101 Good Habits for a Productive, Prosperous, Happy Life. All the small things you do to be helpful and healthy add up to living a good life.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Whether you're a budding entrepreneur, a career professional, a student or even unemployed, your habits are either empowering you to achieve and succeed, or deterring and holding you back. For most of us, we're limited by our habits. We have habits that hold us back and can't seem to quit. But for others, who possess a repertoire of really good habits, success and goal achievement is more automatic and easily realized.
The truth? The state and quality of your life is a direct reflection of the habits that you possess. Good habits are going to propel you forward while those pesky bad habits are going to hold you back. But if you're serious about success and want to get ahead in life, these are some of the best habits that you can harbor. Focus on these, and watch your life blossom while you realize the fruits of your labor.
Keep in mind that several studies suggest that habits account for nearly half of all of our actions. From what we think, to what we say and what we do are controlled by the habits that we possess. So, the more that you can focus on improving your habits, the better you'll be at doing things like growing your business, achieving your goals, getting a great degree, losing weight or even making an abundant amount of money.
Of course, this isn't just about building the good habits, but also about disrupting your bad habits. Disruption is how you block the electrical impulses to continually wield those bad habits. It takes some conscious training and persistent application to do this, but there are a few strategies you can implement to disrupt your bad habits.
- Recite the alphabet backwards.
- Think about one word for every letter in the alphabet going forward from A through Z
- Close your eyes and attempt to remember every color in the room that you're in.
- Stand up and do jumping jacks for five minutes straight.
- Breathe in deeply for one second, hold it for four seconds, then exhale it for two seconds. Repeat.
How to develop good habits.
Developing good habits takes a significant amount of work. It doesn't happen overnight. However, what I've discovered is that the micro-changes approach is the best way to implement any habit into your life. How does it work? Simple, all you need to do is spend five minutes each day for the first week implementing that habit. Just five minutes? Yes.
The following week, double that effort. You'll spend 10 minutes implementing it. But you have to do it every day. That's the goal. Consciously be aware of what you're doing. The repetitive act will help to solidify that habit into your life. Studies suggest this takes anywhere from 18 to 254 days with an average time of 66 days. So don't give up if you're serious about making these commonplace in your daily rituals.
How many or the habits from the list do you possess? Are there some bad habits that have been holding you back from getting ahead in life? Take a careful inventory of your habits and do your best to implement the right habits to achieve your dreams.
Best Productivity Habits
How productive we are affects a variety of areas in our lives. It boils down to how much we get done in the finite amount of time that we all have in this life. Follow these productivity habits if you're serious about staying on track towards whatever it is that you're attempting to achieve in life.
1. Follow a morning routine.
Create an empowering morning routine that you can wield every single morning to give you the biggest leg-up in the day.
2. Implement the 80/20-Rule.
Also known as the Pareto Principle, the 80/20-Rule states that 80 percent of the results comes from 20 percent of the efforts. In sales, it also means that 80 percent of the sales comes from 20 percent of the customers. Identify this small subset of efforts that are producing these larger results and scale them out.
3. Create a daily to-do list.
Create a simple to-do list every single day with action items that will move you closer and closer to your goals.
4. Identify important-but-not-urgent tasks.
In time management, the important but not urgent tasks are those that will help to move you closest to your long-term goals.
5. Track productivity numbers daily.
Take the time to track everything. Down to the very last red cent, dollar, ounce, pound, gram or any other unit of measure. If you do this, you can recognize patterns to help you be more productive.
6. Do a weekly review every day.
Go through what you achieved at the end of every single day and take account and inventory of that so that you can notice your progress.
7. Ignore the unimportant.
Ignore the things that are wasting your time but that you tend to obsess over. While difficult at first, with practice, this does get easier.
8. Take ample breaks throughout the day.
Small diversions from the task at hand can help to amplify productivity, suggests this scientific study.
9. Visualize the end-result.
Visualization is a huge tool in helping you to overcome and mount the seemingly insurmountable, helping to be more productive throughout the day.
10. Avoid interruptions and distractions.
Interruptions and distractions can break the flow of thinking. One study suggests that it takes approximately 25 minutes to get back into the groove after loosing your train of thought.
11. Block off email-reply time.
Bunch your reply time to emails to one 30 minute or one-hour block of time so that you don't get caught up and distracted with replying to emails throughout the day.
12. Ask for help.
I've made it a habit to ask for help from people around me and it's made a monumental difference in my ability to get and stay productive with whatever the task at hand might be for me.
13. Write in an idea book.
Grab a little notepad and jot down ideas that come to you throughout the day that you can then flip back through because you never know when inspiration might strike.
14. Take quiet time.
Take some time to yourself. Rest with your thoughts and just close your eyes. This isn't just taking a break, this is about having some solitude in your mind to watch and listen to your thoughts.
15. Practice daily gratitude.
We often have a lot that we want, but we don't usually appreciate things until they're gone. Make it a habit of writing down 10 things you're grateful for every single day, even if it's just for the fact that you're 6 feet above ground.
Best Financial Habits
How well you manage your finances will dictate how much money you're able to hold onto and even grow over time. This is a crucial element of success in any endeavor as it often takes money to make money. If you're constantly living paycheck-to-paycheck take a deep look at some of the following habits and try to implement them into your life.
16. Track all expenses.
Track every single expense, down to the last cent. And do it every day. Don't ignore expenses. Watch them like a hawk.
17. Immediately open bills.
Don't wait to open bills. Don't allow them to pile up. Open them up, categorize and catalog them so that you're aware of what needs to be paid and when.
18. Save money.
You have to save at least 20 percent of your income every month. At least that. If you really want to get ahead, get rich or retire early, save half or more of your income. Yes, that much.
19. Wake up early.
Wake up early every single day. How early? am if not earlier. Impossible? It's not. Some of the world's most successful entrepreneurs wake up at 5 am and earlier every single day.
20. Review financial goals.
Review your financial goals. Do it every day. Take an honest inventory of where you stand with your debt, expenses and income so that you can better achieve your money goals.
21. Seek financial inspiration.
There are plenty of people out there who are qualified to give you financial wisdom. Seek them out and listen to their wisdom and experience so that you can implement it in your own life.
22. Budget, budget, budget.
Budget yourself so that you can stay on track. Don't ignore this. Create a real budget and stick to it, especially if you have trouble managing your money.
23. Invest in something.
What can you invest in? Put money aside to invest every day. Even if it's just $5, why not pass up that morning latte so that you can invest in your future?
24. Take a money minute.
Analyze where you stand with a money minute. Use it to uncover ways you can build ancillary income streams or better fine-tune your expenses.
25. Make shopping lists.
Don't go shopping without a list, otherwise you'll end up buying lots of things that you don't need.
26. Audit expenses.
At the end of the month, compare your receipts to your credit card statements and bank card expenditures. Does everything add up and synchronize? You'd be surprised on how many errors you might find when you look.
Best relationship habits.
Every entrepreneur, business owner and even career professional knows that the state and quality of their relationships dictates just how much they can succeed. Because, we all know that if there's tremendous amounts of strife on the home front, that pushing forward with the achievement of any goal's difficulty is compounded upon itself.
27. Make time for communication.
How much time are you setting aside for communication? Every healthy relationship requires ample communication no matter what the situation.
28. Show appreciation.
Do you show your appreciation on a daily basis? Are you conscious of how you behave towards your significant other? Even a brief note can go a long way.
29. Give without expecting to receive.
Stop looking for something in return. Do things out of the kindness of your heart and don't look for reciprocation always. This is important for a healthy relationship.
30. Go for walks together.
Don't drive. Walk. Walk around the block or in a park, hold hands and talk. This does wonders for a relationship.
31. Do one thing you enjoy together, often.
Find one thing you both enjoy and do it on a regular basis. Whatever it is, no matter how small or large it might be, find it, and do it together.
32. Kiss and hug before bed.
Never go to bed angry. Never. Always kiss and hug before you fall asleep and express your appreciate for your one another. You never know what the next day might bring.
33. Publicly display affection.
Don't be afraid of P.D.A. Show your affection and do it publicly. This is a subconscious commitment to one another and it goes a long way.
34. Send an "I love you" message.
When was the last time you told your significant other you loved them? Send a simple and quick text message telling them that every day. It will go a long way.
35. One small act of daily kindness.
Acts of kindness are incredibly important in relationships. What can you do each day as an act of kindness?
36. Listen and learn.
Spend the time to listen. Don't talk over each other. But not only listen, learn. Understand the other person's point of view and find some common ground.
37. Have a date night.
Date nights are very important in relationships. You should have one at least once per week. Don't allow redundant patterns and habitual behaviors to make you forget about doing this.
38. Remember important dates.
It doesn't feel good when you forget a birthday or an anniversary or some other important date. Be mindful of these things. Setup alerts if you have to.
Best health and wellness habits.
When your health is in check, it's easier to push forward, grow your business, get a great job, and achieve just about any goal. The point here is to stay healthy, active and fit. Watch what you eat and be wary of anything that goes into your body and realize that toxins like drugs and alcohol can have a very severe impact on your life.
39. Eat breakfast every morning.
Studies suggest that breakfast truly is the most important meal of the day. Don't skip breakfast, even if it's just grabbing something small and quick.
40. Eat an apple.
An apple each day really will keep the doctor away. That fiber goes a long way in your system to help with blood-sugar levels, digestion and more.
41. Sleep at least 7 hours a night.
Get ample sleep each night. Don't oversleep, but also don't rob yourself of getting a healthy night's rest. It will help with stress and anxiety levels while also giving you a balanced state of mind.
42. Use sunblock.
The sun can be incredibly harmful. Be sure to use sunblock whenever you're enduring prolonged exposures to the sun.
43. Floss and brush your teeth.
Don't just brush your teeth. Floss. Flossing is important and helps to fight a variety of diseases that would actually surprise you.
44. Drink enough water.
You need to drink a lot of water throughout the day. There are too many benefits to this to overlook it.
45. Eat green vegetables.
Eat green vegetables as much as possible. They are a huge source of alkalinity to help balance out the predominantly acidic diets most of us have.
46. Walk 10,000 steps a day.
Walk whenever you can. Walk at least 10,000 steps per day. If you're feeling zealous, walk 16,000 steps per day.
47. Eat ample fiber.
Fiber is incredibly important. And getting ample amounts of fiber through the right sources should be a primary concern of yours.
48. Exercise daily.
Exercise every single day, no matter how short or brief it might be for.
Best Goal-Oriented Habits
Everyone is fixated on achieving their goals, but not everyone seems to be able to get there. In fact, studies have suggested that only 8 out of 100 people tend to achieve their long-term goals. That's a debilitating statistic if there ever was one. However, if you follow along with some of the best habits for achieving your goals, you'll increase your chances of not becoming just another statistic.
49. Set SMART goals.
SMART goals are important and will help you achieve virtually anything. Be sure to set SMART goals on a regular basis.
50. Goal analysis.
Take the time to analyze your goals every single day. If you have to, set daily goals or milestones on your way to achieving those bigger and more ludicrous goals.
51. Track progress.
Track your progress towards your goals every day. The better you do this, the more likely you'll be to achieve your goals over time.
52. Learn something new.
What can you learn today? Even if you just watch a TED Talk or a YouTube video to help shed some light on a subject, do it.
53. Goal sampling.
Tour your dream house or take that test drive in the car you've always wanted. Go out there and sample goals. Pick up brochures and start planning to make it more real.
54. Get perspective.
Think about how far you've come. Imagine the lives of others. Gain some perspective so that you don't feel frustrated while trying to achieve your goals.
55. Use mantras.
Mantras and chants are powerful. Use them in your quest to achieve your goals. Work to rewire the habitual negative thinking in your mind and blow past limiting behaviors and thoughts.
56. Seek guidance.
Consult with others who've achieve big goals. Ask and seek their guidance. You'll be surprised at just how many people offer to help you.
Related: Pay Attention to Your Own Guidance System
Best Networking Habits
Networking is an important part of success. In fact, as the saying goes, your network is your net worth. How much time you spend networking and how you develop and nurture those relationships has a severe impact on your ability to succeed at any endeavor.
57. Ask questions.
Don't just talk about yourself. Ask questions. Find out about the other person. This is important to take an interest if you want to succeed in networking.
58. Be well-groomed.
Be sure to groom yourself daily. Shower, dress nicely and put on your best face and foot forward. You never know what will happen or who you'll meet that can help to change your life.
59. Be honest.
Honesty goes a long way. Don't try to do underhanded things or promise what you can't deliver. Always under-promise and over-deliver when networking.
60. Add value.
This is massive. Find ways you can add value to the lives of others. Don't seek something in return. Just add value. You'll be surprised at what you get in exchange.
61. Be positive.
Negative thinking can burn you for a lifetime. Be positive. Especially when networking with others. You don't want to come across as negative. Make positivity habitual in your mind.
62. Be social.
Approach others. Speak to them, even if they don't approach you. Most people are inherently shy, and once you get past that, the world truly is your oyster.
63. Give compliments.
Giving compliments is enormous. People love to be complimented so don't discount the power of this habit in networking.
64. Be helpful.
Find ways you can help others. Ask questions and look for synergies where you can help them solve a problem or fill a void in their lives.
65. Make introductions.
Always make introductions. Do this as often as possible. You never know what can come out of an introduction you make.
66. Nurture contacts.
You have to nurture the people you come into contact with when networking. Don't simply meet them and forget about them weeks later. Stay in touch as often as possible.
Best Career Habits
Whether you own your own company or you work for someone else, these are some of the best habits that you can implement in your career or at the workplace. By staying consistent with these habits, you can ensure that not only will your efforts be noticed, but you'll stay ahead of the proverbial curve. This takes true focus and commitment applied consistently over time.
67. Arrive early.
Get there before you're supposed to show up. Always. You might not reap immediate benefits from this, but it will go a long way over time.
68. Take initiative.
Always take initiative. If you find an area for improvement, go after it. Be proactive and don't wait for people to tell you to do something. Do the most amount of work for the least initial return if you have to.
69. Organize your workspace.
Spend five minutes each day organizing your workspace. Even if it's just a drawer or a shelf at a time, you'll build momentum by enacting this habit.
70. Be systematic.
Create guidelines and systems that you can put into place and do it every day. Be systematic about your work to better organize and structure what you do on a daily basis.
71. Be time-efficient.
Don't waste time. Remember, our time is finite. It's limited. Don't squander it. Take ownership and be responsible to yourself, even if no one else is holding you accountable.
72. Solve a problem.
Become a problem solver and look for problems that you can solve every day. Whether they're supply-chain related, customer related or anything else, find them and tackle them head on. Don't ignore them.
73. Follow up at least once.
Be responsible and accountable by following up with people every day. Reach out to people you didn't hear back from.
74. Be accurate.
Accuracy is crucial in business. Mistakes are costly, both from a time standpoint and a financial one. Do your best to double and triple check your work always.
75. Be quick.
Don't waste time or do things slower than you know you can do. Of course, don't sacrifice accuracy for speed, but if you can muster your work quicker, then do it.
76. Write legibly.
Practice good writing skills. From your spelling to your grammar and word usage, this is important in business when communicating and reflects back onto the type of person you are.
77. Be comprehensive.
Always be thorough and comprehensive in your work. Go out of your way to do things to the greatest extent possible.
78. Take responsibility.
Take responsibility for your actions. If you make mistakes, own up to them.
79. Be friendly.
Never discount the importance of being friendly with others. Not fake. Not rude. Just friendly.
80. Be polite.
Be kind and polite. Always. Make it a habit. If you see yourself veering away from this, disrupt the pattern, apologize and implement this habit whatever it takes.
Best Organizational Habits
Getting organized and staying organized is essential to your success. In fact, studies have suggested that physical clutter can detract us from achieving our goals. That might be why they say, clean house, clean mind. So work to declutter your home and office, because it will help you achieve your underlying goals.
81. Give everything a home.
Spend a bit of time every day giving things a home, a place where you can return them after they've been used.
82. Organize in sections.
Start with a drawer here and a shelf there and methodically go through until everything is organized, even your computer's desktop and folders.
83. Clean as you go.
Clean in sections. Do one small space per day if you're having trouble with this. After you use the shower, clean it once per week, or the toilet or the kitchen, or anywhere else for that matter.
84. Use a calendar.
Implement a calendar system that you can put into place to stay organized with your day and keep you on track.
85. Make lists.
Always create lists for everything that needs to be done. Track things and cross them off in every area of your life (not just to-do items).
86. Don't procrastinate.
Follow the 15-minute rule. Set a timer on your smartphone for 15 minutes. Tackle the one thing you've been putting off the longest. But only for 15 minutes.
87. Dismiss your inner critic.
We all have a negative voice in our minds. But the better you are at dismissing your inner critic, the more progress you'll make in a variety of areas of your life.
88. Be decisive.
Make quick decisions and change them slowly. Be decisive of what you want and pursue with a relentless energy.
89. Systemize incoming email.
Use filters, folders and rules to help systemize email that comes into your inbox. Improve these systems on a daily basis if need be.
90. Declutter your inbox.
Like physical clutter, digital clutter can also be distracting. Declutter and organize your inbox if you're looking to make progress towards things.
91. Review and prioritize.
Always review and prioritize the things that need to be done. Figure out how important they are on the grand scheme of things and put the right amount of effort towards them.
Best Spirituality Habits
Spirituality and our connectedness with the universe is an important element of success in life. Whether you believe in God, Allah, Buddha or the spiritual oneness that binds us all, the following spirituality habits are some of the best that you can implement to help keep you centered and at peace.
92. Give something to someone.
Be generous. Don't look for things in return. This isn't just about donating money. Donate your energy or something tangible that will help those in need.
93. Say 'yes.'
You never know what will happen outside of your comfort zone. Don't overdo it, but say yes to things from time to time that you would normally dismiss.
94. Visualize possibilities.
Imagine the boundless possibilities that exist out there. The universe is infinite and don't get lost in a sea of despair. Think abundantly and dismiss scarcity as it arises in your mind.
95. Count your blessings.
Be grateful. You have so much in this world. No matter how small it might be, count those blessings on a daily basis.
96. Be accepting.
Be accepting of others. Forgive and let live. Don't hold onto grudges. And if someone is different than you, that's okay. We are all unique no matter what we look like on the outside, but we all stem from the same source.
97. Laugh a little.
Laughter is healthy. Don't take everything so seriously. Laugh every single day no matter what your present situation might be.
98. Smell the roses.
Yes, literally smell the roses. Find beauty in the simplest things in life that we all take for granted. Life truly is a miracle.
99. Smile a duchenne smile.
Duchenne smiles are genuine smiles. Our physiology affects our psychology. So smile genuinely and watch as your life transforms.
Get spiritual with a group. Connect with others and with your higher power. It's a very moving and memorable recurring experience.
101. Donate your time.
Give your time to those in need. Help where you can. Offer support even if it's rejected at first.