18 Habits That Will Make You Successful and Happy

As we are all enjoying the lazy, hazy days of summer, we got to thinking if the worlds most highly successful people would be doing the same, or would they be motivated to stick to the habits that made them successful in the first place? We were curious as to what habits they adopted to achieve their success…here’s what we uncovered!

  1. Start your day with meditation: 

“I’ve been meditating for a few years now, first thing after waking up each morning. It’s made a huge difference to me and to the people around me. Focusing on your breathing, just for 10 to 15 minutes in the morning gets you into a mindset where you’re better able to step back from the thoughts and emotions that might cloud your thinking.

   – Johannes Quodt, co-founder, and co-CEO of Koio, a luxury leather shoe brand

2.   Make a list of goals for improvement: 

I keep a running list of goals for improvement in the back of my daily notebook. It makes me more conscious of where I can do better.

– Viveka Hulyalkar, co-founder, and CEO of Beam, a social impact app to turn everyday retail experiences into opportunities for social good

3.   Write down your gratitude:

First thing when I wake up, I write down three things I have to be grateful for, three things that would make that day great, and one daily affirmation. Right before I go to sleep, I write down three amazing things that happened that day and answer the question: ‘How could I have made today better?’

–  Laura Hertz, CEO of Gifts for Good, an e-commerce site that sells premium gifts for professionals that support charitable causes in 65 countries around the globe

4.  Listen and learn:

Listen to your peers, employees, and customers.  You will always learn something from listening.  I also find that it could facilitate relationships just by listening, and really let people feel that you care.

 – Kelvin Ho, co-founder of Pixie Mood, cruelty-free, and vegan-friendly accessories

5.  Remove fear: 

I find when working with others, when we seem to reach a barrier to getting something done, the barrier is really about their fear of failure, fear of being blamed, fear of accountability, etc. This fear is rooted in their prior experiences with another boss, another colleague, or even a family member. What I’ve learned is that if I tell them ‘I’m in this with you, and if this heads south I’ll accept as much or more responsibility for that than anybody,’ we can get beyond that fear and become extremely productive

Stephanie Smith, microbiologist, and co-founder of Cyantific Skin Care, which uses a natural and sustainable source of blue-green algae

6.   Work out for a strong body, which holds up a strong mind: 

Successful entrepreneurship requires more than just mental fitness, it requires physical fitness as well. I have a daily workout regime that started in 2013 and has grown and evolved in step with our business. It started with CrossFit (high-intensity interval type training) and has expanded from there. Clearing your mind and challenging yourself physically with a tough workout every day prepares you for the daily challenges of business. A strong body holds up a strong mind.

–  James Parrelly, managing partner of Paw Pods, eco-friendly pet caskets and urns, made from 100 percent biodegradable materials

7.  Make your own path: 

My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson, gave me advice that I have used for 65 years. She said, ‘If the world puts you on a road you do not like if you look ahead and do not want that destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to your place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a new path.

   – Maya Angelou, Singer, Poet and Civil Rights Activist

8.  Don’t work too hard:

She says that she wishes she could go back and tell her younger self, “Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard but also unplugging, recharging, and renewing yourself.”

Arianna Huffington, Co-founder of The Huffington Post and Thrive Global 

9.  Keep some balance in your life:

If you let your work consume you, it will. Pushing away from the laptop and cell phone for a break each day is critical. It’s not always easy when you’re chasing a deadline. Small distractions, however, can have an incredibly refreshing effect. Inject a little daily balance into your life–dinner with the family, an hour of exercise, going to see my child participate in extracurricular activities or 30 minutes with a book or newspaper.

– Michael Staffaroni, principal of UWEZO, a shoe brand that donates a percentage of its profits to generate scholarship funds for Empower African Children

10.  Deprioritize opportunities which don’t fit with your goals:

After SmartGurlz aired on Shark Tank, my inbox became inundated with all kinds of opportunities. I have written my two major goals for the company on a Post-it note that is stuck to my monitor. If a request comes in that does not support those, I force myself to down-prioritize them or even say ‘no.’ Keep your focus and move on to more productive tasks. Learn from the experience that you cannot do it all. Once the butter is spread too thin, it is difficult to go back.

 – Sharmi Albrechtsen, CEO of SmartGurlz, a line of coding robots for girls

11.  Use Sundays to plan out your week:

In today’s hyperactive communication landscape and the nonstop news cycle, it can be hard to stay focused, which is why I plan my week out before it starts. Every Sunday I spend time on Evernote walking through a regimented process of what I want to accomplish in the coming week, making sure it aligns with monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. Sure, fire drills come up and to-do lists change, but this approach to planning keeps me focused across different functions so that I can be as strategic as possible in my day-to-day.

– Maria Molland Selby, CEO of THINX Inc., the creators of THINX and Icon, underwear brands that empower humans and break taboos around female health

12.  Surround yourself with positive people

Social media has become a cesspool for the haters and trolls. Don’t let negative people hold you back. Understand that negativity generally comes from unhappy people and those who envy you. Happy successful people don’t tear others down. Surround yourself with ambitious, positive people. It’s too easy to focus on the negative and there’s just no upside to that.

Lisa Steele, author of Gardening with Chickens and Let’s Hatch Chicks; and founder of the website Fresh Eggs Daily

13.  Empower others:

So often we think of leadership “as someone at the top who is ordering other people around,” Obama said. He learned that leadership was teaching people who thought they didn’t have a voice to speak up about the things impacting their lives.

 – President Barack Obama, 44th President of The United States of America 

14.  Have a long dream and a short-term plan:

This is important for everyone and especially for women. Don’t let anyone tell you-you can’t have both a meaningful professional career and a fulfilling personal life. When you hear someone say you can’t do something, know that you can and start figuring out how. Ask yourself, ‘What would I do if I weren’t afraid?’

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO

15.   Get over  your weakness and become more confident:

I would try to trust my gut more and not be so insecure as the only woman among the C-level execs. I was insecure about the things I wasn’t good at. I would allow people who didn’t necessarily know any more than me to take the power. Now I’m really transparent about what I don’t know, and I’m cool with asking questions. Sometimes, it’s trusting your gut and running with an idea–or admitting that no one knows the answer but committing to banging your heads together until you figure it out.

Jessica Alba, Founder of The Honest Company

16. Give yourself permission to be happy: 

My number one daily habit is to give myself permission to be happy. It’s physical and mental; it’s my diet, physical activity, and emotional state. That’s all tied together.  I’ve learned that when I actually put myself on the priority list along with everyone else in my life, it actually benefits them, too,
  – Michelle Obama, First Lady, and American Lawyer 

17. Create a daily time and space to be productive:

I’ve identified where my best thinking happens, and it’s in the car,” she says. “I live really close to Spanx, so I’ve created what my friends call me ‘fake commute,’ and I get up an hour early before I’m supposed to go to Spanx and I drive around aimlessly in Atlanta with my commute so that I can have my thoughts come to me.   The 47-year-old, who says she thought of the name for Spanx in her car, advises everyone to come up with a daily habit that gives them the time and space to do their most productive thinking.

Sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx

18. Don’t Give Up:

Don’t give up, don’t take anything personally, and don’t take no for an answer,” Sophia advises.  Without any fashion or business experience before starting Nasty Gal, Sophia credits much of her hard-earned success to her inability to accept failure as an option. “The people who told me no, were the people who eventually told me yes,” she adds.

Sophia Amoruso, Founder of Nasty Gal

Lourdes Martin

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