Success isn’t something that happens to us, it’s something we make happen. Here are fourteen habits that successful people embrace.
1. They Build Habits to Meet Their Goals
Having life goals is great, but those goals alone won’t carry you anywhere unless you create habits that help you make them reality. If your goal is to improve the quality of your blog articles, you might develop the habit of editing to tighten your writing before your final proofread.
2. They Look at the Big Picture
Successful people don’t rely on instant gratification, they think long term. They find small steps satisfying because they can see that every step leads them closer to the desired outcome. You can’t write a novel without writing individual scenes, for example, but each scene takes you closer to the finish line.
3. They Say Yes
Shonda Rhimes’ memoir, Year of Yes, explores what happens when we say yes to life’s challenges. It’s scary to step outside your comfort zone, but the world opens up when you do. Try saying yes to the things that scare you. You never know where it might lead!
Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it. —Shonda Rhimes
4. They Also Know How to Say No
We often agree to do things that we don’t want to do. It may be because we want to keep peace, or to make people like us, or even just because we feel obligated. Taking on things that you’d rather not can leave you feeling resentful. Instead, just say no. There’s no need to make excuses. Remember, your life is your own and you have every right to decline.
5. They Feel Gratitude
There are significant benefits to being grateful. It can improve the state of your physical and mental health, increase empathy and reduce aggression, and even help you sleep better. Grateful people are happier.
6. They’re Great Listeners
If you want to be liked, show an interest in people. Successful people listen more than they talk, and they’re curious about other people’s experiences. Even the shyest people can communicate effectively if they remember to listen first.
7. They Take Action
Successful people don’t just talk about getting things done. Apple wouldn’t be the success it is today if Steve Jobs had sat around dreaming about how cool personal computers might be instead of acting. If you want to accomplish something, take a step. Then take another. Keep going! You’ve got this.
8. They Clear Out the Clutter
Take a look around your desk, office or living room. It’s likely you see a thing or two that you don’t love and don’t need. Clearing the clutter can help you feel renewed and energized. Incidentally, the same goes for your writing. Learning how to tidy it up will make you a better, clearer communicator.
9. They Think (and Write) Positively
Negative thoughts can keep you stuck. Successful people tend to be optimistic and capable of thinking positively. Even when bad situations arise, they know how to reframe them with a positive spin. (Instead of lamenting that their wallet was stolen, they might be grateful that the thief didn’t try to hurt them.) There’s even research to show that writing about intensely positive experiences daily helps lift your mood.
10. They Don’t Wait for Inspiration
Inspiration is fleeting, and successful people know it. Great writers, for instance, write regularly whether the muse pays them a visit or not. Successful writers, from King to Kafka, made writing both a priority and a habit. If you want to be good at something, you have to do that thing regularly, even when you don’t really feel like it.
11. They Journal
Journaling daily has a surprising number of benefits. The simple act of clarifying your thoughts can help you put them into perspective and even get to know yourself better. Journaling can reduce stress and make you a better problem solver. Bonus: Because you’re practicing when you journal, even if you don’t edit what you write, your writing skills will improve.
12. They Take Cold Showers
No, really. Katherine Hepburn was a huge fan. There’s evidence to suggest that taking a cold shower (by starting warm and then lowering the temperature to a chilly sixty-eight degrees) kick-starts the body by releasing endorphins The practice can ease brain fog, aid in weight loss, and even help lift depression.
13. They Take Social Media Breaks
Social media can be a great communication tool. Unfortunately, bingeing on social media can also be a source of stress. It stirs up competitive feelings by inviting you to compare your life to other people’s. It can make you feel more isolated from the world rather than connected. At the extreme end, it can even become an addiction. Take a social media detox from time to time. Your brain will thank you.
14. They Take Responsibility for Their Own Happiness
Successful people don’t rely on others to make them happy. They realize that although things happen that are beyond their control, they can control their own reactions to them. As Milton said, “The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven.”