Let’s face it, success can be a real pain in the… well, you know. It’s like trying to climb Mount Everest in high heels. But, don’t worry, there are a few daily habits you can adopt to make your climb to the top a little less painful. In this blog post, we’re going to talk about four daily habits that will increase your chances of success. And, we promise to keep it as painless as possible. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!
1. Expressing Gratitude
We are sentient beings revolving around an otherwise unremarkable star suspended in the void of space. We are capable of thought, breathing the air, and experiencing each day as it comes. For those who are not religious, one can be humbled by the limited statistical odds of that even being possible. Some might shrink at the thought of the infinite cosmos, but I tend to be humbled by the opportunity granted to me to experience reality.
Business owners are, as a collective bunch, often the most stressed among us. They overwork themselves, they put too much on their shoulders, are the most self-critical, and in the day-to-day operations of their business they have the tendency to lose sight of what’s important. Success is partially a mindset. In order to obtain it, one must think about a destined future and a future self in that reality. All great inventions or human movements have started with individuals looking at the present moment and visualizing how the world would be different if one particular thing was changed. When one visualizes a future self in a much better future reality, by default this might lead one to think that the present self and reality is not quite good enough.
It is true that perhaps you’d be a little bit more happy and less stressed with a more successful business. It’s true that your future self would thank you if you worked a little harder today to ensure your future self a little comfort tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean that all elements of your current self are bad, or that everything must change. I’ve had the pleasure over the past 4 months to become acquainted with my newborn son. As someone who grew up in less-than-ideal living conditions, I am unbelievably thankful for this opportunity. No matter how stressed I am, how badly my day has gone, or how many responsibilities I try to juggle at once, I never allow that to influence my ability to return an infant’s smile.
Gratitude is free and expressing it can be life changing.
2. Imagine Possibilities with a Positive Twist
This next one deals with the imagined reality we are all striving towards. If you’re anything like me, you tend to overanalyze situations in your head. If I have a big presentation for the next day or I am meeting with a potential client, I’ll over analyze all the possible ways that things can go wrong. How powerful would it be if instead of analyzing all the possible ways that a situation could go wrong, you thought about the opposite? What about all the many ways that the situation could go right?
Visualization is a powerful tool for achieving success. When we visualize a positive outcome, it helps set our minds in the right direction and increase the chances of it actually happening. This is partially the point of the book Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. This is because visualization activates the same neural pathways as taking action towards a goal.
So for 2023, each day give yourself some slack and think about not what could go wrong, but what could go right.
3. Say something kind to someone daily
Some random day in late 2017 I was surprised to open my email to a rather long message from a friend. There was zero point to this message other than to express to me how thankful this individual was for my friendship, and that that they cared about me. This individual called me both intelligent and kind. I was in the midst of a particularly hard college semester involving lots of calculus (not my strongest subject) and I was struggling with managing a fairly successful personal training program. My self confidence was being humbled by these obvious shortcomings. But this simple act of kindness out of nowhere brightened my day. I found myself being more positive to those around me, and I realized that the stress and worry I was placing on myself was preventing me from being authentic.
So, I said to myself – how profound would it be if I practiced the same habit daily? For 2018 I implemented this strategy. Every morning before doing anything else I sent an email, text, or did the unthinkable and picked up my phone to call someone. If I couldn’t do any of this, I would express gratitude or kindness to the strangers I’d meet at Starbucks, or my clients at work. This simple act of expressing kindness completely transformed my life, and the way that people reacted to my presence.
I would often meet with first time gym goers who were nervous about meeting with a fitness guy for their first session. I could see them waiting in their car in the parking lot trying to motivate themselves to walk in the door. When they entered, their eyes were downcast, and they looked like they’d rather be anywhere but there. A simple smile and compliment instantaneously caused them to put their guard down.
We are all surrounded by greatness, even in those people who we sometimes disagree with. When I was relating this strategy to a dear friend, he remarked that he sadly didn’t think he had a list of people he could contact daily for an entire year. I told him that he wasn’t thinking hard enough. In the course of a year I sent emails to former elementary school teachers, middle school teachers, high school teachers, mentors, former employers, friends, distant relatives, and said countless kind things to random strangers. One high school teacher wrote me back in a few hours and told me that I was the first former student in 30 years that had ever sent him an email thanking him for his positive influence. This high school teacher was the most beloved faculty member at my rural high school. Talk about being shocked!
Making an honest effort to incorporate expressions of kindness into your day can go a long way in making your life more fulfilled.
4. Practice Self-Care
Self-care is the practice of taking care of one’s physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is essential for maintaining good health and achieving success. When we neglect our own well-being, it can lead to burnout, decreased productivity, and an overall decrease in quality of life.
I was in the fitness industry for 10 years, and I was never surprised by the lack of physical activity people engaged in, or the typical nutrition levels of my new clients. What I was consistently saddened by was the complete lack of self-care people had in their daily schedule. And no – Netflix binging doesn’t qualify! I was amazed that my clients wrongly believed that self-care had to involve unrealistic diet changes or excessive exercise goals. “I must cut out all carbohydrates,” or “I must exercise strenuously for 60 minutes a day.”
Exercise and nutritional goals are great forms of self-care, but coming from a former fitness fanatic, they are often overhyped. Subtle changes to one’s diet, a focus on just a little bit more movement, and drinking more water are sufficient changes for most of the population. What most of my clients struggled with wasn’t the motivation to make these small changes, but instead a lack of premium they placed on themselves. Even if you are not an egoist, you have to realize that in order to be all that you can be, and therefore help others, you have to care for yourself.
That can be something as simple as allowing your brain 15 minutes of quiet to relax. That could include exercise and diet changes. For me, self care means 30 minutes of reading daily before bed. For me, self-care means engaging in a hobby I enjoy weekly. For me, self-care means forms of therapy. For me, self-care means a massage, or a facial, or a good haircut. Something that lowers my cortisol levels and improves my confidence.
If we incorporate into our daily schedules some form of self-care, no matter how small, there is a higher likelihood we will reach our goals.
Author: Logan Cockerham