Four Keys to Success that Lead to Productive Habits

By: Tom Malone

Keys to success come through daily habits. We all complete our usual, daily routines and many of us don’t take the time to reflect on whether or not our daily habits set us up for success. Here are four daily habits that will set up a successful daily routine:

1. Make Your Bed

One daily ritual that is guaranteed to increase success comes from one simple act: making your bed.

When you wake up and make your bed, you begin your day by accomplishing a task. Though that task is simple, it focuses your mind toward goal-completion. Once you complete this task of bed-making, your mind intrinsically moves toward the next task. You wake up in the morning with the confidence that you have the ability to accomplish a goal within the first minute of your day.

According to behavioral economist David Griffin, the act of completing a simple task in the morning will create a snowball effect, making the next task easier to complete through the confidence that comes with completing an initial goal.

When you return home after a long day of work or school (full of goal-completion, thanks to your initial completed task of the day), all you want to do is go to bed. And, who wants to fall asleep in a tousled, messy bed? Falling asleep in a pristine environment provides us with the peace of mind that we need to sleep soundly. Plus, we can return to our first task of the day as a day-ending ritual, showing us that we did, in fact, have a successful day. This creates a cyclical effect.

There’s a reason that the military has created a staple of bed-making throughout history: the simple act creates a regimented routine.

So, when our mothers told us to make our beds as children, they knew that they were setting us up for success.

2. Sleep Enough (But Not Too Much)

Another key to success that comes through daily habit revolves around sleep. When we sleep enough during the night, we’re ready to conquer our daily tasks; however, when we fail to sleep enough, our daily routine seems to drag on unbearably.

Doctors recommend that adult humans receive about seven hours of sleep per night (on the low end). Teenagers need more because they’re constantly growing, which takes energy that is recuperated through sleep.

When we sleep too much, though, we feel sluggish the following day. When we sleep our entire day away, we feel the need to sleep more. Plus, we lose out on precious hours in our day that we could have used to accomplish goals.

Sleeping for seven hours is different than being in bed for seven hours. Our body needs hours of quality sleep, which occurs when our body finds is Rapid Eye Movement (REM) cycles.

We can improve our sleep quality by avoiding light from smartphones and television before we fall asleep. This tricks our brain into thinking that it’s still daylight, so it takes longer for our body to shut down. Also, blocking as much light from our room as we can will improve our sleep quality throughout the night because our body recognizes that it’s still dark.

If you wake up to natural sunlight that comes through your window, you’ll wake up naturally and feel refreshed, ready to enjoy your day.

3. Compliment Someone at the Beginning of the Day

Another key to success comes through the act of humility and kindness. If we begin each day by complimenting another person, we’ll find that our day becomes brighter and, generally, more successful.

First, the act of complimenting someone makes that person feel better about themselves. By sharing a kind word with another person, they will feel more confident and, subconsciously, they’ll thank you for it. In turn, your interaction with that person will be positive throughout the day, week, and year.

Second, when we compliment one person, they’ll feel more optimistic and probably compliment someone else, which creates a cycle of positive attitudes.

Third, by complimenting someone else, we acknowledge that other people have value. This creates an atmosphere of synergy throughout the workplace or schoolyard.

Fourth, by complimenting someone, we feel better about about ourselves because we know that we’re exporting an optimistic attitude. We know that we impacted someone’s day in a positive manner. If we do this at the beginning of the day, it trains our brain to approach the rest of the day with an attitude of optimism.

So, next time you walk in the school or office door, pay someone a genuine compliment. Train your brain to look for the good in this world and it will reflect in your successful daily routine.

4. Write Down your Daily Goals

The simple act of writing down your daily goals will drastically enhance our ability to create successful daily routines. When you can physically see your goals written down, the act of completing them becomes something visual rather than abstract, thus increasing your ability for success.

Writing down your goals allows you to prioritize. When you have the ability to make one goal for prevalent than the next, you’ll revolve your daily schedule around ensuring that goal’s completion.

Then, when you complete this goal, you can physical cross it off your list, which creates a sense of accomplishment that you can see. This will further motivate you to accomplish your next goal.

By writing your goals and daily tasks down, you’ll instill a sense of discipline within yourself because you won’t want your list to grow larger by adding more tasks than you subtract.

With this sense of self-accountability in place, you’ll find yourself creating your daily routine around successful goal completion.

*Photo Credit: Tom Malone
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