9 Simple Habits of Successful People

by Ryan Hart

Updated on February 14, 2019

Image of Successful Person

Why is it that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer? What unique habits of successful people make them so much different than the rest of the population?

Well, in my research I found that there are a few simple habits that successful people practice daily.

However, along my journey of deconstructing the strategies of the uber wealthy and successful, I came across the same complaint by many people that were trying to improve themselves. They said, I don’t want vague anecdotes about habits, I want actionable tools that I can use to become successful myself.

That’s why I decided to share the worksheet I developed to practice success everyday. It’s called Success Habits Worksheet and you can download a copy here.

1. Practice Gratitude Everyday

Studies have shown that an easy way to make yourself depressed is to compare yourself to others. On the other hand, the key to happiness is gratitude - the feeling of being thankful.

Although you may be working hard to improve your life and grow, the key to success and feeling confident is to be grateful for the things you already have.

How do can you start practicing gratitude everyday? You can simply write down one thing you are thankful for every morning.

That could be as simple as being grateful for your wife, kids or a steady job. Practicing gratitude is a great way to start your day on the right foot. Plus, it’s a key ingredient to being and feeling successful.

2. Build Your Network

You are probably sick of hearing the Jim Rohn quote: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” After all, it is unlikely that you will ditch your friends and start hanging out with millionaires tomorrow.

It just doesn’t happen that way.

But you can start connecting with one new person everyday.

That can be a simple “thank you” email sent to someone you admire. Or you can grab a coffee with a supervisor in your office.

Eventually you will have built up a large network of people you can look up to and get advice from when you need it the most.

“Identify the people in your industries who always seem to be out in front, and use all the relationship skills you've acquired to connect with them. Take them to lunch. Read their newsletters. In fact, read everything you can. Online, there are hundreds of individuals distilling information, analyzing it, and making prognostications. These armchair analysts are the eyes and ears of innovation. Now get online and read, read, read. Subscribe to magazines, buy books, and talk to the smartest people you can find. Eventually, all this knowledge will build on itself, and you'll start making connections others aren't.” ― Keith Ferrazzi, Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

3. Improve Yourself by 1% Everyday

Successful business owners know that they need to grow their themselves and their business everyday. Whether that means reading everyday, acquiring new customers or practicing new skills, growth is essential for success.

Another popular cliche says that what got you here won’t get you to where you want to go next. There are usually fundamentally different skills required to get to the next level of success. And to acquire those skills you need to practice and grow.

Successful people know that reaching their goals won’t happen overnight. They need to work at their goals and improve themselves just a little bit every single day - the need to make success a habit.

A popular blogger, James Clear, likes to tell the story about Dave Brailsford, who was the General Manager of Great Britain’s professional cycling team. He was given the task of helping Great Britain win the Tour de France. His strategy was to focus on the “aggregation of marginal gains.”

Put simply, he focused on improving everything the team did by just 1%. Over time these improvement compounded on each other and they went on to win the Tour de France in just 3 years.

"Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day." —Jim Rohn

4. Take Consistent Action

The secret to reaching your goals is to take action everyday - yes, it’s that simple. I’ve found that most successful people like to claim that “overnight success” is a myth. Instead all of their attempts and failures led them to where they are today.

From the outside it might look like they went from a nobody to a very successful celebrity in an instant, but that is rarely the case.

It’s not uncommon to hear a successful founder or CEO say that they are a 10 year overnight success.

“Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying basic fundamentals.” ―Jim Rohn

5. Track Your Progress

According to “The Progress Principle” by Teresa Amabile, the best way to feel good about your work everyday is to feel like you are making progress. To do that you need to set an output based goal and milestones along the way. Then measure your progress.

Amabile completed one of the largest studies on inner work life and found that the feeling of progress leads to more positive feelings about your work and better outcomes.

However, how many of us set a big goal and then get frustrated when we fail to make progress toward our goal. I know I have felt this many times. If you want to feel like you are making progress, you need to have a measurable goal and track your progress daily.

"Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Whether they are trying to solve a major scientific mystery or simply produce a high-quality product or service, everyday progress—even a small win—can make all the difference in how they feel and perform." -Teresa Amabile, The Power of Small Wins

6. Have Extreme Focus and Clarity - Focus on One Goal at a Time

The easiest way to fail at anything is to get distracted and give up before you succeed. I believe that “shiny object syndrome” has caused more failure in our modern world than any other obstacle combined.

Successful people have extreme focus on their goals and clarity about how they will accomplish them. Most importantly, they are also focused on why they are doing what they are doing.

In my experience this is one of the most difficult habits of successful people to put into action but the most powerful when done properly.

“It’s not the chatter of people around us that is the most powerful distractor, but rather the chatter of our own minds. Utter concentration demands these inner voices be stilled. Start to subtract sevens successively from 100 and, if you keep your focus on the task, your chatter zone goes quiet.” ― Daniel Goleman, Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence

7. Get Feedback on Your Ideas

The most successful people know that ideas by themselves are worthless. Success people know that it was a combination of a good idea and hard work that got them to where they are. For that reason they are not afraid to get feedback on their ideas from peers and mentors.

Getting feedback is crucial to improving your skills and overcoming obstacles.

“Feedback-seeking behavior - as it's called in the research literature - has been linked to higher job satisfaction, greater creativity on the job, faster adaptation in a new organization or role, and lower turnover. And seeking out negative feedback is associated with higher performance ratings.” ― Douglas Stone, Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

8. Set Process Based Goals, Not Results Based Goals

One of the easiest ways to send yourself into a rut and feel overwhelmed is to set results based goals. This is one of the reasons most people never hit their goals. For example, if you set a goal to lose 20 lbs (results based) but you are not seeing any progress when you step on the scale, you are likely to feel bad about yourself and give up.

Instead, successful people set output or process based goals they can control. Rather than setting a goal to lose 20 lbs, they set a goal to go to the gym one time per week. Then after they master that goal, then they set a new goal to go 2 times per week and so on.

Eventually, if they stick to their goal of going to the gym, it is highly likely that they will lose 20 lbs, feel healthier and have more energy. All while feeling good about their goal and actually seeing results.

The same can be said for business owners. Rather than set a goal that you cannot directly control like make $250,000 this year. A better goal would be to call 5 clients every day. Whether they say “Yes” or not is out of your control, but calling more clients will get you closer to your goal of making more sales and revenue.

"We place unnecessary stress on ourselves to lose weight or to succeed in business or to write a best-selling novel. Instead, you can keep things simple and reduce stress by focusing on the daily process and sticking to your schedule, rather than worrying about the big, life-changing goals. When you focus on the practice instead of the performance, you can enjoy the present moment and improve at the same time." --James Clear, Forget About Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead

9. Review Goals Everyday

How do successful people accomplish their goals consistently? Not only do they regularly set goals, but they review their goals every day.

Accomplishing a big goal can be a long and tough process. I know from experience that it is easy to set a goal, but sticking to it can be difficult over a long period of time. That’s why it’s so important to review your goals every morning.

Motivation experts like Tony Robbins and Grant Cardone say one of their keys to success is writing down their goals every morning in a journal.

Grant Cardone takes this a step further by writing his goals in the past tense. For example, if his real estate goal is to own 10,000 apartments, he will write down “I own 10,000 apartments.”

No matter how you decide to review your goals, the most important part is that you remind yourself what you are working towards every morning. This will help give you the focus and motivation to keep pushing forward when things get tough.

Habits of Successful People

Conclusion

Did you notice a pattern in the 9 simple habits of successful people?

Here it is: you need to practice these habits EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Maybe like me, you’ve read dozens of books and articles on the habits of successful people. But what you really want is a proven system you can follow to build better habits. Right?

Well, if there’s one thing I want you to take away from this article is a simple system you can use to start implementing these habits in your daily life. That’s why I created the Success Habits Worksheet. You can download it here.

Simply print out the worksheet every week and carry it in your pocket. Use it to track your progress and create habits that will help you reach your goals and become successful.