Just like you can’t get healthy eating one salad, success is the culmination of repeating winning habits day in and day out. High performers stick with routines and habits that have proven to work over time and the good news is, transforming your life through habit change doesn’t need to be hard.
Let’s take a look at some of the common high performance habits and the simple ways you can get started building them into your life.
5 common habits and routines of high performers
1. Win the morning
“Either you run the day or the day runs you” – Jim Rohn
If you take control of your morning, you’ll take control of your life. Creating a morning that sets your whole day up for momentum is one of the most powerful success principles for work or life in general. Here are some examples of the types of habits high performers are likely to include in their morning routines:
- Waking early
- Making the bed; this one small action has a powerful effect.
- A time of meditation / stretching / reflection
- Physical activity
- Planning the day ahead / key goals to accomplish
If you’re feeling overwhelmed just reading the list, don’t be. You can win the morning starting with one new, small habit at a time. More on that soon.
Simple habit: Wake up 15 minutes earlier.
2. Eliminate distractions
Distractions cloud your focus and rob you of hours every day.
They pull you away from the task at hand or coax you into choosing the easy option when there’s something harder, but ultimately more important, to be achieved. High achievers eliminate distractions and those that can’t be eliminated, they manage.
Simple habit: Turning phone off or on flight mode for 30 minutes during work hours.
3. Set clear goals
When you’re not clear on your goals it’s impossible to accomplish them. Get crystal clear on what you want and it becomes straightforward to align your actions to achieve the goal. You increase the chances of achieving your goal if it’s S.M.A.R.T and regularly reviewed.
It takes a willingness to be honest with yourself to figure out the goal you truly want, even if it means it won’t be compatible with what others might expect from you.
Simple habit: Schedule 10 minutes a week to review your goals and refine, if necessary.
4. Schedule the day
Effective productivity systems all require some form of daily scheduling. It may be as simple as writing out 5 of the most important things to achieve that day or really digging into the detail and time blocking every hour for specific tasks.
Either way, the most effective and productive people will devote time planning. Creating a planning framework means your likely to pack your days with the activities that add value to your life.
Simple habit: List 3 – 5 important tasks to complete during the day. Write your list in the morning or night before.
5. Learn from other’s success
You’ve probably heard the saying; you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. High performers seek to learn from the people that have achieved the things they want to achieve. They study the actions their mentors took to get to where they are and pay attention to their success habits and routines.
They welcome constructive criticism from experienced mentors but ignore general negative feedback from those who don’t understand what they’re trying to achieve.
Simple habit: Spend a little time each day educating yourself with high-quality books or podcasts on various business and life topics to learn from the experience of others.
Now we’ve taken a look at some of the common habits of high achievers, how can you begin to build some of these habits into your own life? It starts by substituting a bad habit for a positive one and then leveraging the power of tiny habits.
How to stop a bad habit and start a good one
Habits are deeply wired into our brains due to the constant repetition, which can make them incredibly difficult to break. The good news is, stopping a bad habit isn’t actually about breaking, it’s about substituting.
In most cases, there is a clear trigger that starts the habit. Some triggers are emotional; like stress and others are situational; like hitting the couch and turning on the TV as soon as you get home from work.
If your goal is to build habits of high performance into your day, you first need to do an audit of the habits that currently don’t serve high-performance behaviours. Then identify the situations or emotions that trigger the habit.
Once you’ve identified the habit you want to change figure out a positive habit you can substitute it with.
For example, maybe you’re in the habit of reaching for a junk food snack as soon as you get home from work. The trigger is arriving home from work (situational) and the habit is grabbing an unhealthy snack and flopping down on the couch to eat it.
To substitute that habit for a better one, as soon as you get home from work, make it a habit to put on your runners a take a quick 10 minute walk outside or drink a big glass of water.
Soon the water drinking or walking will become the habit triggered by arriving home from work, rather than eating junk and hitting the couch.
This new, small healthy habit can then snowball into a more positive evening schedule. This is how habits that might seem too small to matter can actually change your life. It’s called the tiny habits principle. Let’s take a look at how it works.
The Tiny habits principle
“When you know how to create tiny habits, you can change your life forever.” – BJ Fogg
If you want to become a high performer, both in work and your personal life, you’ll need new habits and a new mindset to support this goal. But making massive, sudden change isn’t the answer.
Try to overhaul every part of your life at once and you’ll only set yourself up for failure; making huge, difficult changes requires your motivation to be high and stay that way. Motivation is fickle, there one minute and gone the next, it’s not a good idea to rely on motivation alone to make a change.
Instead, start by forming new, tiny habits one by one. Want to eat healthier? Add one extra serve of veggies. To expand your knowledge on a topic, read one page of a book each day. To make mindfulness a habit, do some deep breathing exercises or stretches for 3 minutes.
These habits are so small they’re easy to do, but they give you a sense of accomplishment. That feeling snowballs into momentum that makes you want to build on each tiny habit with another. Eating more veggies and a piece of fruit, reading two pages, stretching for 5 minutes.
The effect of building these tiny, positive habits on top of each other one by one ultimately add up to incredible change.
For more on the power of tiny habits, check out the TEDx Talk Forget Big Change, Start With A Tiny Habit
What tiny habit will you get started with today?