Achieving your goals or becoming successful can seem overwhelming. Where you are now can feel so distant from the destination you’re ultimately trying to reach. The key to success is to have those long-term goals in mind. You also must remain patient as you inch closer to them with daily habits and short-term goals. Time and again, the most successful people point to the following five daily habits that lead to success.
1. Go to bed early.
Most people are not very productive late at night.
Think about it. How many high-value tasks are you really getting done after 10 p.m.? There are exceptions, of course, but the majority of people are more productive early in the morning than they are late at night.
Getting to bed early will allow you to get plenty of sleep. Studies show that adequate sleep is crucial for productivity, and it’ll allow you to wake up early. When you wake up early, you feel like you’ve already accomplished something. It feels like you’re starting your day off right. This momentum will carry throughout the day and make it easier to stay on track and knock out tasks.
On the other hand, if you stayed up late and wake up late as a result, you’ll feel like you’re already behind…and the entire day will drag.
I like to be in bed by 10 p.m. I don’t set an alarm, and I usually wake up around 6 a.m. This is 8 hours of sleep, and I’m up and ready for my day at 6 a.m. If you get into the habit of doing this every day, even on weekends, you will start to move closer to achieving your goals. Adequate rest is absolutely vital as one of your daily success habits!
2. Make a daily to-do list.
Studies have shown that when we write down tasks, we’re much more likely to complete them. This is not only because we’re reminded to complete them but because we feel more accountable.
When we write down a task, we’ve made a promise to ourselves that we’re going to complete it. It motivates you to not break your promise.
Every Sunday, I write my goals for Monday through Sunday of the following week. Then each day of that week, I look at the weekly goals and write out my daily tasks. As I complete the tasks I cross them off on my daily task list and weekly goal list.
Writing weekly goals is a great way to guide yourself from a bigger picture perspective and writing out the daily tasks gives your day direction. It’s helpful to know exactly what you want to accomplish every day.
This practice allows you to sort of run on auto-pilot. You don’t need to do the hard work of figuring out which direction to go. You already did that when you set the weekly goals and daily tasks. Now you just need to get them done.
3. Complete your most important tasks first.
We only have a limited amount of energy. There’s plenty of time in the day to complete all your tasks but your energy is the weakest link.
We typically have the most energy in the morning. This is when you should sit down and complete the most important and usually most difficult tasks on your list. These are the things that are easy to procrastinate because they require a lot of thought, brainpower, and energy.
But it’s also important to knock these out early because they’re the tasks that are going to move you towards success. If you do less important tasks in the morning, you likely won’t have the energy to do the most important ones in the afternoon and you’ll push them off until tomorrow.
Successful people are people who can do the things other people avoid. The key to being successful is being self-disciplined and being able to put yourself through the discomfort. Facing the most important tasks head-on in the morning is a big step in that direction.
4. Work in short sprints.
I read a book called “Rest” which is fantastic, by the way. The theme throughout the book is that people in history who accomplished great feats — from Winston Churchill to Charles Darwin — worked hard in short sprints and took plenty of breaks.
It’s more productive to work for a few hours really hard than it is to work all day but with low intensity.
I prefer to work from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and then again from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sometimes I will check emails or do other easy, monotonous work after 4 p.m. but my hard, difficult, thought-provoking work is done during those six hours each day.
If you’re working on the most important things and prioritizing properly, six hours per day is more than enough.
In fact, your brain needs plenty of rest and breaks. As a result, in most cases, it’s more productive to work less, as long as you’re working intensely and on the right things during those hours.
5. Exercise and eat healthy.
Your level of energy and your brain’s ability to function depends on your physical health.
Getting exercise for about one hour per day, whether it be a brisk walk, weight training, jogging, swimming, or sports, will keep your body healthy and functioning optimally.
Eating right is important too.
I subscribe to a diet of whole foods, very minimal processed food, minimal sugar and salt, and my diet is mostly plant-based.
Not only will these health habits give you more energy and focus today, but they will keep you going for many years into the future. Time and longevity are important in achieving goals, especially in business and investing. We’ve all heard of the power of compounding returns. You need to be alive and healthy to reap the benefits of these daily success habits!