While there is not a clear-cut path to success; there are many habits that can help you achieve your goals in a shorter amount of time. What are the defining habits of highly successful people? To start, they are extremely hardworking. I’ve spent four decades working in the labor industry; settling employment disputes, connecting with dozens of unions, and helping hundreds of clients and companies. I can promise you there are no secrets to overnight success. Building your portfolio and professional reputation takes years of determination. But what else? I’ve outlined five habits that I’ve developed over the years. These habits are not rare. In fact, I’ve witnessed many other successful individuals employ these same tactics. Keep in mind there is no time rush to develop these skills. As a retiree, I can attest that many of these habits took me decades to master.
Habit 1: Never Stop Learning
I received my first wake-up call at age 18 when a board hit me on the head during a construction project. That initial jolt launched me into thinking critically about the work I wanted to do for the rest of my life. That year, I applied to college where I eventually graduated and went on to attend law school. Since then, I’ve valued my education both on the streets and academically. Education is an essential component to success. While college provides a tremendous backbone to professional ventures, life-long learners find ways to open their minds and develop new skills at every stage of their life. One of the easiest ways to continue learning is to read often. Stay up to date on the current projects and developments of your industry.
Habit 2: Develop A New Skill
I’ve read several articles and studies that correlate success with individuals who take the time to build new skills. Are you passionate about learning how to play an instrument or to become fluent in a different language? Have you always wanted to master tennis? Choose a skill and take time each week to develop it. While this skill may not directly impact your professional ventures, the process of polishing and honing in on an interest can reap impressive benefits. This type of work keeps your mind active and engaged. The healthier you maintain your mind, the sharper you will be at work. In addition to the added clarity, you’ll also increase your sense of value and purpose. You might even make new connections or friends throughout the experience. Once you have a solid handle on your skill, choose a different one. Life is long. Take time to better yourself and your skill set.
Habit 3: Create Valuable Connections
I would not have been able to found my own consulting business in my retirement had it not been for the hundreds of connections I made throughout my career. Making connections should be a goal for anyone regardless of their age or profession. Connections add value to the work you do and provide you support and help in unimaginable ways. Make time every day to reach out to a coworker or client. Adopt a self-starting attitude to get to know people better. If you’re looking to improve your soft-skills or interpersonal relationships, try these resources, here and here.
Habit 4: Take Care of Yourself
One of the foundational elements of success is showing up prepared and focused. The easiest way to do this is to eat foods that will support your body and to embark on a consistent physical fitness routine. Proper nutrition has the ability to safeguard your immune system from colds and major diseases. Aim to eat vegetables with each meal. If you find yourself working through lunch, take the time to make yourself a healthy dinner. It’s not about hitting the mark every time, but finding a balance that is manageable.
The same is true for exercise. You don’t need to train for a marathon or even join a gym to reap the impressive benefits that exercise yields. Take a walk before work every morning. Opt for the stairs. Take stretch breaks. Make time to explore local parks or trails with your family or friends on the weekends. Exercise not only keeps your body fit but helps you naturally maintain stress levels by releasing endorphins.
Habit 5: Get Enough Sleep
While we often hear about the benefits of eating a nutritious diet and getting enough exercise, sleep can fall through the cracks of healthy living guidelines. Sleep is critical to your short-term and long-term health. When you don’t get enough sleep, several things happen. You’ll immediately feel tired and unfocused. If you’re not careful, a long-term deprivation can lead to a compromised immune system. This can be a difficult habit to adopt when you’re starting a new business or working long hours at a new company or firm. Make a healthy sleep commitment to yourself and to your health. It’s a long game strategy that can provide numerous physiological perks.
As a retiree, now entrepreneur, I can speak to the value of adopting healthy habits early in life. And it’s important to note that while success is often equated with economic prosperity, I’ve found the greatest happiness existing in my family and personal ventures. The habits listed above will not only impact your career, but they will also improve all areas of your life.