There’s no secret to a better life, everyone has access to all the available information these days, especially on the subject of “daily success habits”, but how many of you can really commit to doing a few of these habits/practices on a daily basis?! What I’ve learned is, that if you want to be successful (and we’re talking long-term – the only success I believe in) you have to change your lifestyle. Where do you start? You start with, as Tony Robbins says, what you do every day. Success is in your daily activities, recently called habits!
In this article I talk about the importance of working to improve your life (self-development) and I give you a list of 17 daily success habits that I’ve actually tested and I still practice every single day.
Why It’s Important To Work on Yourself?
Before you get into any new habit or activity, I believe it’s vital to understand why it’s important and how it can actually improve your life. I am a very logic-oriented person and I also want (and like) to know why it’s good to do certain things or adopt certain habits – I can’t just do it “because it’s good for you” or “because the doctor said so” – I always look for the logic and science behind everything (where possible).
As human beings, we don’t like to more forward until we’re pushed, but I really don’t believe this to be true! I believe that we are perfect as we are and that in our purest state we are interested in our self-growth (be it spiritual or not) and we are growing on auto-pilot. And I know you’re thinking this is not your case or your friends’ case or anyone you personally know, but before you judge me for being “unrealistic”, stop for a minute and think if your education as a child was growth-oriented or not.
One of the most important lessons most of us were never thought is to be aware of your life. Awareness is not thought in school (I’m positive enough to believe this will change in the next 50-100 years at the rate we’re currently expanding our consciousness as a planet) and most of our parents did not have the proper education to teach us about self-development (the concept was premature 30-50 years ago).
Please don’t go blaming your parents for not giving you the proper education (remember, we are the captains of our lives!). Instead, acknowledge that your might not be growth-oriented, offer your parents compassion and find actionable ways in which you can change that starting today (hopefully, I got you covered).
A few reason why it’s important to always work on yourself: body, mind and spirit (soul):
- the Universe is ever expanding and moving forward. If the Universe is always moving forward and you’re not doing anything to grow, that means you are actually moving backwards! You cannot stay the same, you’re either expanding or shrinking your consciousness.
- it helps you become the man you’ve always dreamed of. We all have dreams, but most of us listened to people that told us that “life kicks in and you cannot achieve your dreams – be realistic!”. F$*k being realistic! Working on improving yourself on a day to day basis will help you become more aware of your strengths, weaknesses and which areas of your life can be improved in order to achieve your dreams.
- be more kind – it’s pretty damn hard to be bad, frustrated when you are happy about your life! Trust me, I’ve been on the both sides
- become successful
- prevent illnesses and disasters – most of us wait until something really bad happens (illness for example) to change a habit, to change their lifestyle. This is how we were thought, but by doing something every day to keep your body, mind and spirit in balance, you will actually avoid a lot of pain!
So, here are some ways in which you can improve your life starting right now! Remember that you are your own boss and only you can decide if, after reading the whole article, you will go watch TV or spend 10minutes doing one of these exercises.
17 Daily Success Habits For a Better Life!
1. Get enough sleep!
I know, I know, you’re thinking “who opens up a great habits list with sleep” and that most people tell you to “sleep 4-5h/night and work, work, work”. You can try both of them and see what works for you. However, what I recommend is to get enough sleep if you really want to have creative ideas and be able to deal with all kinds of situations that may arrive in your business or life.
Of course, it’s nice to talk about people that slept 4-5h/night and became successful, but no one tells you the story behind the story: were they really happy, did they feel accomplished, will they do it again? Not many people talk about breakdowns and, because I want to inspire you to be more authentic, I really appreciate those that do. Take Ariana Huffington, for example, who became a sleep evangelist after going through a complete breakdown while working too many hours and ended up in the hospital.
There are, however, certain projects that require you to sleep less in order to finish them (and I really encourage you to take on new challenges and test your limits), but don’t do that for more than 2-3 days in a row if you want to keep your enthusiasm high and have good vibes!
2. Run For 15 Minutes in the Morning
This is one of the most recent habits that I’ve “tested” and I am seeing great results, and because it’s just 15 minutes it’s easier to schedule it in the morning.
I wake up, drink a glass of water to get my inner machine (body) moving and go for a 15-minute run – I am fortunate enough to be able to run along the banks of a river, but no place it’s perfect, just start moving. I always leave 2-3 minutes to just walk at the end of the run – helps to stop the sweating. After that, I hit the shower and prepare my morning shake (more on this below).
Track Your Results!
It will make you feel better to know how much you ran this week, month or even year and I recommend you use some kind of tracking app that will inspire you to keep on running and will also give you insights on how fast you were, how many calories did you burn and all kinds of other statistics. I use Runtastic, but there are other great apps as well – here’s a list of them.
Some of the Benefits:
- for me, it really helps me get past the morning tiredness
- it also helps to start the day with a lot of energy
- clears up negative thoughts
- get some fresh air (this kinda depends on the area that you run, but the earlier you wake up, the better)
- great “me-time” – most of us tend to live crazy busy lives just because they believe “that’s how it is” and forget to have some really important time with themselves. Take advantage of those 15 minutes to build a (better) relationship with yourself!
- release the feel-good chemicals
Of course, it can be for more than 15 minutes – this is just a comfortable place to start. I like to start small (better said, I learned to start small) and work my way up, if I believe the habit brings me joy and happiness.
3. Practice Mindfulness
I started this daily success habits about two years ago, but I have to say that I never kept up with the practice of doing it daily. At one point, I did it for about two full months in a row, but then “life kicked in” and I stopped doing it.
I can say that I kinda meditate every day, but not mindfulness. Some days I practice guided meditations (they just feel easier) or I just sit and connect myself to the universal energies (visualize how energies flow through me from above and below – really cool!), and some days I just do a short compassion meditation where I picture myself as one with the entire world and visualize how I send positive energy to the whole world.
Here’s a short animated video by Andy @Headspace about how much effort you should put into meditation:
Mindfulness, however, is very powerful and can help you better cope with stress and feel better about your life! Being mindful means to just sit and acknowledge your thoughts and emotions – you don’t have to change anything (maybe that’s why I find it so hard to follow – haha).
Here’s another short animated video by Andy @Headspace that will shine more light on what you “should” expect from meditation. See Andy’s TED Talk on the benefits of meditation here – it’s only 10 minutes!
I might add that being mindful is a process of trying to observe your thoughts and emotions without getting involved, a process that never stops because your mind will inevitably wander every now and then and all you have to do is realize that and get back to observing your thoughts. Sounds more simple than it is, especially for a perfectionist like myself.
- my number one favorite app is Headspace – it’s something about Andy’s (the founder and the guy that guides you) voice that is so relaxing, calming and comforting and resonates perfectly with me. Even though it’s guided meditation, it guides you to understand and practice mindfulness! I’ve tried lots of others, but so far this one’s my favorite and I’ve even upgraded to the pro version. You can try it out for free for 10 days and see if you resonate with Andy – it’s worth it! They also have some really cool animation videos that perfectly explain what being mindful really means (like the one above and below).
- Calm: this is Roswitha’s (my girlfriend) favorite and they offer a wide variety of guided meditations for gratitude, compassion, stress relief and much more. They have a free and paid version.
- Holosync: this is on my wishlist. A very powerful meditation app that uses theta waves to induce you in a state of meditation that, they say, it takes years of practice to achieve.
- Breathe: they have guided meditations, but you can opt to just have a background sound and do mindfulness. They have a cool feature to “check in” and see how you feel, and based on that they recommend the best guided meditation for your mood.
- Omvana: the first meditation app that I’ve ever used and it works like a marketplace (kinda like the app store) where you can purchase (they have free ones as well) guided meditation tracks for anything you can think of and also background sounds. Probably the best feature is their mixer, where you can mix a meditation track with your favorite background music and play with the volumes.
4. Practice Yoga – Sun Salutation
When I first heard about yoga I thought that there’s no way it can be that effective. Then, a few months ago, I started yoga ritual: sun salutation, and started to really feel the benefits of doing it regularly (couldn’t manage to do it daily, but I do it 3-4 times/week).
The best thing about yoga is that it helps your entire being (body, mind and spirit) feel better:
- BODY – because you stretch and release tension. On the long run, it helps you become more flexible as well. It can also help you heal your body because most of the poses are strongly related to a specific organ in your body.
- MIND – the breathing during yoga helps release negative thoughts and smoothens the mind – it’s also a kind of mindfulness because you are in the now, in the present moment, focused on your breathing and body.
- SOUL – first of all, it helps you build a better relationship with yourself during those few minutes that you do yoga every day. You’ll end up loving yourself more, which is basically a spiritual practice.
How To Do Sun Salutations
I am not an expert so I won’t go into all the explanations on how to do it, please watch the video below or read this article to find out more about how you can start the practice. There are other yoga poses that you can do daily, I just like this one because it’s a sequence that is easy to remember.
I am not a religious person, even though I believe in God/Universe/Source or whatever you’d like to call it/him/her. I believe in my kind of God, one that loves us and helps us, not the one that you have to be afraid of. I believe that God is everywhere around us and I also believe that there’s only God, no evil guy with a fork below us waiting to torture us for eternity. God is in everything – in us, in the flowers, in the animals, in the mountains and everything that is alive in this Universe.
Praying, if done right (there’s no such thing by the way!), can be really powerful and all you need to have is faith! Why I say there’s no such thing as “the right way to pray” is because it really depends on what you BELIEVE! If you believe you’ll get everything you’ve asked for without being specific or without being grateful, you might just get it. I recommend that you start by being grateful for what you already have and ask from a point of gratitude and faith that you will actually receive what you want at the right moment for you.
Asking for What You Want is GOOD!
This takes me to another belief: we are on this planet to be happy, not to sacrifice anything for being happy after we die! You can have everything you’ve dreamed of and God is more than happy to provide everything for you IF you just ASK! God does not judge you for “wanting too much”! Ask whatever makes you happy and feel worthy of it. God really wants us to live in abundance, love and joy – life should be fun!
A great book that I recommend on the subject of “asking” is “Ask and It Is Given” by Jerry & Esther Hicks.
6. Morning Pages
I stumbled upon this exercise almost a year ago at a mastermind group in US, where Laura from HolisticInitiatives.com explained to me how and why it works.
How it Works?
Every morning (or whatever rule you make), right after you wake up (I guess you can brush your teeth and drink a glass of water – at least that’s what I do) get a sheet of paper and “download” all your thoughts. Write down everything that crosses your mind: from judgments, song lyrics, gratitude logs, resentments, to-dos, fears, doubts, things you appreciate about yourself – EVERYTHING! There’s really no right or wrong here!
When do You Stop?
Some say to aim for three (3) pages and I find it to be too much for me. I’d say to make sure you at least write down a page or so and then start your day.
Why it Works?
It works because it helps you release tension, resentments, negative thoughts, fears, doubts and all the other garbage that you carry every day. This way, your mind will feel more at ease, will become calmer and, in time, you will feel a better sense of peace with yourself and those around you.
Again, by doing it just once you will get zero results!
7. The Evening Reflection Exercise
This is a very powerful exercise that I’ve learned from a therapist a saw about two years ago. It helped me to better understand myself and my actions, but also to see where my life can be improved.
How it Works?
Every evening before you go to sleep, take 5-10 minutes to reflect upon your day and write down what was:
- the same
Look at all areas of your life: emotions, thoughts, events, people, opportunities, etc. Start small with just 2-3 different things at each point and you’ll soon find yourself with lots of other ideas that come to you and you’ll become more aware of your life.
Ideally, you’ll want to evolve into having more things at “better” and “different”, but “worse” and “the same” can give you great insights on what’s not working in your life and will help you take the necessary steps into changing those patterns, habits or things.
8. Go For a Walk
This is one of those daily success habits that ended up becoming a hobby for me. I started going for regular walks about 2 years ago after reading that it can be very beneficial for your mental health. After going for a few walks, it slowly became one of my favorite things to do every day, especially as I enjoy to observe the nature and interesting building and houses – it also works as dream building!
Combine Walking With These Activities
- listening to your favorite audiobook (I only recommend you listen to self-development ones!)
- observing the nature and get some fresh air
- mindfulness – focus on your breath and count your steps until 10 and then start over
- dream building – it can expose you to different things that you might like to have. It can open up a world of new possibilities and it can help you clarify what you really want! Look for houses, cars, people, clothes, gardens, even businesses or character traits – just observe.
Listening to audiobooks while walking opened up a new world for me where I could learn more while relaxing. This is really the best way that I recommend in which you can digest audiobooks and, if you’ve ever tried to sit and listen to an audiobook, you’ll find this to be true.
What was the first book that I’ve listened to while walking? It was “The Greatness Guide” by Robin Sharma – one of my favorite people in the world and I’ve listened to it 2 times more since then. You can listen to it for free on robinsharma.com or if you want to download it, follow this link to get a copy. If you’d rather read it, here’s a link to purchase it on amazon.com.
9. Keep a Gratitude Journal
I know you’ve heard this being recommended everywhere, but that’s only because this daily success habit is so powerful!
Gratitude works on the principles of the Law of Attraction, like attracts like, this only means that you attract more of what you’re focusing on. If you focus on being grateful for all the awesome things in your life, you’ll end up getting more things to be grateful for. Isn’t that amazing?!
This is, by far, the easiest thing you can do to improve your life! It’s scientifically proven to increase your levels of happiness by 25% in about 30 days. Gratitude also helps you better deal with life situations or stress.
How to Get Started?
Start by getting a journal (check out my self-development journal for gentlemen) or a notebook and use it just for this exercise. Every day, in the morning or evening, write down just three things, experiences, people, feelings that you’re grateful for. That’s it! Do it daily and you’ll see amazing results in your levels of happiness.
You can also use apps like “Gratitude!” if you find it easier (they have a built-in reminder), but I recommend the pen and paper.
10. Take a Nap! Seriously.
…and we come to the importance of sleep and being well-rested again. Here’s a fact: I enjoy sleeping and I crave a nap almost every day.
How to Properly Take a Nap?
First of all, let’s get clear on one thing: when I talk about naps, I actually mean power naps, which means that your nap time should be around 20-25 minutes long. No more, nor less than that!
Secondly, rest on your back (place a pillow below your knees to lower the pressure on your lower back) and set the intention of going to sleep by telling yourself that!
Thirdly, there are a few different things you can do while power napping that can seriously improve your resting time:
- Start with a few deep breaths – helps to calm the mind, slow down your heart rate and help you relax.
- Listen to nature sounds or alpha waves (use Youtube – it’s free!)
- Short guided meditation in which you become aware of all your body parts, which will help you to release tension.
- Listen to solfeggio frequencies while you sleep.
You will make up refreshed and ready to go on with the rest of your day, even though you’ll feel like you could sleep more. Pinky promise!
11. Universe To-Do List
I really hope to surprise you with this one habit because it’s not your average to-do list. I’ve first heard about this from IIN (Institute of Integrative Nutrition) through Roswitha, who studies there to become a health coach, and I’ve seen great results for the two months that I used it daily – let’s say that about 70% of what I wrote became reality and pretty fast!
This to-do list is 2 in 1: on the left side you have your regular to-do list and on the right side you have a to-do list for the Universe/God/Source.
What Should You Write on the Universe To-do List?
Anything you can possibly think of! There’s no formula here, just write down what you need and forget about it! After you finish writing both to-do lists, rip off the one for the Universe and trash it. Seriously! You can say out loud or in your mind that “these is not my business, God/Universe will take care of these for me”. All you have to do is believe that it will be taken care of and that everything you wished for will eventually come to life at the right time for you!
12. Write Down Your Ideas
This is one of those daily success habits that it’s done only by people who trust themselves and have a high self-esteem. Why? Because the rest will talk themselves out of every great idea or insight that they get with thoughts like “who am I to have such a great idea”, “it will never work for me”, “that’s just stupid”, “I don’t have the knowledge”, etc.
By writing down your ideas, you actually tell your mind “I trust you, give me more”. Don’t believe that you’ll remember it because the sad truth is that so many things cross our mind every day that you’ll have a hard time remembering it the day.
Some ideas will seem weird or crazy or even stupid, but remember that you’re always evolving and a stupid idea today might be a smart/creative idea in a month or six months.
How To Get Organized?
I use Evernote to organize my thoughts in Stacks, Notebooks and Notes. I’ve tried several other apps, but I’ve always gone back to Evernote. There are times when I am in a rush and just open up the iPhone Notes and download my ideas in there. About twice every year, I go through all of them and organize them in Evernote. I find this to be very useful because I have to go through the notes, read them and this helps me remember ideas that will eventually produce new ones.
13. Tapping – Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
Tapping was the first self-development exercise I did in late 2012 when I started on this journey of getting to know myself better and grow all areas of my life. I’ve first learned about EFT from my good friend, Laura, that I’ve mentioned above and I remember skyping with her in order to teach me the basics. Since then, I’ve done it probably more than 1,000 times and it worked like a charm most of the times.
The science behind tapping is pretty simple: it combines Eastern acupressure point (or meridians) with Western psychotherapy to give you the best of both worlds. In other words, it helps you release the negative energy stuck on your meridians (which are energy points in your body discovered more than 5,000 years ago) while helping you re-program your brain through affirmations.
There are more than 15 million people using tapping in the world and there are so many success stories – just google it.
You can start doing it on your own, but if you want fast results I recommend you find someone that was trained for this (google it).
Here Are a Few Resources to Get You Started:
14. Morning Shake with Superfoods
I love this habit so much that I cannot wait to wake up and drink (I actually like to make it thicker and just eat it) my morning shake, right after I run, while watching Seinfeld, Friends, Ellen Show, Jimmy Fallon or a TED talk. I know it’s not the most healthy thing I can do (eating + watching a tv show), but hey – we choose the areas in our lives where we are allowed to cheat!
I am pro mindful eating and I encourage you to do so, but nothing compares to a good laugh in the morning (yes, I only watch videos that make me feel good, laugh or inspire me).
Ideas on What You Can Include in Your Morning Shake:
You’ll be able to create your own recipe after doing it a few times and experiment to see if you like it thicker or not. I just like to mix pretty much everything that I got in the house.
These are just a part of the daily success habits that I’ve tried over the years, but these seemed to have played the biggest role in my life so far. There are, however, hundreds if not thousands of other habits that you can try and see how they work for you. We are all different, so what works for me, might not work the same for you. Experiment, experiment and experiment again, but always remember that you have to stick to a new habit for at least 2-3 months in order to see some results and conclude if it works for you or not. A journal, where you can track your progress and insights, will help as well, otherwise you might feel like it did not work.