Our lives are direct reflections of our daily habits. Everything we think, say and do is the result of our constantly evolving routines. Growing is therefore adopting good habits and breaking bad habits. This is something successful people are well aware of.
I look to build a lot of consistent routine. Same thing every day. Allows a steady state that enables me to be more effective when I do have to react to something out of band.
Making a conscious effort of managing our habits and trying to improve them has a big positive impact in our lives. Success can mean several different things to each one of us, but we will certainly get closer to our goals if we work on them every day. And to make sure that we are working towards our goals every single day we need to smoothly introduce little actions into our daily lives. We need to form new habits.
However, changing habits isn’t an easy endeavour. We have all tried to “start going to the gym” or “quit smoking” more than once. That’s why successful people track their habits, be it with bullet journaling or using a habit tracker to help them in that regard.
Below, you can find the 7 most common habits successful people track. Make sure to include them in your daily checklist in any of their possible forms.
Learning new skills is certainly one of the most desired things in life. Independently of if we want to learn something for our professional career or just for fun, we need to be persistent in our way to master a new skill. Making a daily habit of learning a new skill, even if we just manage to find 10 spare minutes a day at first, will not only help us make rapid progress, but it will also help us keep pushing when the motivation that got us started wanes.
The internet has boosted our learning possibilities with thousands of free courses like those in Coursera, Udemy or Youtube. Some of the most tracked habits within this category are learning to code, learning to play a musical instrument, learning a new language or learning to cook.
Exercising is a well-established habit in the lives of successful people. It is widely known how advantageous the practise of any physical activity is for our body and brain performance. Even lightly strenuous activity is enough to oxygenate our blood and boost the endorphins in our body.
Managing to exercise regularly will help us feel physically and emotionally better, with more motivation and mental clarity to approach the challenges of every day life. To perform at top level we need to be at top shape. Ramit Sethi goes as far as stating that this is the most common habit among successful people.
Tracking habits such as “go to the gym” or “workout” might be too generic. A better approach is to specify the habits in more detail, for example, “50 morning push-ups”, “50 evening push-ups”, “run 30 minutes” or “walk 10.000 steps”. Practising sports, such as swimming or playing basketball are equally popular and involve a social aspect that makes it easier for the habits to stick. Just find the way to exercise that best fits your interests and schedule, and build on from that.
3. Eat healthy
We are what we eat. For our body and mind to perform at a great level we need to feed them as well was we can. Highly performant people, especially top-level athletes, define a set of habits not only to improve the quality of the food they eat, but also the way in which they eat. Fast food, for example, is two times bad. First, the quality of the food is dubious, and second, it creates a culture of eating big quantities of food when your body doesn’t require it.
Healthy food doesn’t mean it’s expensive. Don’t use this as an excuse.
Some of the most common habits you should track are: “eat a fruit”, “eat no sugar”, “max 1 coffee a day or no coffee”, “excessive salt“, “no snacking”, “no fast food”, ”eat no candy”, “drink water with lemon”…
Examples of habits regarding the way in which we eat that are also very important are: “take my time to eat”, “no overeating”, “5 meals a day”, “consciously chew several times”, “don’t skip breakfast” and “don’t eat too late”.
Successful people are avid readers. Reading isn’t just a source for learning well thought ideas or ways of doing things but it also boosts your imagination. Reading also serves you to see how others build their ideas and helps you improve your ways of thinking.
People like Bill Gates take it one step further and review the books they read for future revisits of the ideas those books inspired to them.
Reading doesn’t just involve books, but also newspapers, internet articles and blogs. Reading shapes our mind. Some little habits you can track include “read one article on X topic”, “read 10 pages”. People who read a lot can even track it by an estimate of the characters they read daily.
Meditation encompasses several benefits such as stress reduction or focus enhancement and it alleviates anxiety, preventing depression and leading to happiness. Most importantly, it helps you create self-awareness, which gives you the ability to flow with everything that’s around you without feeling overwhelmed.
Tim Ferriss referred to meditation when asked about an habit people don’t take advantage of.
It is no surprise that this isn’t the most popular habit since it’s not so easy to get started with. This infographic can help you get the basic ideas of mindfulness meditation. Starting with a daily goal of “concentrate on breath 3-5 minutes” and using a habit tracker to make sure you do it every day will get you set.
6. Wake up early
Waking up early is the best way to start a new day on the right foot. But having enough rest is mandatory. This can only mean one thing, you must go to sleep early too. This is a good example of habit stacking.
Habit stacking is simply the idea of grouping several habits that are related to build them in parallel. Building habits at the same time or on top of other habits makes the whole deal of changing our daily routine much easier. This is a technique most of us use unconsciously but that highly successful people exploit.
An example you might feel familiar with is the so called “morning routine”. Everyone has their own morning routine. Right after we wake up there’s a set list of things we repetitively do every morning. Successful people have honed it to make the best out of it. Here, Jack Dorsey talks about his.
Some of these stacked habits include “wake up at 6 am”, “meditate for 5 min”, “exercise”, “shower”, “healthy breakfast”…
Writing is a great way to clarify your ideas and refine your thoughts. A lot of people disregard this habit because they feel “they have nothing to tell”. That’s a lie. Everyone has ideas to share, stories to explain and teachings to spread. The rise of blogging in the last years proves the benefits of writing.
Writing also helps gain motivation when working on something. You want to do more to be able to share more.
However, the sharing aspect of writing isn’t important. If you feel shy about your thoughts, keeping a journal is still one of the best habits you can develop. Writing about how you envision yourself in the near future is also a great self-improvement tool to work towards that goal.
Tracking habits as simple as “write 3 lines”, “write a page” or “what did I do today” will help you get started.
The main challenge with forming good habits is to keep disciplined. To be persistent and work on them every day until they form part of our daily routine is no easy task. That is basically what differentiates successful people from the rest. Our degree of success is strongly tied to how disciplined we are with our habits. Luck can only find us if we are there every day on the window display.
However, there are a few little tricks that can smooth your way. Starting small is always good advice. Both in the quantity of new habits you want to form and in the quantity in which you can measure each habit. You shouldn’t try to form more than 3 new habits at the same time. On the other hand, when possible, always try to use quantities that can help you accomplish little specific goals. For example, “50 push-ups”, “read 10 pages”, “write 1 page”, “eat a fruit”, “meditate 5 minutes”, etcetera.
Finding a good time spot in your daily schedule for each one of them will also help. As explained above with the morning routine example, scheduling habits tends to work very well with stacking them continuously. When you are in the habit of doing 2 or 3 things in a row, it becomes easier to add a 4th one after them.
Finally, tracking these habits is vital to make sure that we go on pursuing our goals when motivation shines for its absence. Long-term goals are what motivate us to get started but overwhelm us easily. By implementing a fixed daily goal setting strategy, we focus on the one-day-at-a-time milestones that help us make and feel progress. Having a simple tool like everydayCheck to help us keep accountant of our daily goals and to motivate us through the harsh days is important to skip no days. I initially built it for myself with these ideas in mind and since it worked for me, I decided to make it a product anyone can use. You can try it 30 days for free! Plenty of time to form new habits and figure out if it works for you too!
Just keep iterating on your habits to make the best out of your life!