Habits help or hurt us. The qualities of your health, wealth, relationships and happiness are the products of your habits.
Here’s how six entrepreneurs and members of The Oracles embraced and ingrained their success rituals.
1. If you can't see it, it doesn't exist.
Write everything down! I’m known for my punctuality, which I attribute to writing everything down. Before smartphones, my entire life was inside my agenda book. I carried that little thing everywhere. God forbid I would ever lose it—there would go my life.
Thankfully, today, technology makes our lives immensely easier: if you lose it, well, there's always the cloud. I use my iPhone to schedule my tasks, meetings, appointments, and goals. I'm a very visual person. I write big yearly goals and smaller short-term goals and refer to them often.
Writing everything down not only increases your daily productivity, you also literally bring your goals to life.
2. Early to rise, look on the bright side.
Several habits, consistently applied, have given me incremental growth to higher success. But two have particularly skyrocketed my success. First, I'm a member of the 5 a.m. club. Each day, before the rest of the world wakes, I’m working on my dreams and crushing my daily tasks. By noon, I’ve executed 80 percent of my to-do list.
Second, I'm an incurable optimist. No matter how many negative things happen in my life, I always transform them into positives. Being loyally committed to a positive mindset has helped me solve problems faster than anyone I know. I joke that I never experience problems in life like most people; all I get are opportunities.
Start your day early. Prime your mind to seek opportunities instead of solving problems.
3. Show me your habits, I’ll predict your future.
A powerful morning routine trumps all habits. The average person starts their day with the snooze button, negative TV news, poor nutrition, and traffic—not a cocktail for a high-performance day.
Make a conscious choice to wake up earlier. I start my day with the “10/10” visualization. First, I ask: “What 10 things am I most grateful for?” I experience overwhelming gratitude for my health, the love of my family, where I live, how I think, my partners, clients, teammates, and more.
Second, I think about my top 10 short- and long-term goals. I view them as already accomplished. This routine can be done in under five minutes to shape your day in a powerful way.
Then, I elevate my heart rate with physical exercise: weight training, yoga, going for a walk. I finish the routine by reviewing my day, the meetings I’ve scheduled, how I want them to go, the calls I need to make, and the results I want to produce.
4. Balance intense focus with overall growth.
We accomplish so much because we are inherently unbalanced. We focus on a quest intensely and excel beyond what most believe is possible. However, being fulfilled requires a certain amount of balance. How can you have both? By splitting your achievements from your measurements.
The measure of a good person is not what they’ve accomplished; it's who they are, day to day. Embrace intense periods of focus to make substantial strides in your main quest. At the same time, measure yourself on diverse metrics to recognize your overall growth.
I track the eight core areas we grow in:
- Charisma: Have I connected with someone I care about? Am I tending to my relationships?
- Dexterity: Have I moved my body?
- Health: Have I eaten clean, drunk enough water, and cared for myself?
- Intelligence: Have I learned, taught, or created?
- Luck: Have I helped someone?
- Strength: Have I lifted something heavy?
- Willpower: Have I gotten uncomfortable?
- Wisdom: Have I connected to myself?
Growing in five of these categories makes a good day. Doing seven is amazing. All eight? That’s stellar. It's easier once you realize that the right leveraged actions help fulfill the others. I no longer have bad days, because every day, I see my overall growth.
Start by taking time daily to connect with yourself through meditation and journaling. I practice Zazen meditation and free-form journaling. Experiment and find a practice that works for you. Stick with it. You'll be amazed where it takes you.
5. Achieve perfect discipline.
We are only our habits, our rituals and our patterns. These determine the outcome of our health, wealth, relationships, and ultimately, our happiness.
The single most important habit I maintain is a disciplined plan. This is related to knowing my outcomes and then instigating a disciplined plan to deliver on them. Focus on your vision and your passion, and use a disciplined plan to execute.
But be cautious to how your mind can become chaotic. Don’t let it distract your plan. Take the time to regularly calm your mind. Maybe sit in silence, listen to a guided meditation, or chant a mantra. Affirmations will get you out of your head and guide you to achieving your greatest desires. Even reading a nonfiction book for 10 minutes each day will massively impact your mindset.
6. Commit to consistent, realistic short-term goals.
Every successful entrepreneur needs to incorporate meditation into their daily lives to break from the daily all-consuming chaos and free up room for creativity. Meditation can take the form of prayer, silence, writing in a gratitude journal, even dancing—anything that takes you out of your own head.
Start with a realistic goal. Substituting the daily technology obsession for sitting in silence for three hours will be too overwhelming for most people. My initial meditation goal was just 60 seconds a day. Such a small goal removed all the pressure of completing the task. It was impossible to say, “I don't have the time to meditate today.”
By setting a realistic goal, I’ve stayed consistently committed for years. First thing in the morning, I sit on the edge of my bed and meditate for at least 15 minutes; this isn’t a remarkable amount of time to take out of your day, even though sometimes it feels like you’ll never find a spare second.
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Originally published on Entrepreneur.com. ©2017 by Entrepreneur Media, Inc. All rights reserved.