Published on November 27, 2019
15 Daily Rituals of Highly Successful People
A common question people often ask is how those who make it to the top attain their success. One of the many answers to this question could be hidden in what they adopt as their daily rituals — but what exactly are rituals, and how do they relate to success?
A ritual is any practice or pattern of behavior regularly performed in a set manner. In this context, it must mean that successful people have adopted daily practices that make it possible for them to bring their dreams to life. This could be because rituals help you develop healthy habits as well as the discipline you need to succeed.
Introducing new rituals into your daily life can seem intimidating at first, but it is something that you can achieve. It starts with deciding what daily ritual or rituals you want to adopt, committing to them for at least thirty days, and then tweaking them if necessary. The process won’t always be an easy or consistent one, but the potential benefits that come with it are innumerable.
Here’re 15 daily rituals of highly successful people:
1. Wake up Early
Waking up early can be challenging, especially if you don’t see yourself as a morning person. However, waking up before the sun rises could give you a great head start and get your day on the right track.
One highly successful person that wakes up before 6 a.m. is Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who starts his day at 3:45 a.m. 
There are also the likes of Michelle Obama and Bill McNabb (Chairman of the Vanguard group) that are known to rise before the crack of dawn.
These all being incredibly successful people, it’s easy to wonder if waking up early is truly the source of their success. How beneficial can it be, really, when some mornings it’s more painful than anything?
One answer would be that when you wake up early, you have enough time to get the ball rolling on your morning rituals. It also gives you the chance to dedicate your first conscious hours to personal development in the form of journaling or another creative project, like mentioned in a previous section.
When you’re early to rise, you’re more likely to feel in control of your day as opposed to racing against the clock because you slept in until noon.
Learn how to wake up earlier like the successful people do: How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic
2. Meditate Every Morning
You’ve likely heard so much buzz about meditation that if you didn’t care about it before, you’re curious to see what all the hype is about now.
Meditation is a practice where you use techniques to train your attention and awareness. The ultimate goal of meditation should be to make yourself mentally calm and emotionally stable
It may interest you to know that Oprah, who is one of the most successful media executives, actresses, and talk show hosts in the world meditates in the morning. She apparently meditates each day, and finds it gives her a sense of contentment as well as joy.  Both of these things could certainly be a good foundation for starting your day and executing your goals — especially if you want to end up like Oprah. And don’t we all?
According to Healthline, meditation is even a way to lengthen your attention span and reduce stress, which would allow you to become more efficient and make getting things done throughout the day easier. 
For those that are new to meditation, start by getting comfortable and preparing to sit still for a few minutes. You’ll then focus your attention on your inhale and exhale and follow your breath for at least two minutes.
Here’s a guide for you too: The Guided Morning Meditation for Beginners (That Will Change Your Day)
3. Have a Healthy Breakfast
What you eat matters when it comes to success. Perhaps this is why some highly successful individuals include having a healthy breakfast in their daily ritual.
Simon Cowell, the popular X-Factor creator and judge says he starts his day by having papaya juice with lime, oatmeal, and two smoothies. He also has a cup of tea which is a ritual that could change your life as the practice forces you to slow down and focus, even if only for a few minutes — especially when combined with meditation, as mentioned earlier.
Not to mention, if you’re up early enough to eat breakfast, it probably means you didn’t sleep in too late, either — unless you enjoy pancakes at 3 p.m., in which case, more power to you.
Get inspired by these 31 Healthy Breakfast Recipes That Will Super Boost Your Energy .
4. Plan Your Day
Planning your day early should help you better manage your time as you’ll know exactly what your objectives for the day are, and you won’t get lost in all the fluffiness surrounding you (like watching TV, unless that was one of your determined goals).
Get a notebook and write down the things you want to accomplish, while also using that time to brainstorm your tasks like the pros.  It’s a great way to get your creative juices flowing, jumpstart your brain, and prepare for amazing things.
5. Follow the 80/20 Rule
There is an 80/20 rule , also known as the “Pareto Principle,” which states that 80% of outcomes are a result of 20% of activities. In this scenario, prioritizing your tasks and focusing on the most important things should give you a better outcome.
You’ll spend less time on the small things, giving all of your energy to the big things the first time around, and accomplishing those things the first time, as well.
You don’t have to worry about going back and fixing errors where you weren’t focused, or not feeling confident about the work you produced, because you were totally engaged in it the entire time without question.
You save time, emotional energy, and more when you purposefully put in that 20% with everything you have.
When you focus on less, or on just one big thing at a time, it could also help minimize procrastination as you may not feel as overwhelmed.
6. Schedule Tasks on Your Calendar
Some successful people have decided to do away with traditional to-do lists and schedule everything ahead of time instead.
Co-founder of The Art Charm, Jordan Harbinger, suggests using a calendar to schedule your entire day into 15-minute blocks. It could take away from the stress and anxiety that can come when you see all of the things on your list that haven’t been done yet. You have a set schedule to finish everything up — and adding the things to your list, every morning can be a form of meditation, especially if done in a calm environment with a warm cup of tea to keep you company.
It may be worth a try, as only 41% of things on to-do lists are ever actually done, according to a survey done by LinkedIn in May 2012.
7. Allocate Time for Email
Each day, the average office worker is said to receive 121 emails.  So that your day isn’t spent checking and replying to emails, allocate a specific time for it, and stick to that time in the schedule.
While some choose to check it in the morning, others may prefer to do so in the afternoon, or perhaps break it up into digestible pieces throughout the day. The main point is that refreshing and scrolling your email every 10 minutes isn’t productive for anyone. Doing this could help you boost productivity levels and focus on more important tasks.
Watching where your time goes is essential if you want to see progress and succeed. After all, as you want to be the most effective and most efficient in what you have your hands on, whether it’s spreadsheets at your office job or the ropes in your macrame wall hanging.
8. Make Time for Things you Value
Getting so caught up in your desire to succeed can keep you from living a balanced life. To stay grounded, don’t forget to connect with the people and things that you love, introducing a little more self-care and mindfulness into your daily routine.
A failure to do so could result in you neglecting your support system or the things that make you who you are, and before you know it, you aren’t sure how you got to the place you did. You might not even be unhappy — but you might not feel totally all there emotionally or spiritually, either.
For some, they value family time, while for others giving back is a must. Whatever it is, add it to your daily ritual and touch base with it regularly.
9. Unplug Periodically
It’s so easy to lose touch with yourself, especially in this technological age where there are a million and one distractions coming at you daily.
Some of the ways that successful people unplug include forfeiting the need to instantly reply to messages, simplifying fun time, and simply doing absolutely nothing. 
You could decide that your way of personalizing this ritual is to turn off all of your tech devices an hour before bed, or perhaps have dedicated time in the morning for journaling, writing, drawing, reading, or something else creative and not based on tech.
Some people may even choose to go on tech-fasts, meaning they use their laptops, phones, TVs, and so on, only when necessary — no mindless scrolling allowed. No matter how you unplug, just ensure you create time for yourself so you can mentally rest and approach your goals with a clear mind.
You may also want to try these 5 Simple Ways to Unplug and Be More Mindful In Your Life.
There are endless benefits of exercise, and this may be why so many successful people have it on their list of daily rituals. Barack Obama, former president of the United States, said he would start his day early so that he could prioritize exercise. 
Exercise could be a key to success because it is said to improve your cognitive functioning.  Additionally, working out can help build your mental strength, which is something you’ll need to overcome the obstacles you may face. This goes to say that although exercise has many benefits for your body, it does a great deal for your mind, too.
Anyone who works out regularly can likely attest to the confidence boost they get when able to push their body beyond what they thought was their limit, too. It acts as a confidence booster while, at the same time, nourishing the body with endorphins and everything else that comes with increasing one’s heart rate.
This ability to push yourself and persist even when things are hard is necessary if you want to be successful in any career. Training yourself to do that daily will only help in your endeavors. 
11. Read Often
Adult life can be so hectic that you seldom find time to read books. One famous person that takes reading seriously is Warren Buffet, who dedicates 80% of each day to reading.  His philosophy is that when you read, your knowledge builds up like compound interest.
With this in mind, be selective about the books you read, as highly successful individuals tend to choose education over entertainment — though indulging in fantasy, fiction, and all other kinds of genres probably won’t really hurt you, either. 
Here’re some recommendations for you: 25 Best Self Improvement Books to Read No Matter How Old You Are
12. Engage in a Hobby
When thinking about daily rituals, creativity may not come to mind as a form of self-care or something important to you, emotionally. In fact, sometimes people are so hung up on things like reading and working out that they forget letting their hair down is important, too.
Creative hobbies that you add to daily rituals could be anything that get your blood pumping and prepares your mind for creativity.
If you aren’t sure what hobby you should pick up, use the activities that you enjoy most as a guide and take it from there, allowing your ideas and your interests to evolve as you explore new hobby territories. Enjoy knitting? Try macrame. Like playing video games? Try reading more graphic novels.
Keeping track of your thoughts and feelings is another daily ritual worth trying. One of the simplest ways to do this would be by journaling at least once a day.
Journaling can help improve your emotional intelligence, as you’re forced to be more reflective and make sense of your emotions by writing them down. This means you’d be more self-aware and mindful and, as a result, better able to interact with others.
It’s also worth noting that journaling can be used for other purposes, such as tracking progress on personal or career goals.
What’s more, there are so many ways to journal, and they don’t all have to happen in a physical notebook. Research mobile apps, browser extensions, or something else you can write in at any moment. Some people also journal in the way of scrapbooking or photo-books — do what feels right for you. Don’t squish yourself into a box that doesn’t quite fit!
14. Motivate Yourself
Steve Jobs had a simple morning routine which consisted of him looking at himself in the mirror and asking:
“…if today were the last day of my life, what would I want to do, and am I about to do it today?”
This question is one that was enough to motivate him. So think about how you can motivate yourself, too.
This ability to regularly self-motivate might not come naturally for everyone, and many people have probably never done it before — and because of that, it’s important to understand that to be able to successfully self-motivate is a learned skill, not a natural one. It just takes practice, practice, practice, and sometimes a little “fake it til you make it.”
Cultivating the habit of asking yourself questions about your purpose is one way of motivating yourself. You could also try positive affirmations as a means of creating positive energy and helping you stay focused — whatever you choose, make sure it works for you, specifically, even if it doesn’t work for everyone else!
15. Carry a Notebook
You never know when inspiration will strike, so always carry a notebook around with you. This gives you a chance to jot down notes and ideas that you’d otherwise forget.
You can have a number of notebooks and place them in your daily bag, office, and anywhere else you are regularly. When everything is written down, you know that your best ideas are kept in a safe place.
Some people may choose to keep this idea notebook separate from their daily journal, and others might be happier combining all of their experiences and ideas into one singular place — find what works best for you.
You might choose to not even use a physical notebook, too, just like how you don’t want a physical journal — and that’s okay! The app store is chock full of apps for note-taking and other ways of jotting down thoughts when they come to you.
There are easily more than 15 rituals that will put you on the path to success — however, the ones mentioned in this list are a good place to start.
With consistency, you should begin to see yourself blossoming into the successful person you’ve always envisioned yourself to be.
Try a lot of different things, and be honest with yourself about what works and what doesn’t. In no time, you’ll have your own rituals that help push you into being what you consider a successful person — even if that’s not the same as what it is for everyone else. Just don’t give up. Good luck!
More Powerful Habits & Routines
- Need Morning Motivation? 30 Routines to Help You Start Afresh
- 16 Everyday Habits of Highly Productive People
- Powerful Daily Routine Examples for a Healthy and High-Achieving You
Featured photo credit: Luke Porter via unsplash.com
Last Updated on November 26, 2019
How to Improve Focus: 7 Ways to Train Your Brain
In this fast-paced world we’ve created, we’re only going to feel more overwhelmed by the ever-increasing directions and distractions we feel pulled toward. With exponentially increasing demands on us in our work and personal lives, sustaining and improving focus on things which matter is getting tougher and tougher.
You’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that keeping focused is no longer about trying to discover secret weapons of willpower or self-discipline. With these initial self-reflective exercises and different brain-training exercises, you’ll no longer be having arguments with yourself to get on with the job!
Here’re 7 ways on how to improve focus that you can start applying:
1. Have a Plan You Feel Clear About
One of the most common reasons we struggle to maintain focus is because we lack clarity about what we need to do next. The next best action step does not feel clear to us.
If you are trying to lose weight but aren’t clear on exactly what activities you need to do, with what intensity, the food you need to eat and the timing of when all this needs to happen, you increase your chances of staggered progress.
If there are not enough parts early in the process to that feel clear for you to make the next step, these emotional obstacles will derail you.
You must also recognize the amount of detail in the steps you need to feel ready and confident to move forward — this will differ between you and the next person. You and another person can be given exactly the same instructions to learn a task. He/she might feel completely ready and confident to get to work. On the other hand, you hesitate.
Work on developing enough detail clarity until you feel you have enough resources and know enough to take the steps. When you do, stepping forward will be easy and momentum will flow.
2. Set Your Mood and Environment to Maximize Your Capacity to Focus
It’s been argued that in slightly-above-ambient temperatures, you can be more creative. You feel more relaxed and your productivity increases. Conversely, lower temperatures have also been found to more positively influence decision-making ability and alertness.
Cornell University conducted a study of office administration workers whereby their productivity positively correlated with increased office temperatures. At 25℃, the workers were typing with 90% accuracy. However, with a drop of 5℃, the typing rate nose-dived along with an increased error rate of 25%. The study also identified other factors which could greatly affect productivity and focus such as air quality and pollution.
It’s not just temperature you need to pay attention to. Good lighting is essential. The wavelength of blue light emitted from neon lights and most electronic devices generally ignites our serotonin levels and keeps us awake. Consider though that natural light is best where possible. When your body is truly getting tired, you can honor its natural rhythms and listen to its cues for rest.
Switch off communication applications (e.g. Facebook messenger, Slack, Yamma). Make it hard for yourself to access such applications and devices by physically putting them in places that are inconvenient for you to access (try the 20-second rule and make it take more time to access). If you have to go outside to the garden shed to retrieve your phone (and it’s cold and raining outside), you’re less likely to do it!
Maximize your exposure to visual messages which direct you to stay on task. Rather than have your eyes cast across post-it-note messages such as: “Don’t get distracted”, have messages of what you want to direct yourself to do: “Keep going. Stay focused.” Surround where you plan to execute most of your day’s work with deliberate messages that directly tell you to stay on track.
3. Create a Distraction Procrastination To-Do List
When you know you have to prepare a complex report or assignment, the temptation to be carried away with the social flittings of your friends on Facebook or your colleagues chatting nearby will likely be stronger than ever. That story you spin yourself that you’re only spending a smidgin’ of time getting ‘up-to-date’ so it can’t really do any harm becomes the only story you want to believe.
Trying to resist the temptation completely can cost you valuable time and mental energy. The guilt you harbor for contemplating digressing from your important activity inflicts an emotional cat-o-nine tails upon you. That doesn’t serve you either. What do you do?
Submit half-way. Fully indulge at a designated time period to soak up that dopamine rush from scrolling through sporadic events and sponsored posts on your newsfeed or chat to whoever is online at the time. However, timing here is essential.
After pounding through a chunk of work, submit to that guilty pleasure. When you engage in it, do it fully. If you’ve been studying straight for three hours, it’s time to stand up, stretch and stroll to your favourite coffee shop and back. Go for a walk or swing on the swings in your closest public park.
If you work from home, bake a batch of scones, put on a face mask as you soak your feet in a foot spa. Or watch half of the football match you recorded but haven’t gotten ‘round to reviewing yet.
Cold-turkey abstinence is hardly ever effective. Not only are you wasting time and energy resisting the urge. You make the urge stronger by denying yourself! So, don’t deny yourself but manage it wisely.
4. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
If you’re yet to be convinced of how meditation can help you improve focus, look no further than the declarations made by the American Psychological Society praising its benefits. More and more studies are demonstrating how meditation can reduce rumination, stress, anxiety and improve relationships, emotional stability, focus and working memory capacity.
If you’re not meditating, you are doing yourself a gross disservice. Meditating allows to practice regaining focus. As you practice, you learn and increase your skills to notice when your mind is wandering off track. You then practice bringing it back to what you should be directing your attention to.
Include in your morning preparations for the day a gentle but directed review of what you need to devote your time to today. Throughout the day, consider that your attention span swings like a pendulum. Exercise it one direction and let it swing into a free-thought space for moments of reprieve.
The world, our bodies and our minds work in rhythms. Learn to exercise your mind and focus as such. If you try to beat yourself cognitively into submission, you’re unlikely to win. You’ll be unnecessarily exhausting yourself in repeated attempts of trying.
Here’s a beginner guide for meditation: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly
5. Schedule Planning, Review and Recognition Periods Throughout Your Day
Management consultant and best-selling author of 18 Minutes, Peter Bregman recommends a simple plan to help train your brain to remain focused and help you track your progress.
Before the computer goes on, the first 5 minutes of your day, you invest in planning and write out your ‘today’s activities’ list. Physically writing down your activity goals for the day (using paper and pen, not electronic word processing) engages more functions within your brain (e.g. the generation effect) which train it to recognize these activities are highly important.
Bregman then recommends that for 1 minute at the end of each of the next 8 hours, you stop and recall what you have accomplished in that hour. You congratulate yourself for what you have achieved and regain focus, recalibrate expectations and take a pause. You slow down to speed up.
By reviewing what you have accomplished, you attach a positive emotional experience to your work and progress. This action in itself will improve your focus as you fuel your motivation to keep the wheels of your momentum, rolling.
The final 5 minutes at the end of the day are spent in reviewing and planning the next day. Doing so makes it easy for you to sustain laser focus from one day to the next, to the next.
These 18 minutes of planning serve as plain but powerful guard rails to keep you mentally on track.
6. Create Goals and Activities That Satisfy Your Highest Priorities and Values
Whenever you’re resisting doing something, it’s highly likely because it’s not topping your desirability charts.
As a human being, you behave and act in ways which ultimately keep you feeling safe and comfortable. As long as we can see we will get to continue feeling safe and comfortable, it doesn’t matter what activity we&rsquorsquo;re asked to do.
However, the moment a notion arises of your needing to do something that feels unfamiliar (and hence, uncomfortable), you can guarantee you’ll feel a sting of resistance. It might be slight but it will be there. However, life doesn’t let us simply avoid whatever we please.
The key is to examine and reframe what you need to do in a way that does satisfy your highest values and priorities.
If you believe you know what your values and priorities are, take a look at the results you have against the goals you’ve set for yourself thus far.
For example, if you believe one of your highest priorities is to have a healthy bank balance yet your balance statement shows more outgoings than revenue, having a lot of money is actually not a high priority for you.
At this point, you need to explore the variety of activities that yield a healthy bank balance that you’re not currently exercising. Saving, reducing costs, modifying and monitoring spending habits, making wiser purchase choices and finding ways to increase your income are all activities you need to explore. These things might sound dull and like hard work.
That’s probably why you’re not doing them! The great news is that they don’t have to be.
Work out which of these activities are the easiest and fun (i.e. create feelings of comfort and safety) for you. Then either get someone or engage a mechanism to do the rest for you.
If you are good at generating income, engage a financial adviser to set up structures which will monitor and wisely manage your spending. You can have your cake and eat it too.
Simply work out which parts of the cake you like eating the most and invite others along who like eating the other parts.
7. Transform Information to Make Things More Interesting
According to neurobiologists’ findings, we learn better when we actively do different things with the information. Not only are our experiences of learning more enjoyable, we activate more parts of our brain. This serves lessons and memories to be more effectively encoded into long-term memory.
You need to become clever at delighting and regularly stimulating your senses through variety.
If you’re studying, engage a variety of ways to exercise using the knowledge and skills you must develop. Discussion groups, creating informal quizzes, teaching someone the information you need to learn involves you exercising verbal communication skills where you must both give and receive information. You must adapt to your audience.
Drawing pictures and diagrams, creating voice memos about what you’re learning, using colors and symbols again different activates different parts of the brain. More connections are developed in your neural circuitry to aid your recall.
Furthermore, you become more adaptable and adept at applying what you learn to different situations.
Creating your own personalized manuals and notes becomes a passion project which pushes the personal gratification scale higher and higher.
Before you know it, staying focused no longer feels like a chore.
The Bottom Line
The need to stay focused drops when you set goals and make choices that steer you toward satisfying your highest priorities, values and principles.
Having arduous experiences on your journey are inevitable. Using these exercises and strategies, you can forecast when distractions and boredom are approaching and transform these into some of the most effective and productive chapters, ever.
More About Staying Focused
- How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)
- 9 Ways To Focus and Be Super Productive At Work
- How to Use Deep Work to Wipe out Distractions And Boost Productivity
- How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus
- How to Improve Concentration and Sharpen Your Attention at Work
Featured photo credit: Trent Szmolnik via unsplash.com
|||^||Cornell University: Thermal Effects on Office Productivity|
|||^||American Psychological Association: What are the benefits of mindfulness|
|||^||Cortex.: The Generation Effect: Activating Broad Neural Circuits During Memory Encoding|