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Here’s How Highly Successful People Make Little Choices Different From the Rest of Us

It’s simple: If you want to live an exceptional life, you can’t behave like everyone else.


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Everybody has their own definition of success. And most people probably would like to live an above-average life. But the reality is that the vast majority of people never do. Most people live ordinary, mediocre existences.

Hundreds of highly successful executives have shared with me the daily habits they say have helped them get ahead. And it's not rocket science. It's little things, like choosing to get up every day at 4 a.m. and exercise, or making meditation a ritual, or getting serious about to-do lists.

Here are a few other simple life choices you can make to radically alter your life.

Stop Watching TV

Maybe you binge watch Netflix or the latest blockbuster series saved on your DVR. Or perhaps a couple hours of regular TV helps you unwind every night. Imagine what would happen if you used those many hours a week to take a night class, habitually go to the gym, or get busy reading one book every week. You could radically transform your mind and body.

Stop Drinking Alcohol

If enjoying a cocktail or two after work is a habit, take a minute to reflect on what you're actually doing while imbibing. Are you getting anything done? And how much time do you spend drinking? Try giving up booze for 30 days. Instead of engaging in this time-suck, how would your life be different if you took a long walk with your partner or dog, or tackled a big project you've been putting off?

Start Lifting Weights

Every day. Highly successful people prioritize their health and workout religiously. You don't need to kill yourself with cardio, though. Putting on muscle is the most effective way to increase your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day.

Stop Smoking

Yeah, it's hard. But if you want to be highly successful you need to be the kind of person who's willing and able to do difficult things.

Take Risks

Highly successful people are not afraid to fail because they know that when they do, they'll learn a lesson and get better. And they say "yes," even when doing so might be scary. In fact, experts believe that risk-takers climb the company ladder faster and are early adopters of technology. People who are risk-averse, however, often are viewed more negatively in the workplace. If you want to succeed, look for opportunities to stretch yourself and push your own boundaries.

Stop Blaming Others (or Fate) For Your Situation

People who have what psychologists call an "internal locus of control" attribute their success to their own hard work or abilities. They also are more successful in life. When you believe you alone are responsible for your circumstances, you'll make necessary changes in your life to achieve success. If you sit around blaming everyone else for your problems--an "external locus of control"--your situation will remain as it is. So, if you're in an unfulfilling relationship, end it. If you're in a job which makes you miserable, quit it. If you feel lonely, go make some friends. If you're unhappy about carrying too much weight, hire a trainer who can help you establish the right habits. You are the only one who can make your life better.

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This post originally appeared on Inc. and was published May 5, 2018. This article is republished here with permission.

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