With the new year coming, we all want to be more productive, healthier, better versions of ourselves. Our failures (and successes!) become apparent as the year comes to a close and we want to refocus ourselves on our goals for the year and what we need to do to accomplish them.
Habits are an integral part of success, so in order to set yourself up for success you must create (or maintain) these positive habits to keep yourself focused & accomplished.
Countless studies have touted the benefits of being an early riser. Not only does it give you early productive hours that would have been wasted in bed sleeping, it also gives you this inherent sense of accomplishment. Have you been trying to rise early but fall victim to the wonderful, amazing feeling that is sleeping in just a little bit longer? Sign up for a fitness class that starts at 5:30 am that will charge you if you’re a no show, or make plans with a friend that is already an early riser to go to the gym. For tips on how to become an early riser, check out this post.
MAKE YOUR BED + KEEP A CLEAN HOUSE
This tip isn’t new either, but it is amazing how taking an extra 15 or 20 minutes out of your day to keep your surroundings clean will lend to productivity. Since we moved into a 380 square foot place, mess isn’t really an option. Partly because of this (and our more affordable rent!) Evan and I both feel more productive (and we are) and happier with ourselves.
LISTEN TO A PODCAST EVERY DAY
When I say podcast I don’t mean just any podcast. Know what you want to accomplish this year whether it’s quitting your job to blog full time, or be smarter with your money. Listen to podcasts that relate to your goals. Why? This habit will lend to your motivation to your goal throughout the day, especially on days when you feel down and you can’t accomplish anything. Podcasts are awesome because we can accomplish the more basic tasks of our day (showering, getting ready in the morning, etc.) while education ourselves. So podcasts are basically the coolest invention ever. Listening to podcasts that motivate you will keep you from ignoring your goals because the reminder is there as a constant. Podcasts where people share their struggles and advice related to what your goal is will help you understand that people make mistakes and it’s important to keep our eyes forward.
KNOW YOUR “WHY” AND THINK ABOUT IT EVERY DAY
Why do you want to be more productive? Why do you want to accomplish these things? If this “why” doesn’t get you out of bed in the morning or make you choose working toward your goals rather than watching Netflix, your “why” doesn’t mean enough to make you successful. Do you want to quit your job to follow your passion? Do you want to make more money for retirement or your children’s college fund? Do you want to be your own boss? Your why should keep you focused and engaged in your goals. We all lose sight from time to time, but keeping your “why” with everything you do will give you more willpower to resist bad habits.
This could mean an hour in the mornings or just a quick 15 minute yoga session. There is no “right” way to do it. Working out in the morning shows your body some love in those early hours, energizes you, and will help you kick of fat burning early on. Exercising has also been linked to increasing productivity and creativity and I think we could all use a little more of that in our lives.
GO TO BED EARLY
This tip goes along with the early riser piece, but the nighttime hours aren’t typically productive for us. If that has been your flow and it works for you – awesome! Keep doing your thing. But for most of us, the late hours consist of falling into Youtube black holes, Netflix, and bingeing on unhealthy foods. Getting to bed early ensures that we get the right amount of sleep every night (for me it’s a solid 8-9 hours) and makes sure we aren’t held back from our goals throughout the day because of fatigue.
Reading not only keeps our minds spritely, it also makes us better in just about every way. It can mean reading a few New York Times articles every morning or reading a biography before bed. The best books to focus on – well, that notably successful people focus on – are non fiction books and articles (is there a such thing as fiction articles?). These books give you knowledge and often inspiration that will fuel your creative endeavors as well. Once you adopt this habit an added benefit is that when someone asks you “What books have you been reading?” you will have an honest and ideally non-embarrassing answer!
MAP OUT & PLAN YOUR DAY
This time is crucial to make sure you reach and are prepared for your goals in the day. If your goal is to eat healthier, you can plan and prepare your snacks so that you stay on track for the rest of the day. You will feel more on top of things because you are aware of everything that must get done throughout the day so you can anticipate any problems that may arise.
I’ve already talked about meditation a few times on this space and there is still more to come. Successful people aren’t successful because they are unstoppable trains of productivity all day, every day. Successful people know how to self-regulate. They say “I’m stressed, and I am not as effective as I could be.” so they recalibrate themselves, often with meditation. The biggest change I’ve noticed is that it reduces my negative emotional reactions. If I send an email to my boss (or my boss’s boss’s boss) that has a glaring typo or when I forget an attachment (yep, totally happened), I didn’t immediately freak out and start hating myself. I became calmer and more controlled. If you are still skeptical, I highly recommend reading Dan Harris’ 10% Happier.
HAVE A ROUTINE
When I say routine I do not mean some boring, daily chores. I do mean a daily structure that leads you to be happier and more productive! THAT sounds fun to me (and this is how I know I’ve become an adult). Having a routine means you get to control the day yourself, the day doesn’t just happen to you. Routines don’t always mean super-productivity all the time. It means you get to make time for all the things you want to do in the day, and aren’t we happy when we get what we want?
HOW TO APPLY THESE HABITS
Having a list like this can seem overwhelming, especially if you currently do none of these things. To keep your momentum going to create these productive habits and reach your goals, break this list down and tackle 1-2 items at a time. So once you’ve mastered going to bed early and rising early (these two are kind of mutually exclusive) then you can incorporate a fitness routine in those early hours as well and build from there. Or if you’re an all or nothing kind of person you can tackle 5+ new things per day, just keep in mind you run the risk of burning yourself out quickly.
I hope these habits are helpful to get you reaching your goals!
What is a habit that you believe makes you successful?
Thanks for stopping by!