When it comes to getting ahead in life — snagging great jobs, opening your business, accomplishing your dreams, etc. — it can help to copy from the best. What do the most successful people do, every day, to give themselves an advantage? By looking to the habits of highly success people who have already been there, and done that, you can gain some key insight into how to get ahead.
While there are some not-so-odd pillars to success, like staying organized, networking, and working towards small goals every day, it seems the quirkier habits are the ones that unite the best of the best. "Some behaviors may seem obsessive or Type A, but successful people tend to be on top of things because of these habits, since they are constantly checking on things and asking questions," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW tells Bustle.
The most successful people you know are often those "annoying" folks at work, who are always raising their hand and clarifying things. Or the ones staying late at work, or in school, to double (and triple) check they did everything correctly. They're also the ones with bizarre daily routines, and weird rituals that help clear their heads and get them ready for their day.
Sure, it may all seem odd, but these tricks and tactics work. Read on for a few habits of successful people you might want to steal for yourself so you, too, can get ahead.
1. They Have A Daily Uniform
If getting dressed in the morning really trips you up, why not do like the professionals and limit your choices? "As President Obama famously explained ... [having] only two colors of suits to choose from reduced his decision fatigue," Christine McAlister, a business and success coach at Life With Passion, tells Bustle. "I wear a trendy black workout top with a built-in bra (one less thing to put on!) and patterned capri workout pants nearly every work day." What could your uniform be?
2. They Eat The Same Thing For Breakfast Every Day
Following that idea, many successful people eat the same thing for breakfast every day and follow a strict morning routine. "Consistency with anything makes it become a habit, and when something is a habit, it becomes easier to do with less effort," author and life coach Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. By taking as many decisions out of your morning routine as possible, you'll have brain power left over for other, more important, things.
3. They Say "No" All The Time
Taking control of your time is key when it comes to having success, even if it feels awkward, or like you're letting people down. "I don't do things randomly and I'm deliberate about how I spend my time," says certified professional organizer Joshua Zerkel. "When I'm intentional with my time, the time spent seems to have more value." So learn how to say "no," and say it whenever necessary.
4. They're Always Talking About Their Goals
It may be annoying for others if you're always waxing poetic about your life goals. But who cares? "When you share these publicly with people who can support you, you're letting them know that you've decided to make valuable changes and they can keep you accountable, while encouraging you along the way," Zerkel says. And that's so important when it comes to getting ahead.
5. They Journal Every Day
Even if journaling isn't your thing, it may be worth a try. "Daily journaling, even about seemingly unrelated topics, like gratitude, creates a better brain that thinks more clearly and makes better decisions, leading to more success," McAlister says. "I journal daily and teach my clients this tactic to get focused on the money-making tasks that will help them grow their businesses faster."
6. They Let The Curse Words Fly
Are you famous for your four letter words? If so, it may be a good habit after all. "Seriously, most successful people and clients I know are quite lax with their language, throwing in curse words here and there (or even more often than not)," says Kamila Gornia, business coach and founder of Heart Behind Hustle. "While it might seem annoying or 'unprofessional' to some people, it actually has been correlated with higher intelligence and it makes us appear more honest. But more than that, when things are tough, cursing allows us to release some pent up energy, making more room for continuing on going — to get more done."
7. They Have Two Phones
OK, so it's definitely not necessary to have two phones in order to be successful. But there are some benefits to having multiple gadgets. As coach James Pollard says, "One of the most unique habits I’ve noticed among the most successful people is that they have duplicates of the same electronic devices." He tells me this strategy allows them to choose what they want to work on, focus on the most important things, and take specific work with them on the go. Pretty smart, right?
8. They Keep A Strict Weekly Routine
Whatever routine you decide is best for you, make like a super successful person and stick with it. "Meditation is one of them. Being obsessive about getting at least some exercise three times per week is another one," Pollard says. "Those are just some examples, but success is the result of disciplined habits exercised over time." And, sticking to a routine can help structure your week, which can make it easier to get things done.
9. They Hang Out With "Tough" People
There is no one personality trait that defines successful people, but experts seem to agree most have a bit of grit. "Grit is a contagious behavior, so find ways to embed all kinds of people with authentic grit in your day-to-day life," says Caroline Adams Miller, a positive psychology expert, executive coach, and bestselling author. They may give you that edge you need to get ahead.
10. They Give Themselves An Incentive
Whatever your goal may be — personal, professional, etc. — it can be incredibly motivating to give yourself an incentive. "Incentives to accomplish big goals, especially financial incentives, have been found to work in a variety of situations, particularly with hard goals," says Miller. What would you reward yourself with if you met your goal? Write it down and use it as motivation.
11. They Act As If They've Achieved Their Goals
While someone else might think it's annoying that you're acting as if you already achieved your goals, Miller tells me there's absolutely nothing wrong with faking it 'til you make it. So go ahead and choose a role model, embody their best traits, and see if it doesn't help move things along.
12. They Laugh As Much As Possible
On your way to success, it's normal to experience some ups and downs. And that's why it's important to keep a sense of humor, even in the face of turmoil. "This may seem odd, but every morning, I set a timer for two minutes and I laugh," says author and speaker Dr. Rubina Tahir, DC. "Why? Well, laughter is the best medicine: it decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells, improving your body's ability to fight off pathogens. And the best part, laughter releases endorphins, the feel good chemicals which will promote a happy and clear state of mind. This helps me take on the day and increases my productivity, which is so necessary for success in business and personal goals."
13. They Set Up Strict Boundaries
Again, this one might be tough, and it may suck for other people when you push them away in favor of getting your work done. But you gotta do what you gotta do. "Successful people don't have time to cater to other people's frivolous demands," says author and life coach Kali Rogers. "They figure out what they need in their life to perform at a higher level, and they stick to that. Sometimes this rubs people the wrong way, and can even be annoying ... but it's how they keep themselves healthy."
14. They're Always Talking About Work
Again, successful people talk about their goals, but they also talk about the work they do, because it means so much to them. "Work conversation is the norm for them, and this can bother others who aren't as successful or as passionate about what they do," Rogers says. "There is a stigma about how always talking about work might mean you don't have a life — but that's not true for them. So good luck talking about the weather or traffic — they probably won't play ball!"
15. They Say Positive Affirmations
Another odd but incredibly helpful habit: talking to yourself in the mirror. "Successful people build themselves up by stating daily positive affirmations," says Hershenson. "Looking in the mirror and saying out loud, 'You are great!' or 'You are going to have a positive day' helps get the day going on a positive note."
16. They Write Out Plenty Of To-Do Lists
If you're the type to cover your desk in sticky notes, or if you're always writing to-do lists in your planner, keep doing your thing. "Successful people keep daily lists of what they need to get done," Hershenson says. "Once a task is completed, it gets crossed off." Just make sure you're doing it right.
17. They Stay Incredibly Focused
It's certainly OK to have fun, but successful people often stay serious to an impressive degree. "It may seem 'weird' that your friend runs five miles a day ... or your girlfriend spends five hours building her business venture and reading about how to run a business, but they will also reap the rewards of those successful efforts," says relationship expert and life coach David Bennett. If you want to put in the time, too, don't let anyone's comments hold you back.
If any of these tips grab your attention, try incorporating them into your own life. After all, there's a reason highly successful people do these things every day, however odd or annoying they may seem.
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