When you think of ultra-successful people like Sheryl Sandberg, Elon Musk, Lewis Howes, and Mark Cuban, you may think they are so rich they can just kick back and coast. But while most people think of amassing a fortune to buy an island and sip on coconut juice all day, the ultra-successful have developed impressive goal setting strategies and habits that not only allow them to remain at the pinnacle, but to also allow them to continue striving for more.
One interesting thing to note is that many of these goal setting strategies and mentalities were set prior to them reaching their millions. When you do something consistently and long enough, it forms a habit. Only by making it a habit can we stay vigilant towards our goals when life throws obstacles and challenges our way.
Also, according to Mind Tools, you should set your goals on a number of levels. First, create your "big picture" of what you want to do with your life or over a certain period of time, and identify the large-scale goals that you want to achieve.
Second, you should break these down into the smaller and smaller targets that you must hit by a certain time in order to eventually reach your lifetime goals. And third, once you have a plan in place, you should start working on it to achieve these goals.
"This is why we start the process of setting goals by looking at your lifetime goals," Mind Tools suggests. "Then, we work down to the things that you can do in, say, the next five years, then next year, next month, next week, and today, to start moving towards them."
So what methods do millionaires contribute toward their success? Listed below are five ways ultra-successful people stay on top of their game.
1. They conquer their mornings.
If you think about it, the morning is the only time of day that you have full control of what you want to do. Before you check emails, step into the office and get bombarded by 100 fires and requests, your morning is the only sacred time you can do whatever it is you truly want to do. Most successful people wake up anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes before their day actually needs to begin so that they can exercise their mind and body. This means many millionaires are up by 4 am.
Tim Draper, the founding partner of one of the largest venture capital firms DFJ, wakes up to play basketball, which he says boosts endorphins and helps gain clarity.
Brad Lande, the founder of Birchbox Man, makes sure his health and well-being are cared for and prioritizes meditation and yoga along with a healthy breakfast into his daily routine.
Kevin O’Leary, Shark Tank investor, works out each morning for 45 minutes while watching business news and catching up on the morning financials.
Kat Cole, Executive of FOCUS Brands, which includes Auntie Ann’s, Cinnabon and several other food brands, starts each morning off with a workout and 24 ounces of water.
Now if you find yourself as a chronic ‘Snooze’ button hitter, start small. Set your alarm to wake up 15 minutes earlier. When you reach 15 days of consistent rising, then add another 15 minutes until you feel you can reset your inner clock to whichever time you choose to wake up.
2. They make a to-do list the night before.
Barbara Corcoran makes a to-do list the night before so she knows immediately what to focus on and prioritize the next day. Those at the top of their game often ask themselves, “What is the one thing I need to accomplish today to get me closer to my goals?” These are non-negotiable goals that they must complete before they go to bed at night. If you find yourself always moving tasks to the next day, this tip will undoubtedly be very helpful to follow.
Also, if you find yourself constantly reactive to the day, take a moment to be proactive. Before you open up any emails, try to reverse engineer your one main goal that needs to be tackled immediately. For example, if your goal is to increase revenue, think about ways you can do this. Are you cold calling, reaching out to old clients, attending a networking event? What is the first step you can take to move towards revenue generation? Make that action as specific as possible and commit.
3. They block off one to two hours of uninterrupted time.
When focusing on their most important task at hand, ultra-successful people know how to really turn off any and all distractions. They will turn on airplane mode, block off viewing emails, close their office door, etc. When they are focused on the task at hand, they really know how to maximize productivity and complete it by eliminating all distractions.
One of Tim Ferriss’s greatest productivity hacks is to design and structure your day to the way you best operate. If you find yourself staring at a screen for hours but not doing any work, ask yourself what time of day you’re at your best and put your most important tasks during those hours. For example, if you need to write a lot and you feel sluggish after lunch, try to write in the mornings. By scheduling your strengths in the day, you’ll feel a lot more focused and impressed with your progress, which will propel your motivation to other tasks at hand.
4. They communicate efficiently.
Jeff Bezos is known for writing tweet-lengthed emails. It’s not uncommon to get a one-sentence reply for him. While some people might view this as rude, many ultra-successful people are efficient, effective and brief. They immediately get to the point and are very direct in their communication. There’s an art to writing short emails that still show friendliness and confidence.
The next time you’re about to send an email that requires someone to scroll – ask yourself in each sentence, what is absolutely necessary? If the message is still clear and delivers your message without the extra words, remove it! Also, think about what words you can use to replace phrases. For instance, instead of telling you to "take it out" I just used the phrase "remove it." Practice writing with brevity and you’ll be amazed at how efficient your emails are for both you and your recipient.
5. They eliminate meetings.
Richard Branson’s rule of thumb is that meetings with a single topic should never go more than 10 minutes long. Steve Jobs, Mark Zukerberg, and Jack Dorsey are often known to have walking and talking meetings... If this isn’t multitasking at its finest, I’m not sure what is! Walking also provides a boost of energy and can help gain clarity and focus.
Finally, Mark Cuban’s philosophy is that no meeting should be held unless someone is cutting a check. Meetings should only be held when absolutely necessary, as they are often timewasters for participants.
Ultimately, goal setting is super important.
Above all else, the ultra-successful have clarity on what their goals are and what they need to do to reach them. Despite challenges, roadblocks or obstacles, they are able to still obtain the results they want because they practice perseverance and are committed to seeing them through.
Most people feel as if they're adrift at some point in their lives. They might work hard, but they don't always seem to get anywhere worthwhile. It's not a good feeling. But employees in any industry have to take steps in a goal-setting process of some kind — whether it's a personal goal or a specific goal at work assigned by a boss. Top-level athletes, successful business-people, artists and achievers in all industries all set goals in their own ways. For a goal of any kind to be attainable, however, there's one common denominator: It needs to be measurable within a certain time frame. That's because by setting sharp, clearly defined expectations for yourself, you can measure and take pride in the achievement of those dreams, and you'll witness progress in what might have before felt like you were stuck in struggle city. You'll boost your self-confidence as you begin to recognize your own ability and competence in achieving the goals that you've set, and you'll set the momentum that'll be a catalyst for more victories down the road.
Whether in work or just in life, in general, people always have to set smart goals and take steps to achieve their dreams. But, sometimes, you need a little motivation to have that can-do attitude. If you've got an action plan for a certain time frame, the goal-setting process is a lot easier. Whether it's a life goal or a specific goal regarding your career, make it an attainable goal (even if it's a big goal) so you can be sure you achieve it.
Emily Liou's mission is to help heart-centered professionals live out their life purpose. She believes everyone has untapped potential and loves helping people realize what they are truly capable of. Through private career coaching and ecourses, Emily is passionate about helping as many job seekers out there look forward to Mondays! She is the creator of The Happily Hired Formula and offers tons of free career advice over at her blog CultiVitae.