Op-Ed

The three habits successful people know that will change your life

You are reading this article because you want to know what makes some people successful and what habits successful people cultivate. Learning these habits and employing them in your own life is worthwhile. Do you agree?

Conventional wisdom relies on willpower, motivation, and forcing ourselves to change tends to be ineffective at best and downright wrong at worst. What if you could move towards your goals with small, simple habits designed to make you successful every day?

Research by Roy Baumeister of Florida State deemed the use of willpower to achieve goals to be a finite resource. In other words, it runs out surprisingly quickly. Humans are designed, according to Baumeister, to “combat our limited willpower through habit formation”. By following this research-based course of action, you can start today to incorporate the following three small, simple habits that are easy to do. Let’s dive into these three simple but powerful habits of success:

Gratitude

Scientist and psychologist Robert Emmons at UC Davis is one of the world’s leading experts on gratitude. He and his team have studied over one thousand people and found that the simple act of keeping a gratitude journal, even for just three weeks, led to a long list of physical, psychological, and relationship benefits. Many people have been thinking about things backwards. Success does not lead to gratitude and happiness. Success starts with gratitude and happiness. If you want to be successful, start with gratitude! Gratitude leads to increased happiness, which leads to motivation to achieve your goals.

Write three things you are grateful for each morning and start your day empowered. Those who express gratitude increase wellbeing, can focus on what is working, and overcome challenges at a faster pace.

What do you think will be the effects of shifting your mind from a habit of problem seeking to a mind that is constantly seeking out what is working in your life?

Enthusiasm

According to Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. What is enthusiasm exactly? Cambridge dictionary defines enthusiasm as a feeling of energetic interest in a particular subject or activity and an eagerness to be involved in it. Fortunately, enthusiasm can be developed by combining four simple elements that we all have:

1. Interest

It is impossible to be enthusiastic about something you are not interested in and equally as challenging to develop interest about a subject, project, or issue without enthusiasm.

What lights your fire? What are you interested in or find fascinating?

2. Knowledge

When you do learn something new about your interests, you begin to understand it’s importance and your enthusiasm gathers speed. The more you know, the more enthusiastic you become because you can see more opportunities.

Identify your own knowledge and skills gaps. You can find several online assessments that can test for example, your interpersonal, leadership and team management skills etc. Take time to invest in your own education and take action to plug as many of your skills and knowledge gaps as you can. All industries and fields constantly evolve, and new skills and knowledge are constantly needed. Cover as wide a range of different skills as possible, so that your education is comprehensive.

3. Belief

You must believe what you tell yourself and others. Enthusiasm is contagious. People will latch onto your enthusiasm and you will too. You can develop belief by repeating this or a similar affirmation: “I can, I will, I must.”

4. Motivation

Motivation and enthusiasm come from within. You can listen to a motivational speaker or read this article or my books in a momentary burst of enthusiasm, but the true test of your enthusiasm is when the going gets tough. Successful people create personal reasons for why they absolutely must succeed. What is your why?

Meditation

Meditation can boost your success by making you feel happier daily. Want a simple, effective, and convenient way to tap into the happy, motivated, and positive state of mind that you need to succeed? Try this: Find a quiet, comfortable place and sit down. Choose a meditation posture that works for you. Relax your shoulders and release any tension you notice in your body, for example in your jaw or neck, etc. Try to keep your back straight, as alignment will support your awareness and discourage drowsiness.

Sit quietly and remain in the moment. Learn to observe the thoughts, sensations and emotions that appear in your mind. Acknowledge them and let them go. This is meditation: awareness, non-judgement and letting go in the here and now. Become conscious of your breathing and use it as the anchor for your busy mind and the basis for your meditation practice.

Genuine meditation practices nurture our innate potential for happiness and awareness. The first few times you meditate, try it for a couple of minutes at a time. You can increase the duration and frequency when it feels right. There is no right or wrong duration or frequency of meditation. What is important is that you take time to monitor your thoughts and feelings. Thinking is simply the mind in motion. We become what we think about. Our thoughts produce our feeling, our feelings produce our actions, and our actions produce our results.

Most successful people did not get there by accident or luck. Becoming successful requires hard and smart work, dedication, and most importantly, maintaining a specific set of habits that foster success. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” When we show gratitude, enthusiasm for our goals and learn to observe our thoughts and feelings, we increase our chances of success.

Do you know any other habits of successful people?

• Eliot Kelly is recognized as a serial entrepreneur, business coach and mentor and has been featured on CNN, BBC Three’s Be Your Own Boss and an extensive list of magazines and articles. His five books have been translated in over eight languages and are sold in 29 countries, recently being shortlisted for Best Self-Help and Best Advice Books 2019 by The Author Academy. www.eliotkelly.co.uk, info@eliotkelly.co.uk.

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