While many people dream of lavish lifestyles, five star retreats and exclusive parties, very few people actually live in a way that propels them towards success.
In fact, the vast majority of people aren’t willing to sacrifice now for future reward. Are you one of them?
Think about your daily routine. How much time do you spend watching Netflix? Sending snapchats? Scrolling through your Instagram feed?
Here’s an important lesson: you must reclaim and refocus your time if you want to become successful. We all trade our time for money, so we need to make sure we’re maximizing time and optimizing ourselves for success. Unless you can master time, it will master you.
When you commit to something and take repeated daily action, you’re hot-wiring your brain and body for success. It’s generally accepted that it takes between 30-60 days of habitual action to create a new pathway in your brain.
To help find what works for you, here are 11 daily habits that made these CEO’s wildly successful.
There’s nothing quite like a good workout. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven to flood the brain with endorphins and other feel-good brain chemicals. Exercise also dramatically reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
Jack Dorsey, Co-Founder and CEO of Twitter, is up and running by 5:30am. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz prefers to bike ride with his wife, while Xerox CEO Ursula Burns enjoys a heart-pounding workout with her personal trainer. Whatever you choose, make sure you commit to AT LEAST thirty minutes of strenuous exercise every day.
Here’s one habit that many people overlook. Visualization is incredibly powerful.
As Tony Robbins says, “Whatever you hold in your mind on a consistent basis is exactly what you will experience.” If you’re skeptical, try it.
Spend ten to fifteen minutes a day in a deep, meditative state and visualize the life that you want, down to the little details. Feel, see, smell, touch and taste everything. Our brains struggle to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not. That’s why are scared of “falling” off buildings when wearing virtual reality goggles. Many pro athletes (Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Conor McGregor) swear by this technique.
3. Wake Up Early
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Kayak co-founder Paul English are both avid early risers. Tim wakes up at 3:45am every morning to get a head start on email and hit the gym. Paul gets up no later than 6am, and usually splits his time between meditation, yoga, exercise and emails.
Think of it this way: most people wake up between 6 and 8am. If you wake up at 5am, you’ve got AT LEAST an extra hour on 99% of the population. Put that time to good use.
Meditation is an ancient practice that has made a stirring comeback in western society – and for good reason, too. Research on mindfulness suggest that habitual meditation sharpens attention, memory and emotional intelligence. It’s also been proven to reduce anxiety and lower levels of cortisol in the body.
Hedge fund manager Ray Dalio (worth a cool $16 billion) practices transcendental meditation to keep his ego in check, while Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has been meditating for over a decade.
Studies consistently show that lack of sleep leads to fatigue, irritability, anxiety and difficulty concentrating. According to Ying-Hui Fu, a professor of neurology at the University of California, San Francisco, “Only about five percent of the population can get by on just six hours of sleep.”
Believe it or not, many CEO’s actually manage to sleep well. Arianna Huffington sleeps for eight hours a night, which, according to her, has dramatically improved her performance. Google CEO Eric Schmidt targets eight and a half hours sleep every night, which may come as a surprise to many. Here’s a tip: turn off or put away all electronic devices at least thirty minutes prior to sleeping.
Reading is a shortcut to success. There’s no two ways about it. Some of the world’s most influential leaders swear by it, too. Look at Mark Zuckerburg – in January 2015, he announced he was going to read a new book every other week. You can actually check out every single book he read via the Facebook page, A Year of Books.
Burnout is a real and common problem. To avoid this, many successful CEO’s take some down time to reflect on their days. Arianna Huffington combines early morning yoga and meditation as a way to practice mindfulness ahead of her busy schedule. Oprah, on the other hand, carves out two twenty minute slots every day to sit in complete silence and reflect on her goals and aspirations. Find what works best for you and stick to it.
8. Avoid Alcohol and Drugs
If there’s one commonality amongst most successful entrepreneurs (especially younger ones), it’s that they usually sacrificed alcohol for coffee. Alcohol and drugs are fine in moderation, but be wary that these can become a real hindrance to your performance and output, even at moderate levels.
President Barack Obama admits in his autobiography, Dreams From My Father, that he was a casual drug user and a proficient underachiever. That all changed when he put the beer down and started to jog three miles a day. Little did he know that would carry him all the way to the White House.
9. Eat Healthy
If the thought of kale and quinoa makes you squirm, you may need to re-think your daily diet. The most productive entrepreneurs understand that diet is a key component in determining mental fortitude and physical endurance. Not only does good nutrition dramatically reduce the risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), it also helps regulate stress levels. A clear mind and a healthy body are must-haves for any serious entrepreneur.
10. Show Gratitude
Fear is a major motivation killer, and it can stop you from achieving your goals. Make a list of five to ten things you’re grateful for every night. This shifts you into a growth mindset, because you’re focusing on what you do have, not what you don’t.
In fact, increased gratitude in the workplace was shown to have a genuine impact on levels of engagement and retention amongst employees at JetBlue.
11. 80/20 Rule (Prioritize)
The 80/20 rule is a great way to recognize where your strengths lie and encourage these behaviors. The general idea is that 80% of your success and happiness comes from 20% of your actions or output.
Gary Vaynerchuk is a master practioner of the 80/20 rule. He scaled his agency – VaynerMedia – from a tiny startup in 2009 to one of the biggest digital agencies in the United States in just over seven years.