We all share moments where we jump out of bed and silence that alarm clock. “Just a little longer and I’ll be up”, we tell ourselves. Then we wake up with our phone glued to our face. We go about our day wondering why we try to do so much but accomplish so little.
We may start out doing something with excitement but never quite manage to finish it. We feel sluggish and tired the whole day and can’t seem to work out the reason why. Our progress is stagnant.
If you are one of those who’s struggling to get ahead, here are 15 steps to become a more successful person:
1. Get Up Earlier
Start a day afresh with a little exercise and a cool shower to awaken your senses. It could be breaking a sweat on the treadmill or simply moving around and stretching yourself. Many people are most focused and inspired to get things done during early morning hours.
Try placing your alarm clock over the other side of your bedroom so you literally have to get up to switch it off. Time your heating to come on a little while before you are due to get up. Because, who wants to get up to a cold room right? It’s no wonder why staying under that duvet seems so appealing.
Maybe get things ready the night before, prepare a quick breakfast and store in the refrigerator for the next morning, and set out your workout clothes so you can just get up and get on it without having to think about it too much.
Get creative and see what works for your routine! Other than saving you plenty of time to get work done, getting up early and exercising conserve energy for the day, keeping you from getting tired and flaking out. It’s no coincidence that most successful people on the planet adopt the habit of an early bird.
2. Avoid Using Your Phone for the First Hour
Most people make excuses to look at their phones when they first open their eyes. The next thing they know: they are off to check every one of their social media accounts. After a few hours go by, the brain tires out because it uses up most of the productive energy. Don’t be one of those people.
Focus on your prioritized tasks so your brain can operate on its most efficient mode. If you find it difficult to detach from your phone at first, try this out: as soon as you wake up, visualize an activity you are excited to do (other than phone checking) and count to three. After that, immediately get to it.
For instance, when you want to motivate yourself to get to the gym, imagine yourself getting up, putting on your favourite running shoes and T-shirt. Visualization and a sense of urgency trigger your brain into seeing the action before it actually happens, drowning out other distractions.
3. Practice Gratitude
A positive outlook and a genuine smile can take you places. You attract the same energy that you put out. Starting and ending each day with gratitude for even the smallest things in life can transform the way our days pan out.
Be aware of negative self talk. Every time you hear yourself blame how unfair society, your boss, your parents are, acknowledge it and move on.
Once you’ve let that stress go, stop for a moment and remember what you are grateful for. Maybe start a gratitude journal, and each morning or evening put aside a little time to write in it.
Are you grateful for your health? The loving relationships in your life?
When you are successful in focusing on what you have rather than what you don’t, and just how lucky you are to have it, you will become the master of your mind and your fate.
4. Learn to Laugh at Your Mistakes and Failures
Humour saves the day. There will be times you will feel down and unworthy, feeling like you have accomplished nothing of major substance compared to your peers.
Observing life through a comedic lens can help you bounce back to be a stronger version of yourself. Being able to step back from a situation and looking at it objectively and finding the funny side can really get you through some tough times.
So don’t take life too serious. Live it as it is and laugh at it when you can!
5. Always Give 100%
No matter how tedious or meaningless you find it, any job can teach you valuable lessons. You never know who is watching you for that promotion or a better opportunity. The world has so many complainers and talkers, yet so few people who get things done efficiently.
Find a creative way to do things and to channel your boredom. You will open yourself up to better opportunities to move up. Bored at that barista job? Learn to make latte art and connect with your customers in a meaningful way. What about that data entry job where you have to enter numbers manually? Find a way to automate it!
6. Overcome Your Fears
Fear results in procrastination. What if I don’t have enough money to open a business? What if my parents don’t approve of this career? What if he doesn’t love me back?
Put the all your, “what ifs” behind you. Just do things. You will find it much easier once you start taking action instead of overthinking. Often, fear is an illusion your mind conjures up from all the negativity around you.
Reframe your fear in a different angle. If your greatest fear is public speaking, tell yourself how honored you are standing on the stage to give a life changing speech to people who are willing to listen. Reframing is a powerful tool. You can almost turn into a different person once you change your mindset.
7. Don’t Chase the Money
Money will chase you once you find your purpose and work hard for what you believe in. If you look at Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk, their original intent is to create value and impact. Working hard solely to earn more money burns you out, and you will find little to no meaning in the work you do.
As human beings, we need a belief system to get by – something that means more than just the accumulation of material things.
For example, someone might drop out of a high-flying job in investment banking to travel the world and build an online business where they had flexible time and became their own boss.
Or maybe someone might quit their vice president position at a well known financial institution to advocate for human rights. Although it won’t earn them as much money as their previous job, both would be content and proud of their job,
8. Read Books on a Wide Variety of Topics
Spend at least 2 hours a day reading books and write down your thoughts and comments. Reading books improves critical thinking, expands your imagination and enriches your ability to make meaningful associations.
You will set yourself apart from many others who get too distracted by social media to even pick up a book. Reading books also helps you stay in the moment and improves your attention span. Your brain is not operating on multitasking mode when it is only you and the pages.
9. Listen to Yourself
This could be done by writing in your journal or sitting by yourself in a quiet room with no electronic devices. Spend as little as 5 minutes each day recharging your energy and refocusing your mind to filter out the noises society impresses upon you.
Whenever your mind makes excuses to let in negative thoughts, slow yourself down and disconnect with the outside world. It’s magical how just a few minutes of silence and self reflection brings so much energy and confidence.
10. Try Something New Every day
Get out of your comfort zone. Visit a place you’ve never been to. Speak in front of a large audience. Apply for a job overseas. Talk to strangers at the networking event.
Start doing little things that set you up for a bolder and bigger adventure! How you spend your day dictates much of how you spend your life. It may surprise you where life ends up taking you.
11. Leave Your Mark Everywhere You Go
Don’t stress out that you have to run a billion dollar business to leave your legacy. Try to leave something behind that’s “authentically you”. Make sure your positive outlook and wisdom inspire others.
Your speech is emotionally charged and uniquely you. Your writing conveys your experience, your struggles and valuable lessons. Keep motivated by visualizing everything you do will be recognized and appreciated.
This mindset will push you to do your best, even in trivial tasks.
12. Go Above and Beyond
Be proactive in your job. Don’t be a doormat who is told what to do and get stuck in the old system. You can always find something to fix or to improve in the way things are run in daily life if you observe closely.
Offer to help create a better solution, and go beyond what you are assigned to do. Not everyone is observant and hardworking enough to take initiatives to study and come up with an effective approach.
As a result, you will accelerate faster than anyone in the game and your chance of success will double.
13. Review Your Goals Regularly
Goals keep you on track and focused. Your route to achieve that goal doesn’t have to be complex.
If you’re determined to become a writer, your system can be as simple as “wake up at 5 in the morning, write up to 1000 words, take a small break, write another 1000 words every day”.
Use goals to measure how effective your system is so you can tweak it to optimize your performance. You are sure to make progress towards your goal by just taking small steps daily, and staying consistent.
14. Expand Your Skillset
Not everyone can single-mindedly pursue one definite goal. Not everyone can become Tiger Woods or Cristiano Ronaldo who found their passion and achieved mastery in their field. Unless you are 100% sure about what you want, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Consider honing skills that complement one another. For example, you can combine your writing skills with UX design because a good designer is one who tells a story through design mockups and case studies.
Go with the ones that intrigue you and speak to your personality.
15. Make Meaningful Connections
Reach out first to offer a solution to a problem. Don’t seek connections to enrich only yourself. It’s all about the people and the value you create for them.
Ask people questions and find out what makes them tick. Get genuinely interested in what they say. The more you listen, the better you can figure out the problems they are going through and help to come up with a solution.
Remember, your greatest enemy is YOU. No one is holding back but yourself. It doesn’t matter what your family background is, the school you go to, the community you are in, whether you will make it is all in your mind.
Your mind is powerful. Make it serve you instead of the other way around.
Visualize yourself being the director of your own movie, setting the stage, picking your own characters, breaking the scenes down. How do you want your movie to be told? You are the storyteller of your life. Make it a damn great movie!
Live fearlessly with no regrets. One day, when you are old and grey, your story is the only asset that matters. That’s your legacy. So choose your habits wisely, and cultivate a strong discipline, and with each passing day, you will be one step closer to success.