2018 is the perfect chance to start a brand new chapter. These 13 surprising habits will get you there by 2019.
While most of us set New Year’s resolutions, studies reveal that fewer than 10 percent of us manage to stick to them for more than a few months. A big reason is that we see these changes as enormous obstacles rather than the result of small, daily decisions.
The power of choosing positive habits — and sticking to them for the long-term — will allow your success to compound. Trust me when I say that making the time for self-improvement this year will snowball into something great.
So, instead of waiting for success to fall in your lap in 2018, you can begin achieving it today by adopting these small (yet powerful) daily habits:
1) There’s more spare time than you think.
Another culprit for not achieving self-improvement is the excuse that we “don’t have enough time.”
While I don’t doubt that you’re busy (I know I am), there tends to be more free time in our schedules than we realize. For instance, the amount of time we spend watching TV and surfing social media every year could’ve been used to read 200 books.
2) Practice being your future self.
Quite simply, to become that ideal, future version of yourself, you need to practice being it.
According to Peter Bregman, CEO and leadership expert, in Harvard Business Review, “You need to spend time on the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediate apparent return to your efforts.”
His brilliant advice applies to almost any change you want to make in your life. Whether you want to get in better shape or start a business, it’s not going to happen overnight. Instead of waiting for this change, start prioritizing and scheduling bite-size improvements today, no matter how busy you are.
3) Small tweaks make a huge difference.
That $3.50 latte you buy everyday might not seem damaging, but over the year it amounts to $1,278 down the drain. Whether your dream is to open a business or travel the globe, these small, spending habits could be tampering it more than you realize. Innocuous and toxic spending habits can really snowball over time.
To improve your financial success in the new year, try the “50–30–20 rule.” The breakdown is straightforward and practical. Get the 50 percent of your income and allocate it for your daily living expenses like rent. The next 30 percent you can spend on whatever you want. Sounds fun, right? The 20 percent, the most important chunk of the pie, should directly go to your investments.
4) Design your life around happiness.
Happiness can seem like such an abstract concept. After all, a Hallmark card or Dove chocolate wrapper doesn’t exactly give you a concrete way to create a happier life.
But according to Stanford’s famous “Designing Your Life” class, you can actually hone in on what happiness means to you, and restructure your life around it. Instead of just abstractly chasing happiness, they suggest you journal it daily.
Start by writing down the specifics — when you were happy, what you were doing, why did it make you happy, etc.). If you notice reoccurring themes or patterns, start changing your goals or routines to incorporate them.
5) Save money without thinking.
Even if we intend to save our money, we’re only human, and sometimes we forget or spend more money than we realize. However, if you automate your saving, that money is instantly tucked away where it’s harder to spend carelessly, and easier to use for investing or bettering your financial future.
If it’s possible for you to automate a flow of money into your savings account, or, even better, an investment vehicle, it will not only be more convenient but will also help you make more down the line. You’re not only brightening your financial future but you are also reserving your limited willpower for other habits.
6) Ask for help.
There’s immense value in learning how to ask help from others. The most successful people could not have achieved all that they have without a little help along the way. So, the next time you need an extra hand, don’t be afraid to delegate or ask.
7) Start early.
This tip applies to much more than waking up at 5 a.m. Financially, start saving your money and investing as soon as possible. Self-made billionaires realize the enormous value of compound interest, the way a small amount invested now can become a fortune later.
Additionally, some of the world’s largest companies are run by CEOs that are under 40. You don’t have to be young to achieve success, but you should adopt the attitude that it’s never too early to start. Don’t be afraid to take a leap in your career, even if you think you’re too inexperienced. If you keep waiting for the perfect timing to take an opportunity, it may never come.
8) Set goals, don’t make wishes.
Thomas Corley, who has extensively studied millionaires, said that, “If you want your wish or dream to come true, you need to create goals around them, pursue those goals and achieve those goals. You need to break your wish or dream down into manageable tasks that you are able to perform.”
Wishing you were a billionaire is all well and good, but it won’t get you anywhere. Instead, by setting goals like “I’ll save and invest an extra $200 a month”, you’ll get to financial freedom much quicker than you ever thought was possible.
So, keep that big-picture dream in your head, but don’t forget to break it down into manageable realities.
9) Say ‘no’ to everything else.
Warren Buffet reportedly said to his pilot of 25 years, “The fact that you’re still working here tells me I’m not doing my job.”
He then told his pilot to write down 25 goals he was working on, and to narrow down the top five. Buffett’s sage advice was to only follow those top five goals, and to say no to everything else.
You can do the same thing: Rather than overextending yourself, start tuning up your turn-down skills. For instance, if you want to start a business, learn to say no to frivolous activities that waste your time. When you start prioritizing yourself, positive change will arise in the blink of any eye.
10) Don’t beat a dead horse.
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein
If you have been trying to succeed at something for a while now and it hasn’t been working, or, even more important, it isn’t making you happy, it is time to try something else. It does not mean that you are a failure. It means that you are smart enough to realize when something isn’t working out and that you have enough dignity to do something to make yourself happy.
11) (Actually) Recharge.
Burnout plagues millions of Americans each year, and its wide variety of symptoms, including insomnia and stress, can eat away at your chances for wealth and success.
If you’re feeling stressed and overworked, this is the year to finally end it for good. Harvard research indicates that “Our brains need a rest as much as our bodies do.”
The best way to do this is to unplug before and during work.
Consider actually leaving work at the end of the day by not checking your email in the evening and focusing on something relaxing instead. During the workday, take a break every hour or so, and even take a walk outside.
12) You’re only as good as the people around you.
You may recall, when you were in high school, your parents telling you not tohang out with wrong crowd, and it probably drove you crazy. I am sorry to tell you, though, that they were right.
A Harvard Medical School study done by Dr. Nicholas Christakis found thatindividuals who surround themselves with people who smile and have a positive attitude themselves have a better attitude compared with those who are surrounded by negative and grumpy people.
It might not seem like a big deal, but start avoiding negative friends or colleagues whenever possible. If you can’t avoid this, now’s the time to start looking for a new job or social circle. The results will amaze you.
13) Scare yourself every single day.
“Do one thing every day that scares you,” said Eleanor Roosevelt.
She was right on the money. Although it might be intimidating, stepping outside your comfort zone is the only way to create change.
Is there something that you’ve been putting off because it brings butterflies to your stomach? Is there a slight fear you have, but you know you’ll be more productive by moving toward it?
Whether it’s going to that job interview or just saying hello to someone you want to meet, make an effort to do it daily, knowing that it will be a step toward conquering your fears and success goals.
It’s never too late (or too early) to create that massive change in life you’ve always wanted. Your new success might not happen overnight, but it will happen eventually.
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