13 Daily Habits of Successful People You Can Easily Adopt

Photo of a meeting with people applauding, illustrating the positive impact of daily habits of successful people on both personal and professional lives.

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Deanna deBara
Deanna deBara
June 12, 2024 at 4:6PM UTC

There are a lot of things that can contribute to success—for example, developing a set of in-demand skills or consistently investing in professional growth opportunities. Yet, one often-overlooked factor can significantly impact your ability to cultivate success—your daily routine. With that in mind, adopting at least some of the habits of successful people could help you get there.

What you do each day plays a huge role in how much success you can create in your life, both in the short-term and the long-term—and is significantly more impactful than things you might do once-in-awhile. “Success lies not just in what we do professionally, but also in how we manage our personal routines,” says Dominic Monn, founder and CEO of mentoring network MentorCruise.

However, not all daily habits are created equal. If you want your day-to-day habits to have a measurable impact on your ability to succeed, you need to cultivate habits that support ongoing success. So what, exactly, are some of those habits?

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, there are certain practices that accomplished individuals generally prioritize—and those routines directly contribute to their level of achievement.

Let’s take a look at 13 daily habits of successful people—habits you might consider working into your own day to increase success, both in your personal and professional lives:

1. They have a morning routine

As they say, the way you start the day is the way you continue your day. So, if you want to set up your day for success? You need to start with a morning routine that supports that success. “A structured morning routine sets the tone for the entire day,” says Monn.

What you do during your morning routine will depend on your own needs and preferences; for example, some people might find a morning meditation practice sets their day up for success. Others might prefer to start the day by making their bed and tidying their workspace before they jump into any tasks. And some might get serious success-boosting benefits by listening to a podcast or reading a book.

Whatever you opt for, create a routine that helps you clear your mind and gets you primed and ready to tackle the day—and then start every day with that ritual.

2. They eat breakfast

As mentioned, the ideal morning routine will vary from person to person. But one thing it should include for virtually everyone is a healthy, hearty breakfast.

“Studies show that eating breakfast does a heck of a lot of good for you—and, on the contrary, not eating it has plenty of downsides,” Alyce Kalish writes in a 2020 article on The Muse. So, how does eating breakfast impact productivity—and help set up your day for success? 

When you eat, your body converts that food into glucose—which your brain uses as energy. When your body has the right amount of glucose, you feel energized, alert, and focused. When it doesn’t, your body is like a car driving without any gas; you don’t have the fuel you need to get through the day—and your productivity suffers as a result. 

In addition, eating breakfast also offers some serious benefits to your health—and the healthier you are, the more successful you can be. “Getting food into your system first thing in the morning has other benefits, too,” Kalish writes. “Research shows it can help you lose weight, decrease the risk of developing diabetes, or heart disease.”

3. They exercise

Among the top habits of successful people is exercise. Engaging in physical activity releases feel-good hormones (known as endorphins) that can not only improve your mood, but can also make you feel more energized—which, in turn, can set you up for success.

Exercise also offers significant mental benefits that can also help you be more successful. “Regular exercise is just as much about physical health as it is an exercise in a discipline that trains your mind,” says Monn. “Maintaining a consistent exercise routine requires dedication and self-discipline, traits that are invaluable for success.”

What kind of exercise you do is up to you; you can run, walk, hike, dance, lift weights, do yoga, take a spin class…the options are virtually endless. Just find a kind of movement that works for you—and then commit to moving every day.

4. They plan ahead

Successful people don’t just expect success to happen out of the blue. Instead, they create a plan to create the success they’re looking for.

Your success plan should be a “clear vision of what you want,” says career coach Adriana Cowdin. “By creating a clear vision, you know not only what you want, but also what you don’t want”—which, in turn, can contribute to your success.

Visualizing what kind of success you want in your life and having a plan to achieve it is the first step. From there, it’s important to revisit that plan every day—and make changes as necessary. 

“A daily planning ritual of even 5-10 minutes can have a dramatic impact on your success,” says Trevor Lohrbeer, co-founder of digital day planner app Day Optimizer. “It provides a regular cadence for evaluating progress, making adjustments and setting intentions.”

5. They time-block their top priorities

Part of being successful is carving out time every day to work on what’s most important to you. The most successful people know that, in order to ensure that happens on a daily basis, they need to carve out specific time to work on their most important tasks—also known as time block.

“Time blocking is where you set aside a specific block of time (say 2 hours) to make progress on a task—and then schedule it into your day at a specific time,” says Lohrbeer. “This is an invaluable technique for when you need to do deep work, but can be useful for all types of tasks.”

For example, if your top priority is to successfully complete a marathon, you would block out time each day to go for a run. If your priority is starting a new business, you would carve out time each day for all the tasks connected to launching a new venture, like brainstorming marketing ideas, writing copy, and setting up your website. 

Whatever it is that you want to do, if you want to successfully complete it, setting aside dedicated time is crucial. Block out that time each day, and consider putting it on your calendar as an important step in achieving your goals.

Also, make sure to schedule your time-blocks at your most alert, awake, and productive time of day. That way, “you're working on your most impactful tasks at the times when you'll be most productive at those tasks,” says Rohber.

6. They use visual reminders to keep them on track

Part of being successful is staying on track and continually working towards your goals. But in the chaos of day-to-day life, it can be easy to lose track of what’s important—and what’s actually going to bring you closer to the success you desire.

That’s why a great habit for cultivating success involves creating visual reminders of what you’re working on.

Consider “putting your top 3 priorities for the next day on a sticky note, and then put that on your keyboard before you leave for the day,” says Elizabeth Harrin, Fellow of the Association for Project Management (FAPM) and author of Managing Multiple Projects. “That means in the morning, it's completely clear what your priorities are and you know what to focus on to have a day that you would consider a successful day.”

Seeing constant reminders of what’s important, what you’re working on, and what’s going to take you one step closer to success will ensure that you stay committed to your goals—and ultimately can help you achieve them.

7. They celebrate wins, big and small

The most successful people know that while big achievements are important, it’s really the smaller day-to-day wins that make for a successful life—which is why they acknowledge and celebrate those victories every day.

“Celebrating your wins is essential,” says life coach and success strategist Randi Levin. Focusing on the negative can make it harder to move forward. “It is easy to identify what went wrong—and even to abandon goals and projects because they seem to not be working out,” says Levin. 

On the flip side, celebrating what went right every day can boost your confidence and give you the drive and energy to move towards even bigger, more long-term successes—which, in turn, will make you a more successful person overall.

8. They minimize decision fatigue

It’s estimated that, on average, humans make a whopping 35,000 decisions a day. Obviously, making that many decisions can be extremely exhausting—and that exhaustion can impact your ability to focus.

“Our thinking gets fuzzier with each selection we make,” says Michael Laauwe, Certified Master Life Coach and founder of PositiveThinkingMind.com. This is also known as decision fatigue.

That’s why one of the more common traits in successful people is that they work to eliminate as many decisions as possible each day—and minimize decision fatigue in the process. “Taking even one decision off the list leaves your mind fresher later on,” says Laauwe.

For example, think of Steve Jobs; he wore the exact same black turtleneck virtually every day. This eliminated the need to decide what he was going to wear each day—which freed up that energy to work on more important, success-building projects (you know…like creating the iPhone). 

There are plenty of opportunities to minimize decision fatigue during the day; for example, you might create a daily menu so you don’t have to think about what to cook—or choose a specific time to exercise so you don’t have to choose between an AM or PM workout. 

What decisions you opt to eliminate is less important than how many decisions you opt to eliminate; the more decisions you get rid of on a daily basis, the more you’ll keep decision fatigue at bay—and the more energy you’ll have to work on your goals and create more success.

9. They don’t overwhelm themselves

One habit that’s not going to make you more successful? Trying to fit too many to-do’s into a single day. “There's no point creating a list of 20 things to achieve in a day; that's unrealistic and you'll end the day feeling like you haven't achieved your goals,” says Harrin.

Instead of overwhelming yourself with a huge to-do list, focus on a few must-do tasks each day. That way, your goals feel more manageable. The more daily wins you rack up as you complete those tasks, the more energized and confident you’ll feel about your ability to complete the next day’s tasks—and that energy and confidence will help you be more successful and productive over the long-term.

10. They have a nighttime routine

As mentioned, having a morning routine is important. But so is having a nighttime routine. “Just as important as starting the day right is ending it properly,” says Monn.

Why? “A wind-down routine helps you transition from a busy workday to unplugging and getting ready for rest,” says Monn. “This habit is crucial for quality rest, which, in turn, is essential for maintaining high productivity and creativity.”

If you want to be more successful, create a nighttime routine that allows you to rest, relax, and unwind before bed (for example, turning off your devices an hour before bed, taking a hot bath, and/or doing some pre-bedtime stretching)—and then commit to that routine every day. 

Your nighttime routine will help you get more high-quality rest—and that rest will set you up for success during the day.

11. They reflect on themselves and their day

Another thing successful people often do each day is take the time to reflect. 

“Reflection—or taking time each day to consider your actions, decisions, and experiences—can be a powerful catalyst for personal and professional growth,” says Rei Shen, founder of self-improvement website Success in Depth. “It's not just about dwelling on what happened during the day, it's about understanding why it happened and how it can shape your future.”

At the end of the day (maybe as part of your nighttime routine!) set aside time to reflect on the day. What went well? What didn’t go well? What are you proud of? Were there any things you wish you’d done differently? 

Asking yourself these questions on a daily basis will allow you to gain deeper insights into yourself, your patterns, how and where you’re living your values, and areas of opportunity—and when you apply those insights, they can help you evolve into a more successful person.

12. They craft habits that work for them…

All of these suggestions can help to create success for certain people. But there’s no universal blueprint of specific habits that will create success for everyone. Instead, if you want your habits to help you become more successful, you’ll need to experiment with different habits—and then “focus on what works for you,” says Cowdin.

For example, lots of successful people get up at 5am to meditate and workout. But that habit may not be helpful (or realistic) to certain types of people—for example, people who identify more as night owls than morning birds. For those people, trying to get up at 5am is likely to make them less successful, not more. Instead, they might prefer to sleep until 9am—and then do their meditation and exercise then.

The point is, different habits work for different people. So, figure out which routines work for you specifically and focus on them—and don’t worry about the rest.

13. …and commit to those habits

Your daily habits will only make an impact in your life if you actually stick with them—and stick with them for the long haul. So, if you want to cultivate some of the habits of highly successful people, make sure to commit to those practices.

“According to the NIH, it takes ~10 weeks to create a new habit based on daily repetition,” says Cowdin. “Set your intention, focus on it, and activate it—then stick with it for at least 10 weeks.”

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