5 Habits That Successful People Cultivate

Wanna be a star? Don’t we all. If flying high were all about changing a few habits here and there, we’d all be at it.

But while it’s true that there are many sides to success, there are some things you can do to increase your productivity, maximise your potential and get your head in the game…


Plan ahead

“What’re you up to tomorrow?”

“Oh, y’know. Same old.”

We all know what we’re doing tomorrow – vaguely. It might be going to lectures, or trundling off to work, or watching old-school Justin Bieber music videos on repeat. What we don’t do is write all this stuff down the night before, because – well – that’s more effort than it’s worth, right?

The rich and famous disagree. From Ben Franklin to Obama, political superstars are famous for planning every day with meticulous care, and they’re not the only ones. Organising your day before it starts, setting daily goals and waking up with a concrete sense of doing stuff can help you get seriously productive.

So get yourself a diary and plan, every night, what you’re going to get accomplished the following day. Or use the 18-minute method. Whatever – just get organised.


Wake up early

So many high-fliers swear by early starts, it’s hard not to feel guilty swanning into college at midday. Believe the hype: getting up early enhances your productivity, boosts your health and benefits your overall mind-set.

In 2010, Christoph Randler conducted a survey of 367 university students. His research suggested that early risers were more productive, proactive and self-confident than their night-owl counterparts.

“When it comes to business success,” he concluded, “morning people hold the important cards. My earlier research showed that they tend to get better grades in school, which get them into better colleges, which then lead to better job opportunities. Morning people also anticipate problems and try to minimize them.”

You don’t have to be up at 4.30 AM to make the most of your morning. Take it slow at first; go to bed 15 minutes earlier, and rise at that interval again. Repeat until you’re getting up at 8 AM latest – earlier if you can. You’ll find so much more time opens up in the day, those few bleary-eyed minutes will be worth it.



Yes, you knew this was coming. A devout fitness regime seems to be a prerequisite for success – just look at the number of celebrities who boast one! If you want to join their number, you’d better hop on that treadmill fast.

Exercise is seriously good for not only your physical but your mental health. It’s motivating, inspiring and empowering. So whether it’s joining the gym round the corner, buying those tasty running shoes or unearthing that yoga book your mum bought you last Christmas, get sweaty to get ahead.


Eat smart

Steve Jobs’ carrots obsession. Novak Djokovic’s post-match grass-munching. Renee Zellweger and her ice cubes… Okay, maybe you don’t want to eat exactly like the stars. But eating smart does not equal eating weird; there are ways to improve your daily intake that don’t mean turning orange.

Start the day with a glass of lemon water – literally lemon juice in water, with optional salt. This morning tonic aids digestion and decreases bloating, energising you for the day ahead.

Always eat breakfast. Apart from metabolism and weight-control benefits, a 2013 study by the University of Minnesota indicated that people who eat breakfast have significantly lower risk of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes when compared to subjects who skip it.

Indulge in smaller meals at shorter intervals to keep blood sugar up, and try not to eat too close to bedtime – it could ruin your sleep. Lastly, caffeine takes eight hours to escape the system, so don’t drink it after 2 PM if you go to bed at ten.


Mr Popular

Did you know that the people you’re closest to may be a measure of who you are as a person? So said Jim Rohn, the businessman and motivational speaker who thought that everyone is equivalent to the average of the five people they spend the most time with.

Successful people know this. That’s why they cultivate friendships with other high-fliers – to maximise their environment. Just look at Taylor Swift, whose all-powerful ‘squad’ can be seen with her wherever she goes. Or any high-profile business couple, for that matter.

As Will Rogers once said: “A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.” We’re guessing this goes for women, too.


As for two habits the successful few don’t boast about…


Trying to please everyone

The sooner you realise the impossibility of this, the better. Nobody can go through life pleasing everyone; there is give and take whoever you are, and what delights one person will find a more critical audience elsewhere. Don’t hold yourself hostage to other people’s hang-ups – do what you believe in, for the people you value most.


Comparing yourself to others

People progress at different speeds throughout life. Some make it young and burn out, some smash suddenly through the ceiling at 50, and some enjoy long-term, rewarding careers that, for whatever reason, invite few accolades from those around them. Whichever you are, don’t despair; you are not your peers, and never will be. Take joy in your own success, and you will be fulfilled.



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