentle alarm sound), for 20 minutes. You will only go into a light sleep and wake up refreshed and energized. Science proves this is incredibly healthy short and long-term.
4. Take a moment and be grateful
You cannot be unhappy if you’re being grateful. Even taking one minute to be grateful for even the smallest thing gives you that moment of happiness and doing it regularly improves your health, outlook and realizations of what’s really important and what’s B.S.
5. Hydrate – especially in the morning
We lose over 12 ounces of water in our sleep. Replenish that first thing in the morning. I notice a major cognitive improvement when I do it. Keep it up through the day. Men need 15+ cups of water a day, women 11+. Make some of your coffee breaks water breaks.
6. Learn to breathe
More and more science is showing that proper breathing is one of the most important yet underrealized healthy habits you can have. If several times a day taking just a couple of minutes to breathe deeply can make a tremendous difference in your health, cognitive, emotional and physical performance.
Simple method: Box breathing.
Through your nose slowly breathe in for 5-8 seconds
Hold it for 2-5 seconds
Breathe out through your mouth for a 5-8 second count
7. Take a walk
Even a five-minute walk can have huge benefits. It’s a chance to clear your mind or practice gratitude. When I’ve been stuck on something I’m working on, I often get a breakthrough on a short walk. Walking in nature every day has proven long-term benefits.
8. Take a 5-minute break every hour of work
This will reduce stress and fatigue. It can also give you the pause you need to gain clarity on what you’re working on. Many of the little things listed above can be done during your break. Some other ideas:
- Stretch or loosen up (try the first five-minute warm-up on this video. The entire 13-minute workout is also excellent and anyone can do it at their level and intensity).
- Practice something fun such as learning how to juggle, working on your putting stroke, or other activity you never have time for but can pick away at.
- Daydream an intention. What you are wanting and how it will feel.
9. Ask Why?
When I am dreading some task, if I pause for just a moment and ask, “Why am I doing this?” the answer makes the task so much easier. Even if the answer is simply, “I’ll be done with it!” It’s about realizing the purpose, not just the doing.
BONUS: Get up earlier regularly
While myself and others find these 9 Habits of Highly Successful People (The Little Things) helpful, there are the big things you can do that are made up of little habits. It has been noted that a morning habit is one of the most consistent habits found in highly successful people (along with journaling, constant learning and reading which they often have as a part of their morning routine).
Here in a nutshell are the basics:
- DO NOT get on your smart device first thing.
- Hydrate. You lose up to 14 ounces of fluid while you sleep. It’s a cognitive brain boost to drink a glass of water.
- Journal. The morning is when your thoughts and perspectives are clearest and unencumbered by the outside world.
- Meditate. Take 15 minutes to be quiet. Find music or guided meditations on YouTube. Breath. The benefits are amazing.
- Do Yoga stretches. Get your body and metabolism in gear. You can keep it easy or go hard.
- Exercise. Just 20 minutes goes a long way. Anything from a brisk walk to resistance training.
- Eat a healthy breakfast, shower and dress. Now you have launched your day in a great way.
“The older I get, the more I’m conscious of ways very small things can make a change in the world. Tiny little things, but the world is made up of tiny matters, isn’t it?” -Sandra Cisneros