12 Small Adjustments That Make the Difference Between Success and Failure in Every Aspect of Your Life

It's a lot of little things, done steadily, that separate the the smart, hard working people who succeed from those who don't.

learn more about Renzo Costarella

By Renzo Costarella

Thomas Barwick | Getty Images

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

"The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same." - Colin R. Davis

Most ultra-successful business leaders agree that there was a make-it or break-it moment early on in their careers that allowed them to enjoy success and riches later on in life. Live by these 12 tips and prepare yourself for that one opportunity to propel your career to the next level.

Related: 10 Success-Boosting Motivation Tips From Millionaire Entrepreneurs

Related Video: How to Manage Time with 10 Tips that Work

1. Prioritize sleep.

We have all heard the classic Ben Franklin proverb, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." Science shows that a good slumber can boost your success by improving the acquisition, consolidation, and recall of information. Additionally, adequate sleep enhances your mood and even your immune system. Start every day refreshed and feeling healthy.

Related: Why Entrepreneurs Should Never Feel Guilty for Sleeping

2. Your goals are your own, keep them to yourself.

According to this TED TALK, when you brag about goals that you have not completed your brain thinks that you have already accomplished them. Your brain checks that goal off your list as being done which makes the goal almost impossible to work on. The announcements can come once you've started that company or gotten that promotion.

Related: Forget Setting Goals. Focus on This Instead.

3. Start planning more.

I'm talking long term and short term. Have a long term goal that you are always working to achieve. Only spend valuable time on things that keep you on the path that you have chosen. This will help you realize that goal. Have short term plans for when things go wrong and always have a backup. If one avenue closes have another exit to take immediately so you don't get off course.

Related: A Guide to Goal Setting

4. Increase your failure rate.

Everyone needs to stumble before they walk. Failure is the key to success. Learn to love and embrace failing, knowing that it will only make you stronger in the long run. Put yourself out there. Try in situations that you don't have a good chance of winning. Pick yourself up and do it again.

Related: You Can Motivate Yourself to Start Again After a Business Failure

5. Things are going to happen.

Vincent T. Lombardi said, "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather it is a lack of will." You have to want and desire success more than everyone else does. Be persistent, be relentless, train with passion, heart and rage. You will see improvements I promise.

Related: How 5 Successful Entrepreneurs Bounced Back After Failure

6. Work to increase your energy and physical stamina.

This is often understated. In order to work relentlessly you need to have the energy to do so. This means, eat right and exercise. Put that cheeseburger down for a salad, extra veggies and protein. and prioritize exercise. You will feel and look better. This will all translate to success.

Related: 7 Ways Exercising Can Make You a Better Entrepreneur

Related Video: 8 Daily Habits that Will Change Your Life

7. Preparation is key.

Even people who are quick on their feet can use a good dose of preparation. It is much better to be ready and not have an opportunity, than to not be ready and have an opportunity. Always be ready. Most career defining moments happen once and you have one shot to seize it.

Abraham Lincoln said, "I will prepare and my day will come." If you prepare for what you are seeking every day, you are in a much better position to be able to recognize the opportunity when it appears.

Related: How to Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks

8. Be a pleasure to work with.

You can be the best at something, but if you are a bear and a braggart it won't matter. Nobody will want to work with you. Be a pleasure to your colleagues and boss and you will get far.

Related: Be the Kind of Employee People Want to Work With.

9. Be confident.

If you don't believe in yourself and your abilities, nobody else will. The way you think about yourself is projected onto the world. Love yourself and exude confidence. The people surrounding you will respond to this confidence and will think of you as more capable.

Related: 8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence

10. Delay gratification.

Don't stop and celebrate each goal that you accomplish. Keep your head down and work hard to complete those next 10 goals. Studies have shown that those that can delay gratification often perform at higher levels, have less addictive personalities, and can work hard for longer.

Related: Your Secret to Success? Be More Selfish

11. Get better at saying "No."

Hear "no." Love "no." Start saying, "no." You might think you don't have enough time to become successful, you do, you just are wasting it on unneeded distractions. Start focusing on your professional life and goals, and say "no" to things that will not advance those goals.

Related: Make Your Life Better By Saying 'No' More Often

12. Live by the Pareto principle.

This principle is also know as the 80/20 rule. It states that roughly 80 percent of results come from around 20 percent of the effort. To be successful, you need to get better at knowing what activities will give you the greatest chance of a positive result, and then focus hard on those activities.

Related: The 80/20 Rule of Time Management: Stop Wasting

Related Video: The 3 Habits Productive People Find Time for Everyday

Living by these techniques will help anyone become more efficient and less overwhelmed no matter the industry. Start making these changes in your life and business today. You will and see improvements in your business and life -- immediately.

Renzo Costarella


Renzo Costarella is an entrepreneur, avid learner and startup enthusiast currently living in Silicon Valley. He consults for several startups in the San Francisco Bay area while pursuing a few ideas of his own.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

New Mexico Is Hiring Professional Bear Huggers -- Here's How to Land the Dream Job

The American Black Bear was selected as the state's official animal on February 8, 1963, by the New Mexico Legislature.


Having Trouble Focusing? Here's How to Become Unstoppable in Your Performance

Here are a few tips on how to improve your focus, discipline and ability to complete projects.

Business News

'Invest In That Future Now Before It's Too Late': Bill Gates Calls For Global Pandemic Response Team In Op-Ed

In the same month that the World Health Organization called the coronavirus a pandemic three years ago, billionaire Bill Gates reiterated his call for a "fire department for pandemics."


Pros And Cons Of Leadership Coaching: Is It Right For You Or Your Company?

Leadership coaching can work really well in some cases and not so well in others. It all depends on a few factors and if your company is ready to make the leap.

Business News

Carnival Cruise Wants Passengers to Have Fun in the Sun — But Do This, and You'll Get Burned With a New $500 Fee

The cruise line's updated contract follows a spate of unruly guest behavior across the tourism industry.