Do you want to know the top ten good habits for living an amazing life?
A smart man once said, “First we make our habits and then our habits make us.” This is so true.
A habit is a pattern of behavior. It is something we do without even really having to think about it. Therefore, we need to make our habits good ones. We want to regularly repeat behaviors that automatically lead us to a great life.
Top 10 Good Habits to Cultivate
I’ve been studying good habits for a long time now. I’ve also observed which ones work and which ones don’t. On the surface, the behaviors on my list below seem pretty simple, but their importance is all too often overlooked. Therefore, we are hit or miss in how we apply these in our lives. So, it isn’t that these simple behaviors aren’t effective, it is our lack of consistency that is to blame for the uncertain results we get.
In other words, the secret sauce in all this is constantly repeating these behaviors day in and day out. By making these simple, yet powerful, actions into true habits, we will become that person that naturally creates a great life for themselves.
Here’s a list of the ten best habits to make your life great (in no particular order):
1. Be on Time
Woody Allen once said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” I’d take that a step further to say that eighty percent of success is showing up on time. If you are late, you start with one strike against you. In a competitive world, you simply cannot afford this kind of disadvantage right out of the gate. Plan to make sure that you are always on time. In your planning, you must allow for unforeseen delays. Showing up on time is a habit that will serve you well in all the areas of your life.
2. Take Action
Those that cannot overcome procrastination will be doomed to a life of mediocrity. I know that we all put things off from time-to-time, but teaching yourself to be a person of action without delay is one of the most important habits that you can cultivate. Mark Twain said, “If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it for too long.” The more you stall and put off difficult tasks, the more anxious you will become about it. The best thing is to get it behind you. Do your most important task first thing each morning. This will get you started on the right foot and help you to consistently move toward your goals.
3. Stay Positive and Optimistic
There has been a lot said about having a positive attitude. So much so, that you may hate hearing about it again. However, the importance of making optimism a habit cannot be overstated. In large part, you get out of life what you expect. If you expect to be miserable and to fail, then you likely will. Your thoughts are the seeds from which everything else in your life grows. You can’t plant one thing and expect to harvest another. Life just doesn’t work that way. You may or may not believe this, but it is true. Those that enjoy the most success in life understand this clearly.
4. Work Hard
Zig Ziglar said, “A lot of people quit looking for work as soon as they find a job.” The best things in life, personal and professional, come to those that make hard work a habit. If you want great kids, then you have to work hard as a parent. If you want to be a great writer, then you have to work hard to learn to express yourself clearly. Those that actively look for the difficult tasks and tackle them with gusto are the ones that reap the rewards. Thomas Edison said it best, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Make hard work one of your habits and you’ll discover all kinds of new opportunities.
5. Take Calculated Risks
Risk is a part of life. The old adage “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” is absolutely true. Every time a football team steps onto the field, they risk losing. However, they know there is absolutely no chance of winning if they don’t get in the game. Therefore, they make it a habit to show up every week. Are you willing to risk showing up? Calculated risks are mandatory if you want a truly great life. I say, “calculated” because “A fool and his money are soon parted.” If you do stupid things that are too risky, then you will pay dearly. For a great life, take calculated risks regularly, but don’t be a fool.
6. Invest Wisely
You can invest money, time and/or energy into what you value. If you invest wisely, then you will produce a return that is much more than what you put in. Habitually invest in the right things and you will produce a great life for yourself. Investing is all about buying into your own future. It is being willing to sacrifice now for greater returns later. Our culture seems to want it all now. This is certainly not wise investing. The law of the harvest prevails in life. Understand how to incorporate this as a habit in your life and you will be miles ahead.
7. Think Long-Term
Most failures are a result of wanting and expecting too much, too soon. You just can’t rush life. If you try, you will likely end up on the short end of the stick. Researchers have known for decades that those with greater self-control or the ability to put off immediate gratification for a bigger reward are more likely to succeed (see this article for details). Make long-term thinking a habit in every area of your life and you will come out well ahead.
8. Get Along with Others
Life is not a solo sport. That’s why clear back in Kindergarten you were evaluated on your ability to work well with others. If you want to enjoy the best life possible, then you need to learn to get along with a wide-range of people. Honing your skills in this area will certainly help you to improve your life. Not all of us can be exceptional connectors, communicators and collaborators, but even a modest improvement in our habits in this area can produce tremendous results.
9. Love Unashamedly
We all need love. The thing is, we have to give love in order to receive it. If you want the very best life possible, then I’d tell you to love people unashamedly. What do I mean by this? I mean don’t worry about getting hurt or looking stupid. Love people with your whole heart and make sure it is no secret. Again, I don’t mean that you should be a complete fool, although you may feel like this makes you one from time to time. That’s okay, because loving people this way will make your life happier overall and that’s what counts.
10. Get Adequate Rest
Finally, I’ll wrap this up with a basic need that seems to continually get ignored. The CDC says that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. You simply cannot perform at your best if you are not getting adequate rest. Eventually, this bad habit will catch up with you. Your body will not let you get away with ignoring its demands forever. Your best bet is to develop better sleep habits before the crash. This will ensure you that have the capacity to always do your best.
What did I miss? What other habits are essential to living a great life? Leave a comment below and add your thoughts to this list.
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