12 Good Habits of Highly Successful People

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Copy These Habits, And You Can Have Success, Too!

Do you want to have success in life? If yes, this article covers the good habits of successful people to help you on your self-improvement journey.

Most of us work hard and have the same hours each day. So, why do some people have more success than others?

The answer to that question is quite simple: they have good habits. These highly successful people act upon the right things at the right time in the right way.

Thus, their success is the outcome of practicing good habits. Most importantly, by studying the habits of successful people, you and I can have success, too.

Habits of Successful People

Here are 12 habits of successful people you can copy to succeed in life, too.

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1. They Think Long Term

Successful people have a long-term perspective. They view success as a marathon, not a sprint.

This quote by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson sums it up nicely:

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.”

How do you plant those seeds today so you can enjoy your harvest far into the future? You do it through good daily habits while cultivating your long-term vision. Finally, your vision is who you want to become and what you want to achieve in life.

Related reading: Long-term goal ideas to establish your vision

2. They Set Goals

Successful people break down their long-term vision into attainable goals.

I like the saying, “How Do You Eat an Elephant?”  And the answer is “One Bite at a Time.”

How do you attain your long-term significant objectives in life? The answer to this question is simple: one goal at a time!

Related reading: How to set goals

3. They Work Smart

Successful people make a habit of working smart. They are productive, value their time, and never waste a minute.

If being a success was just about working hard, almost anyone could be successful. 

Here is a quick story to explain how to work smart:

In my 30’s, I was a mid-sized food manufacturing company controller.  I liked the company President and enjoyed learning from him.

His name was Bill, and he had a saying that I remember very well.   It sums up the phrase “working smart” quite nicely.  Bill used to say…

“Always ask yourself two questions: 1) Am I working on the right things? and 2) Am I working on those things the right way?”

That phrase has stuck with me for a long time.  And I often ask myself those two questions no matter what I’m doing. 

So, follow Bill’s advice and work smart.  Ensure you are working on the right things and doing them the best way possible.

4. They Embrace Change

Successful people embrace change.  They see change as an opportunity, not a problem.

As the old saying goes, “The only constant in life is change itself.”

Look for change. It’s everywhere.

When you see something changing, ask yourself how to capitalize on it to achieve your long-term vision and your short-term goals supporting it.

5. They Conquer Stress

Successful people know how to manage stress. It’s hard to be a success if you let stress get the best of you.

Stress will break you down.  It creates health issues.  It will freeze you up and keep you from achieving your vision and your goals.

I know it all too well.  I am a pretty high-stress person and have had periods in my life where stress practically crippled me.

One of the best resources I used to conquer my stress was the book How To Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie. I have read it several times and refer to it frequently.

I encourage you to read the book.  If not, I will leave you with one point Mr. Carnegie makes.  I have found it to be true in my life as well.

Mr. Carnegie found that “90% of the things he worried about never happened”.

So the next time you are stressed about something, consider what Mr. Carnegie discovered and move your thoughts to something more positive. Remember that whatever you are worried about probably won’t happen.

Five habits down and seven to go. Before continuing, pin this image so others who want to achieve success can read this post, too!

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6. They Practice Self Care

Successful people invest heavily in their well-being. Let’s face it: being a success takes a lot of stamina to be your best and do your best every day.

Take care of yourself to feel good. Keep your energy level high. Otherwise, you won’t be able to accomplish your daily goals.

Here are a few self-care tips to pave your path to success.

Exercise regularly. A brisk 20-minute walk around the neighborhood counts.  There are no workout clothes or health club memberships required.  Every little bit of exercise helps, and every step counts.

Drink alcohol in moderation.

Drink plenty of water. It’s essential to stay hydrated during the day.

Eat well and maintain a healthy weight.  Avoid fast foods.  Don’t overeat.

Get enough sleep.  Shoot for 7 hours at night and adjust up or down as necessary.  A good night’s sleep is critical.  You can’t be at your best if you are tired.

Get a good bed.  One of the best investments in myself I have ever made!

7. They Are Always Learning

Successful people make a habit of continuous learning. They NEVER stop learning because they know knowledge is power.

Here are a few ways you can be a lifelong learner, too:

Learn from failure. Failing hurts. So it is a powerful motivator. Ask yourself what went wrong and what you could have done differently.  Never make the same mistake twice if you can help it.

Learn from success. Examine your successes.  Ask yourself what you did right.  And how can you leverage success to achieve another goal?  One success gives us momentum and can lead to a breakthrough in other areas.

Go to seminars and conferences.  Actively participate, read, reflect, and apply new knowledge to your goals and objectives.

Ask questions. Then, listen closely for the answers and insights.

I can’t remember where I heard this expression, but I think it is very accurate:

“We learn very little when we are talking”

So think before you open your mouth to express your views. Maybe it’s better to listen. You might learn something new just by keeping quiet.

Related reading: Ways to become a lifelong learner

8. They Take Time To Think

Successful people think critically and creatively.

I do my best thinking when exercising, commuting, mowing the lawn, or getting ready for work. During these times, I will catch myself whispering to myself. I’m just thinking out loud and talking things out.

Have you ever heard the expression, “I want to sleep on it,” when someone is faced with a significant decision?

That means letting your subconscious work on the problem overnight.  In the morning, the solution often seems clear.

Here are some topics to consider and some questions you might ask yourself.

Think about your career.  How can I get that next client?  How can I add more value at work?

Think about your finances.  How can I make more money?  Am I spending too much money? How can I achieve financial freedom?

Think about your relationships. Do I spend enough time with my family?  Do I have enough friends? Are they the right friends?  Am I happy?

9. They Keep Good Company

Successful people surround themselves with others who practice the habits we discuss today. Conversely, they avoid negative influences and non-believers.

As you and I progress toward our long-term vision, the last thing we need is people telling us we can’t achieve our goals.

Here is a personal confession…

I stayed too long in a job with a boss who always told me I wasn’t good enough. The best day of my career was the day he fired me.

On the one hand, criticism is acceptable and is necessary to grow and be your best.  But seek out those who provide constructive criticism.  Be open to their views, listen, and grow from what they say.

On the other hand, avoid anyone who tries to tear you down repeatedly.

10. They Write Things Down

Successful people make a habit of writing things down, sometimes called journaling. Our thoughts are fleeting, and our memories are short, so capturing what’s on your mind is critical.

One of my professors at school said it this way:

“Taking written notes helps you learn. It forces you to listen closely and synthesize what you hear and see by putting it into your written words.  Doing so is an important part of the learning process.”

Here are some examples of some of the things to journal:

  • Long-term vision
  • Goals
  • Daily to-do lists
  • Notes from meetings
  • Ideas
  • Things to remember
  • Topics to think about

So, keep a notepad or journal and write things down.

11. They Use Positive Self-Talk

Successful people use the power of the pep talk, also known as positive self-talk.

Psychology Today says this:

When adverse events or mistakes happen, positive self-talk seeks to bring the good out of the negative to help you do better, go further, or keep moving forward. The practice of positive self-talk is often the process that allows you to discover the obscured optimism, hope, and joy in any given situation.

12. They Practice Persistent

Successful people never give up.

We all hit bumps and setbacks on the road to success, so you must learn, change, adapt, and persist when facing adversity.

I remember this saying when I was growing up, and I find it rings true to this day…

“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”

Related reading: How to be consistent with your goals

Good Habits Of Successful People: Wrap Up

Achieving success isn’t easy. However, adopting the proper habits is an excellent first step in your search for self-improvement.

Master these 12 habits of successful people, and you will be on your way.

  1. Think long term
  2. Set goals
  3. Work smart
  4. Embrace change
  5. Conquer stress
  6. Practice self-care
  7. Keep learning
  8. Take time to think
  9. Keep good company
  10. Write things down
  11. Use positive self-talk
  12. Practice persistence

Good luck, and thanks for reading. Before you go, pin this image so others can find this post!

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Author Bio: Tom Scott founded the consulting and coaching firm Dividends Diversify, LLC. He leverages his expertise and decades of experience in goal setting, relocation assistance, and investing for long-term wealth to help clients reach their full potential.

Success Habits