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5 daily habits of successful people
How to leverage the power of routine to accomplish your goals
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
This is one of Tony Robbins’ favorite quotes. It neatly sums up the ethos of successful people: They’re not born smarter or with more willpower. They don’t have magical powers that allow them to get more done. They have developed daily habits to ensure they have the energy, time and drive they need to accomplish their goals and be their best selves. You can copy the daily routine of successful people and make it work for you.
We’ve all heard that a big part of the daily routine of successful people is to wake up early – but this isn’t true for everyone. Barack Obama and Winston Churchill are known for working late hours, and authors and artists are often night owls. More important than waking up at 4:30am (like Obama’s contemporary Condoleezza Rice) is keeping a regular schedule and starting each day with a strong morning ritual.
Obama reportedly starts with a 45-minute workout followed by green tea. Author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss meditates, drinks tea and spends five minutes journaling. Tony Robbins hits all the right notes, with a workout, healthy breakfast, meditation and cold plunge. All of these are daily habits of successful people that are essential to a productive day, so make at least some of them part of your morning routine.
Set your intentions
There’s a reason meditation, journaling and visualization are part of the daily routine of successful people. They help you set your intentions for the day and get off on the right foot. They also give you a sense of accomplishment you can build on throughout the day. Tony uses his own proprietary priming method. Arnold Schwarzenegger tried transcendental meditation for a year. Connor McGregor has praised visualization for unlocking his inner potential.
Journaling is another way to set your intentions. Joe Gebbia, founder of Airbnb, uses Tony’s Rapid Planning Method. Tim Ferriss uses the Five-Minute Journal or Morning Pages to work through obstacles and stressors he may encounter that day. Actor and Unleash the Power Within participant Hugh Jackman writes his intentions for the day in the past tense, but for the upcoming day. “Today I did X. Today I felt this.” There’s no hedging. It’s already happened. It’s a powerful form of manifestation.
Take care of your body
Your body is a machine that allows you to accomplish all your dreams, and it needs the right maintenance in order to function at the highest levels. That’s why the daily routines of successful people always include eating healthy and exercising. Start the day with protein, fiber and good fats for fuel, but don’t stop eating healthy after breakfast. An alkaline diet filled with green veggies, nuts and whole grains will give you energy and focus. Conor McGregor eats lean meats like chicken and salmon, eggs, fruit and greens, and skips the carbs and caffeine – and he needs a lot of energy.
Exercise is the other essential daily habit of successful people. Tony starts the day with an explosive routine that takes just 15 minutes but pushes him to the brink of exhaustion. Hugh Jackman uses a rowing machine. Many entrepreneurs are into action sports – look no further than Richard Branson’s XTC competition, which ends with a weekend of kiteboarding with the man himself. Business is an extreme sport, so it’s no surprise successful entrepreneurs are adrenaline seekers.
Maximize your brainpower
Accomplished people don’t have more brainpower than the rest of us, but they do know how to use their brains more effectively. The daily routines of successful people recognize that humans have limited cognitive resources. They always get their hardest tasks done first and schedule important meetings for the morning, when cognition is highest. They remove distractions like social media, chat programs and even their smartphone, and they know the power of noise-cancelling headphones and some good, energetic music.
Another way to maximize your brainpower is to eliminate unimportant decisions. Obama picked out his clothes before he went to sleep – and only wore gray and blue suits nearly every day of his entire presidency. Successful venture capitalist Jeremy Kauffman eliminates as many decisions as possible during the day, from clothing to his route to work to what to eat for lunch. Using the power of routine will free up your brain to think about tough decisions instead.
Learning is essential to growth, leadership and leading a fulfilling life – and it’s always part of the daily routine of successful people. Tony says, “Every time you think you’re the best you can be in anything in life, your body, your emotion, your spirit, your finances, there’s always another level.” Those who have reached the peak of success are obsessed with always knowing more. They feed their minds on a daily basis, whether through reading, listening to podcasts or talking to others.
When you surround yourself with positive people striving for the same goals, you’ll always have someone to learn from. Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, makes a point to meet with leaders and entrepreneurs that don’t directly relate to his field, because he knows he can still apply their advice to his own life. And he’s a voracious reader – another top daily habit of successful people.