I am lucky. I believe in luck. BUT My success did not come from luck.

You see, what we do every day lays the groundwork for our luck in many ways. When we achieve our goals, the actions we take and habits we create inform elevated versions of ourselves. From that place luck can spring eternal.

Before we talk about the practical steps to setting ourselves up for success and luck, let’s take a look at what we’re searching for in the first place. 

OH, WHAT A FEELING

Right now, you may be anticipating what you expect to feel when you achieve your goal. Life will be better when you get there. You can already see yourself basking in the sunlight of your personal achievement. 

I want to give you an insider’s secret. You don’t have to get to the finish line to start feeling the way you expect to feel when you reach the goal. We set goals, yes, because we have things we want to achieve in our lifetime but we really set them because we are going after the feeling we expect to have when we achieve those goals. 

Simply put, our thoughts are what drive our feelings and emotions and you are in control of your thoughts. Yes, you are in control of your feelings, right now, at this moment.

Your first action step is to get clear on the feelings that your end goal will bring, then start to bring those feelings into your here and now. 

For example, do you think hitting a certain revenue goal will make you feel abundant and less concerned about paying your bills? Do you want to make more income so you can be more generous? How can you start to practice those feelings of generosity and abundance today? What do you need to think to become more generous? When you are abundant what thoughts are you thinking as you fall asleep at night? 

When you start thinking the thoughts that make you feel the emotions of your desires you are really on to something because you’ve tapped into the energy of flow, and that will get you to your goal so much faster. 

MEET THE NEW YOU

92% of people don’t reach their goals. Why? Because it’s hard work. Part of that hard work is becoming a new person. The person who climbs Mt Everest is not the same person who can currently hike a hill. Years ago I did a triathlon — I always was last as in physical education. I wasn’t an athlete… to finish a triathlon I had to become a new version of myself. The version of me who was a triathlete.
Since I had never done a triathlon, nor was I anything close to an athlete I had no past experience to pull from. So I had to sit down and get clear on what the version of me who had completed a triathlon looked like and even more importantly felt like. 

Feelings of accomplishment, fitness, strength, and confidence came to mind. Tapping into what I had to think and do to feel these feelings gave me a roadmap to who I needed to become before I ever crossed the finish line. 

You become the person who has achieved the goal while you’re in the process of getting to your goal.  

Understanding the feeling you want and visualizing the person you need to become sets a rock solid foundation for the tactical part of reaching your goals. Not having this foundation in place is the difference between goal achievers and goal wishers.

“Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it.” – Denzel Washington

YES, YOU NEED NEW HABITS 

To become the new version of you, you need to put new habits into place. Here’s why… 

95% of our day is run by our subconscious mind. 95%! This means, for the most mindful person, only 5% of our day is actually run through our prefrontal cortex, the part of our brain where we do thought work. The other 95%? You guessed it, it comes from your habits. 

So when you want to create sustainable change in your life, you set yourself up for success by rewiring that change into your habits.

5 TRICKS TO HELP YOU CREATE NEW HABITS 
#1. Get super specific about what you want to do.  

Habits need clarity and routine. To form a new habit, you need to get detailed on what that habit looks like and how you will execute it. 

Let’s take a look at the difference:

Unclear habit without a routine: “I need to spend time on LinkedIn to help build my business.” 
Clear habit with a routine: “On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, right after lunch, I’m going to spend 30 minutes on LinkedIn.” Then you schedule this habit right into your calendar. 

#2. Habits instill when they are comorbid.

Everyone talks about brushing your teeth and putting your workout clothes next to your toothbrush! But how many things can you put next to your toothbrush?! 

To spare your toothbrush think about other habits you can use to connect your new habit. 

Eating lunch 
Getting dressed 
Taking a shower 
Cleaning the house 
Cooking dinner 

Remember, you already have so many subconscious day-to-day habits… get creative and think about where you can leverage the habits you already have in place. 

#3. Habits that require PHYSICAL movement are much easier to embed.

It’s so much easier to set a new habit by doing something versus desperately trying to NOT do something. Consider this, going for a walk is much easier than willing yourself to not snack after dinner.
Your new habit doesn’t have to involve an all out workout, but think about how you can create new physical cues around something. Maybe after dinner you boil water for a cup of tea instead of eating cookies.

#4. Incorporating your senses makes it easier to rewire new habits.

I’m a full blown chocoholic. I seriously did not think that I could go a day without eating it. When I found myself eating too much of it, I knew I had to bring in the habit reinforcements. I found a cinnamon tea that I love. Smelling and tasting this tea has replaced my need for chocolate every day. A miracle, indeed. 

#5. Lower the barrier of entry for your new habit. 

Simply put, set yourself up for success. Want to cut down the amount of time you spend on social media? Delete the app from your phone. This will also kick up your awareness factor.
When you are aware of what you are or aren’t doing, you are using the 5% of your brain that can make a thoughtful decision versus relying on the 95% of your brain that makes decisions based on your subconscious.

CELEBRATE YOUR LUCK!

Knowing that you have the ability to create your own success and yes luck is life changing. However, let’s not underestimate all of your hard work. Be sure to celebrate your success and luck. 

Read more: addicted2success.com

Cracking the code to truly unlock your potential in life or in business has been researched by many over the years. Everyone is looking for the “secret” to success. The truth is, the outcome of our pursuits in life comes down to the choices we make on a daily basis. Do we choose to play Xbox, watch reality tv and binge hours of Netflix or do we choose the things that are going to move the needle in our lives?

See, we are at choice from the moment we wake up to the moment we hit the sack. Therefore, choosing our time wisely is the most crucial piece of the puzzle when it comes to success. Making the right choices will allow you to create the space to incorporate daily habits that will catapult you forward in life and in business.

Here are 3 habits that will turn you into a High Performer.

1. Creating Space for Inner Work

Taking the time to self-reflect and meditate is one of the most profound experiences one can bring into their life. Not only will you begin to discover aspects of our life that you weren’t aware of but you will begin to gain the ability to manifest all your dreams and desires.

Not to mention, meditating on a daily basis increases inner wellbeing and joy. Two things that are absolutely crucial to become successful. If all of your time is spent in emotional disarray, it will be very difficult to progress. Meditation can help one remove the emotional drama from their life.

Once you begin to approach your life with your emotions kept aside, when you need them kept aside, you will see your life change in many profound ways. Note, the goal isn’t to remove emotions from your life and become a robot but to gain mastery over them and not let them rule your life.

2. Exercise and Healthy Diet

Creating space in your life for rigorous physical activity can enhance your life in many ways. Not only will you begin to hit goals you may have sought in the appearance department, but you will begin to get more focused. When you’re exercising on the daily, your energy levels rise. It becomes easier and easier to get in motion every day. It simply comes down to the law of inertia: an object in motion, stays in motion. 

If that isn’t amazing enough on its own, throw in a healthy diet and now you have a recipe for unlocking some serious potential. No pun intended. In order to truly focus on your more productive tasks, you need to maintain mental clarity. It becomes an uphill battle to maintain that mental clarity if you are giving your brain and body the right fuel. It’s like putting the gasoline in a car that takes diesel.

When you put food in your body with little to no nutrition, your body has to go into overdrive just to process it. So not only are you not getting the nutrients you need but now a huge portion of your energy is being directed to your digestive system just to pass the food through. If all your energy is spent on digestion alone, your brain will be left high and dry.

“A high performer is someone who says, I want to be the best at what I’m doing.” – Brendon Burchard

3. The Not To-Do List

Everyone and their mother will tell you to focus on your list of tasks if you want to be highly productive. But when we make our lists of tasks, we are only adding things to do into our daily routine. If we are adding things that are going to move the needle in our lives, we need to make room and subtract the things that don’t.

This was picked up from Dean Graziosi and Tony Robbins. The Not To-Do List is a list of things that you are not going to do anymore. The list of things that you are certifying, by writing them down, that you will no longer take part in.

It could be a plethora of things like not going on social media during the daytime, not watching tv during the week & not hanging out with friends so much when you have things to do (especially if they’re toxic, then they sadly take the boot). It’s incredibly important to start holding yourself accountable by bringing some awareness to where your time is going. If you want to be successful, understand that TIME is your most valuable asset.

The Bottom Line

The truth is there is no real secret to success. Everyone has their own way of approaching their ambitions in life. But in order for us to figure out how we are going to get there (which there really is no destination, it’s a lifelong journey) we need to begin to start from within.

We need to peek inside ourselves, begin the work and simultaneously start taking action towards creating the lives we truly desire. Devise the plan of attack, make the commitment and TAKE ACTION. Emphasis on the action because most people will do the first two and never follow through and it leads them down the road of misery and unfulfillment.

Whether you become successful or not doesn’t depend on who you are so much as the choices you decide to make day in and day out, every minute of every day. And just know, habits like these are like tinder just waiting for you to set you ablaze.

Read more: addicted2success.com

Eat, Sleep, Innovate

Eat Sleep Innovate

THE potential for innovation exists within our organizations. The problem is the culture doesn’t support it. Our organizational cultures tend to prioritize today over tomorrow. How do you make innovation as natural as eating and sleeping? Just something you do; part of your organizational culture?

The authors of Eat, Sleep, Innovate—Scott Anthony, Paul Cobban, Natalie Painchaud, and Andy Parker—contend that the solution “requires focusing people’s daily habits through a series of interventions, and then ensuring that the new habits stick and scale.”

We have to change the culture. And that doesn’t begin by copying the relics of highly innovative companies. We must deal with the source of the problem so that innovation and the manifestations of it arise organically from the culture of the organization.

Their definition of innovation is “something different that creates value.” That’s distinct from invention. A light bulb is just a light bulb until it creates value. “Until you have turned a spark of creativity into revenues, profits, or improved performance, in our eyes, you have not innovated.”

What does the organizational culture need to support?

Curiosity. Innovators ask, “What if?” “Is there a better way?”
Customer Obsession. Innovators understand and are engaged with the potential customer.
Collaboration. Innovation occurs when different ideas and perspectives collide.
Adeptness in Ambiguity. Innovators focus on assumptions over answers.
Empowerment. An idea or invention is not an innovation until you do something with it—create value.

What holds us back is fear and inertia that often the outcome of our successes. This inertia becomes the shadow strategy that is ingrained in our culture. It undermines anything we might say or attempt to do otherwise. “The shadow strategy quietly tugs and budges a company down a path of perpetuation, even if circumstances demand something drastically different.” And that kills innovation.

The antidote to all of this is to break old habits and form new ones—and in effect, change the culture. To this end, a team at Innosight began collecting examples of interventions that promoted better innovation habits. They gave this collection the acronym: BEAN or:

Behavior Enablers: Direct ways to encourage and enable behavior change
Artifacts: Physical or digital objects to reinforce behavior change
Nudges: Indirect was to encourage and enable behavior change

In Eat, Sleep, Innovate, they list 101 BEANs and cover, in detail, over 20 to help you design BEANs specific to your organization. There are six key ingredients to a successful BEAN:

Simplicity: Make it easy to adopt and remember. “Want to exercise more? Leave your running shoes by your bed before you go to sleep.”
Practicality: Connect it to existing routines. “The fewer things you have to change, the better.”
Reinforcement: Create physical and digital reminders. Create “visual cues—fun cubes that people can play with on tables and checklists on the wall—that serve as reminders” of your program.
Organizational Consistency: Ensure it links to objectives, processes, systems, and values. “Effective BEANs don’t encourage people to do one thing if the company rewards them for something else or punishes them for that behavior.”
Uniqueness: Create something fun and social and support it with stories and legends. “Sharing stories helps spread the idea.”
Trackability: Build it in a way that it can be adjusted, measured, and scaled. Capture data that allows you to track and improve the program.

BEANs encourage behaviors that build culture. Build a culture in your organization where innovation is the natural result. A place where people can bring their best to the assets of the organization and create something new that has value and impact. BEANs help to “shrink the challenge” into “micro shifts of change.”

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Innovation is Everybodys Business Innovation at Bell Labs

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I have a confession to make. I am 36 and have been a nocturnal guy for most of my life and career. My most productive parts of the day (okay, night) would be from 11 pm to 2 am, where I used to get most of my creative work done. I thoroughly detested waking up in the morning for an early meeting with clients. Social commitments were a stretch, as most events happen first thing in the day, and I would end up groggy-eyed in the wedding, stifling yawns till I could drag myself to the food counters.

I had a bunch of colleagues who used to prod me into trying a morning routine (yes, we all have those friends) and I used to berate them for trying to change me and my lifestyle. But one fine day, I happened to chance upon 2 books, ‘Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod and ‘Why We Sleep’ by Mathew Walker and that book changed my perception of trying a morning routine. I know, I see your eyes rolling on such a cliched trope, but here is why and how it went down.

My daughter’s school started at 8.20 in the morning, and I used to miss this opportunity to bond with her while dropping her off to school. A few more years and she would be doing that stretch by herself, and I would end up regretting it in my final days, that I lost the chance to have this quality time with her. So I decided I had to give my morning routine a shot. I had this nagging fear in the back of my mind that I might end up like a sloth-man constantly playing catch-up with sleep, vainly trying to find my outlet in the absence of my previous nightly slot.

“Your habits will determine your future.” – Jack Canfield

I started out doing the SAVERS technique which Hal elaborates in his book. And while I think it is a crummy acronym, all of the techniques work well, if you do them consistently. The reason why I am writing this is to provide additional commentary to the SAVERS technique as a recently-turned-morning person and how you too could benefit from making that shift as a nocturnal person.

Start slow and easy, the night before

Please do not try to drag yourself to bed at 9-10 pm, thinking this would help you wake up in the morning. You might only end up staring wide-eyed at the ceiling until 2 am. The things that will help you hit the bed at the right time to wake up refreshed are the activities that lead up to your bed-time routine. Some of them might be patronizing (I felt the exact way you are reading through this), but I decided to keep my prejudice aside for trying this out once to see if it helped.

No Alcohol or caffeine after 7 pm: I am a teetotaller, but I drink copious amounts of coffee (no time was a bad time for coffee, according to me) so abstaining from reaching for that coffee mug after 7 pm was tough. I ended up replacing the 8 pm coffee with a 10 pm hot chocolate (without sugar) and that worked wonders in settling me down for bed.
No TV and mobile viewing an hour before bed: This was the most unsettling part. We used to watch TV during and right after dinner as a routine, and there was always Instagram and LinkedIn (beware that endless scroll) to browse through in bed. This was tough too, but agreeing on this routine with my wife helped make both of us accountable, and a few days of bickering later, we were able to make it work.
Affirmations for bedtime: The affirmations that Hal talks about to perform in the morning work well in your bedtime routine too. Consistently telling yourself that you need to wake up at 6 am right before you sleep, is a subconscious way of telling your brain that this needs to happen. It might take a few more alarms before you internalize it, but give it time.

Take a power nap, if you have to

Settling into a morning routine in the first week is tough, and you might find yourself frequently hitting the lows as early as 11 am. Chances are you reach out for the coffee mug and you hit the depth again right after lunch. Then you go down that endless spiral of pumping yourself with caffeine until you get to finally go home and crash.

To avoid this unfortunate series of events, it is better to yield and time yourself for a short nap of 15-20 min. Now before you cry hoarse and say you will get fired if your boss caught you napping, I am only recommending this right before lunchtime. Take a bio break or catch these winks in a break room, and if you work remotely, take a quick nap on the couch. These 15-20 minutes have helped me reset my sleep patterns effectively and give me a boost in productivity, way more than any coffee would grant me.

Run the morning errands

If you feel running errands is no mighty purpose to give up on sleep in the morning, think again. It has been widely studied that making the bed first thing in the morning helps stimulate a sense of accomplishment and sets the course for the day. In my case, setting the bed, getting the daughter ready for school and getting the morning walk in the sun has made a huge difference in the motivation to wake up every day. Again, sharing the motivational goals with the family helps. My wife takes the evening shopping done, while I step out in the morning to finish household chores.

These simple techniques, combined with the SAVERS technique by Hal Elrod, have helped me get into the morning routine and (brace for it) also start enjoying it. I get my creative streak to write in multiple intervals during the day, and not just in the wee hours of the night. And last but not least, I get to talk to my daughter every day on our bike ride to school and she waves to me right before she enters the school gates, which is the best reward any father could ask for to make his day, every day.

Read more: addicted2success.com

If achieving success was easy or there was a simple blueprint for it, everyone would be successful. However, there’s still a lot to be said for learning from the best and seeing what has worked for them, because adopting good habits can only help you. In that spirit, it’s always interesting to learn about the daily rituals of successful people, because how they live their lives must have an impact on what they have achieved.

This infographic below shows how many of the most famous and successful women in history have planned out their days, whether they were writers, artists, reality TV show stars or athletes and there’s a lot to learn from them. Even comparing their routines is fascinating, like seeing when and how much they all slept on a daily basis, with dancers Josephine Baker and Pina Bausch living almost nocturnal existences while some, like the Marquise du Deffand, seemed to hardly need any sleep at all.

The amount of time spent working is also fascinating, with some spending much of their waking time doing it and others seeming to only need short bursts of activity, like playwright Lillian Hellman and Oprah Winfrey, while the aforementioned Pina Bausch made up for her lack of sleep by working for almost her entire day. Exercise, meanwhile, has only become a regular part of the daily lives of the more recent successful women, no matter whether that’s mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey or homemaking queen Martha Stewart.

One thing notable from all of these women is that they don’t waste much time, with most of them using down time in the mornings to organize their homes and families, deal with their letters (or emails) or indulge in some self-care. Why not check out each of their daily rituals and see which of them looks like the kind of life you could start to try out on your road to success?

Here is the Infographic from BodyLogicMD that shows the daily rituals of famous women throughout history:

Daily routines of successful women

Read more: addicted2success.com

In the world today, the only thing that we are sure of is that it will change. But by the words of Jeff Bezos, we need to focus on the things that won’t change, not on the things that will. And this is where meta-skills come into play. A meta-skill is a higher-order skill that allows other skills to be used and developed. This basically means that in order to master lower level skills, you need to master their common denominator.

So if you can master these 3 meta-skills below, you can achieve almost anything in life:
1. Building Habits

Aristotle used to say “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit,” and Jim Rohn agreed by adding  “Motivation is what gets you started, habit is what keeps you going.”

We can find strong proof of the importance of habits everywhere in the world, from business to sports to education and most business books tell us to form habits in this or that. But rarely do we learn how to build habits and are presented with a step-by-step process of doing that.

I’ve read so many books about building habits but most of them lack at least a couple of steps which would help you build a habit. Eventually, I managed to build my own system. This system helped me build a reading and a writing habit and currently, I’m building a health habit with it.

I took the time to learn how to build habits – any habits – and it gave me a massive payoff. I can now build any habit if I want to and this meta-skill will be an invaluable tool for the rest of my life and it can be in yours too. Habits train you to do one single action every single day until it becomes a part of who you are and the next meta-skill perfectly compliments this one.

“Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.” – Jim Rohn

2. Small Actions

Everyone celebrates Elon Musk’s motivation to work 28 hours a day but, I put my focus on a smaller “celebrity” that has:

Written 5 bestselling books
Earned a computer science Ph.D. from MIT
Became a father of three
Obtained a tenured professorship at Georgetown

And he did all of this while shutting off work at 5:00 p.m. every single day and keeping the weekend just for his family. Oh and I forgot to mention – he did all of this by the age of 33. His name is Cal Newport.

Cal never runs on 100% of his speed because he understands that life isn’t a 100-meter dash, it’s a never-ending marathon and if you go all in the beginning, you will just burn out a couple of kilometers in the race.

Eric Edmeades said, “I do less every single day to do more in a year” and if you can keep doing small everyday actions, they will lead you to achieve mastery in life. The reading habit I started – doing only 20 pages a day – accumulated into 47 books in a year. That is the power of small actions.

3. Self-Awareness

So many books and articles rave about self-awareness today and hail it as one of the strongest meta-skills you can have. When they asked Gary Vaynerchuk what is the one skill people should master today, his response was “Self-Awareness.”

Self-awareness is the ability to consciously understand and know your own character, personality, and feelings. Self-awareness has a couple of layers but it’s best to only go 2 layers deep. You are on Level 0 when you are so long on autopilot that you forget that you’re on autopilot. Level 0 is a level where you have no self-awareness. On level 1 you have some metacognition (you have thoughts about your thoughts) and you think about the thoughts you have in your head. Level 2 is thinking about your mental models (where your thoughts originate and why).

A good example of this is, a guy who you hate from work just pulled a prank on you in front of the entire office. You became mad and as soon as you came home, you had a fight with your wife. On level 0, you just do it. On Level 1 you think “Maybe I’m not mad at my wife at all- this is just the consequence of the guy from work.”  On Level 2 you realize that you don’t need to answer the prank by hating the guy or being angry, just accept that it was just a prank, smile or laugh, and continue with your day.

Self Awareness will help you get better at anything faster, it will help you professionally, personally, and socially; and as soon as you master it, the sooner you can reap the rewards from it.

“Self awareness is one of the rarest of human commodities. I don’t mean self-consciousness where you’re limiting and evaluating yourself. I mean being aware of your own patterns.” – Tony Robbins

In a world where the only constant is change, we need to find and focus on the skills that won’t change. And with that, we have seen 3 meta-skills that we should learn to achieve mastery in our life.

Building habits, taking small actions and being self-aware are the ones that will help us the best. So what are you waiting for? Take control over your life by becoming the master of these 3 meta-skills.

Read more: addicted2success.com

A while ago, I wrote an article on the 51 mistakes that can sabotage your business. However, that was one piece of the puzzle. You have to run your business well to be a successful entrepreneur, but, what’s more important is that you run yourself so well that your business follows suit. In order to do that, you need some good habits that can seriously boost your chances of success.

Here are the 7 must have habits that most successful entrepreneurs have:

1. Mindfully Meditate Everyday for At least 10 Minutes

Tim Ferris, who has interviewed thousands of world-class performers and entrepreneurs, says that the most common practice of all world-class performers is mindfulness meditation. There are different types of meditation, and each serves its own function.

However, mindfulness meditation is meant for controlling your mind so as to be able to focus more intensely on the task at hand. Higher focus equals higher productivity and becoming more effective at whatever you do.

Working in a distracted state leads to substandard work and also takes up more time. If you want to be able to get in the zone like most top-notch entrepreneurs, you need to mindfully meditate.

Now, there are some caveats you need to be aware of before you begin:

Like medicine, mindfulness meditation has a minimum effective dose and that minimum is 10 continuous days for at least 10 minutes each day.Practice guided meditation before you try meditating on your own.

2. Read a Lot

Warren Buffett was once asked what the secret behind his wealth was. He pointed to a stack of books and said the secret was to read 500 pages like that everyday. Mark Cuban is also a voracious reader and spends almost 3 hours everyday reading in spite of being busy with his businesses. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg also read a book every week.

Now, I am not telling you to read so much everyday but at least make an effort to finish 2 books every month. This is a very common habit among the top-notch entrepreneurs and as Warren says, “knowledge builds up like compound interest.”

Also try not to read on any digital medium except that of Kindle. In spite of it being convenient to read on your phone or tab or laptop, these devices tend to distract us with their notifications and push us to other procrastinating habits.

“So please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” – Roald Dahl

3. Keep the Phone Away, aka take a Digital Detox EVERYDAY

With multi-national companies all vying for our attention, we need to learn to use our phones less everyday. While it can be extremely tempting to open your phone while you are waiting in line or are taking an Uber ride, you should resist and embrace the boredom. This has two effects:

It teaches you to sit through boring and monotonous tasks for longer periods of time and not get pulled away at the tiniest amount of distraction.It builds up your will-power and your discipline.

I see a lot of entrepreneurs try to do this and even successfully do this but they don’t build it into a habit. They do it once a week or once a month and think it will have a beneficial effect on their lives. Sadly, just like eating your vegetables once a week is a very stupid idea if you want to live a healthy life, taking a digital detox occasionally is useless.

4. Dump Coffee for Tea

Most Americans are heavy coffee consumers and can’t live their lives without coffee. But wait …The main ingredient behind coffee is caffeine which is a natural stimulant. If you take a stimulant regularly, your body adapts to the stimulant and you fail to get the benefits of coffee such as greater energy and focus which other non-regular drinkers get.

On the contrary, tea’s natural stimulant relaxes your body and enables you to put in more hours of work without the “crash” effect that coffee drinkers face. If you are up to the suggestion of making tea a part of your daily habits, I suggest you try out green tea which has 15% more caffeine than a cup of coffee. It also possesses l-theanine, which helps the consumer put in a greater state of focused awareness into his/her work.

But if you are a newbie tea drinker and can’t stand the taste of coffee (I don’t know how that’s possible though☹), try out flavored tea.

5. Sleep Around 8 Hours Daily

I think the most damaging piece of advice out there is sleep less and do more work. If you do that, all that’s going to happen is that you are going to wake up the next day feeling drowsy. The net result is that your productivity will suffer.

Also, the notion of early to bed and early to rise is not true as your biological clock may be differently tuned than that of others and your biological prime time may be late at night. However, don’t be too late to sleep as that hinders the DNA repair and as a side-effect your mental fatigue remains.

If you can’t get to sleep early, try to not use your phone or watch the TV or any sort of screen whatsoever, as the blue light can slow down your natural sleep cycle.

“It is a common experience that a problem difficult at night is resolved in the morning after the committee of sleep has worked on it.” – John Steinbeck

6. Take Cold Showers

You know what troubles most entrepreneurs? They’re good at planning yet it’s the execution part where almost all of them fall flat. It’s because the execution of ideas throws the harsh realities of the business world onto the face of the entrepreneurs, and they are forced to reconsider if they can actually ever succeed.

It is here that the winners get separated from the losers. And guess what separates them? Willpower. I have the best tactic to help you build it and it’s so simple too! Take cold showers early in the morning or late at night, when it is already chilled outside. If you live in a place that is hot, then this tactic may not have the intended effect on you.

However, try taking cold-showers in the winter. You will see that your brain makes all sorts of excuses so as to not go under the chilling water and if you succeed in pushing your brain to do the work, you will have succeeded. You are then, the master of your mind and not the other way around.

7. Plan and Review Daily

If you want to live a truly productive life and get things done instead of having a mounting pile of to-dos, you need to plan ahead. You need to divide your daily schedule into blocks of time and dedicate tasks to each block.

Parkinson’s Law states that the work we need to do stretches into the time we give ourselves to finish it. Therefore, if you need to get work done and don’t give yourself any time-limit or deadline, you will find your work stretching for enormous amounts of time and eating into the time reserved for other tasks.

However, when you first start planning, you will find most of your plans are utterly useless as most tasks will stretch far beyond the time you have allotted for them. This is where the second part comes along – which is to review the plans and reschedule them.

However, there is a particular style of reviewing and this is how you can go about it. First, you need to make a plan of what you intend to complete in a week and what you intend to complete in a day. Then, before going to bed every night, open your calendar and make a note regarding what you failed to complete today and how you will accommodate them into your weekly goals. This should be done before going to bed daily.

Now, it’s your turn. Share this post and spread the word. What’s the most important habit according to you? Do you have any such habits that you use? Let me know in the comments!

Read more: addicted2success.com

Happiness, success, and fulfillment have different interpretations around the world, yet they are all labels we wish to claim. When it comes to achieving our dreams, we’re our best friend and biggest critic.

Goals are naturally challenging; the last thing we want to do is hinder our efforts with harmful habits. Each time we starve off a negative habit, we allow more room to feed a positive one. Good or bad, habits are all around us. Habits influence our days, which then shape how we live our life.

Below, are 5 of the most common destructive habits and what you can do to reclaim your success once and for all:
1. Using electronics in bed

Problem: Using electronics in bed can be the most deceiving habit of all. It’s fun, addictive, and seems harmless. After all, we are all guilty of this from time to time. We should just consider this reasonable and brush it off, right? While this excuse feels good right now, the habit will make us feel worse in the long run. Our phones steal our rest at night, and attention in the morning.

Solution: Make your phone stay on the other side of the room. It’ll tempt you with notifications and endless entertainment, but you’re better than that. Declare your bed as a phone-free zone. Not only will this make you victorious, but you’ll reclaim time and energy as a result. By the time you greet your phone to mute the alarm, you’ll be up and ready to conquer the day.

2. Procrastinating

Problem: Everyone has a few dreadful tasks on their to-do list. We all have things we know must be done, but we don’t like to do them. When we put these tasks off, we’re letting fear and anxiety win the battle. In the meantime, our dreams, hopes, and ambitions are held hostage.

Solution: Isn’t life complicated enough without additional setbacks? Life is too short to procrastinate; get to work and make things happen. Start off small and build your way up. The first step is often the most intimidating. Get past step one, and the world is yours!

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln

3. Eating junk food

Problem: Our body needs food to nourish our cells and get the energy we need. When we think about how food helps compose our muscles and bones over time, the adage, “you are what you eat” doesn’t fall far from the truth. Junk food is convenient, but it’s ultimately junk. The only thing junk food gives us are problems down the road.

Solution: Do yourself a favor and eat healthy food to get the energy and vitamins you need. There are thousands of recipes online, so find recipes with healthy food you enjoy and start cooking. Start off with one healthy meal per day, and go from there.

4. Thinking negative thoughts

Problem: Food fuels our body and thoughts fuel our mind. The mind is our control center for life. If we feed ourselves negative thoughts, we’ll create negative beliefs as a result.

Solution: To be successful, we have to believe in ourselves. We need to change the way we think. If you wouldn’t mistreat a friend, why would you mistreat treat yourself that way? We are not our thoughts or our past. The future is a blank slate. Fill your mind with positive moments in the present moment to give yourself the best chance to lead a bright future.

5. Staying In our comfort zone

Problem: As infants, we always try new things and explore the world around us. Once we get older, our willingness to try new things and take new adventures begins to shrink. The fear of failure looms like a dark cloud, and we retreat to our comfort zones. Our comfort zone is safe, familiar, and where we feel best.

Solution: To become our best, we have to be willing to grow and try new things. We may embrace failure, but no one is born as an expert at anything. Even the best had to start off from scratch, just like you.

Over time, things that were once outside our comfort zone will become comfortable. This is a sign we are expanding our comfort zone, but we must do this repeatedly to grow.

We don’t have to do anything extreme to step outside our comfort zone. We hear stories about people making radical changes, like quitting their job or moving overseas. We can still step outside of our comfort zone by taking small steps forward. Talk to someone new. Take a new route to the store. Try new food. See how this feels, and imagine what other possibilities are out there.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” – Brian Tracy

Advice on your habit journey

As Elon Musk once said, “Constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.” When we apply this idea to every area of our lives, the possibilities are endless. These habits are a great way to reduce the chaos and self-sabotage in life, but it is by no means an exhaustive list.

We always need to determine what works, what doesn’t, and toss out the rest. Everyone is going to be different, so don’t be afraid to try different things and see what works best for you. Habits are powerful, use them wisely.

How do you make sure you maintain good habits? Share your thoughts with us below!

Read more: addicted2success.com

So, welcome to the first work day of 2019. By the time you read this, we may be into the third or fourth day or beyond, but as I write this, it’s January 2. And, by writing this, I am following through on one of the habits I set out for myself in my annual planning period between Thanksgiving and the end of the year. The particular habit I’m talking about is to write at least 500 words a day Monday through Friday in 2019.

Why am I setting that up as a habit for myself? It’s because I realized during my annual retreat with Diane (my all-star life and business partner) that I am better when I write regularly. (You can read our tips for how to do a great annual retreat here) I think more clearly and deeply. I’m more creative. I see patterns better. I learn more. I connect with more people more frequently. My 500 words can take the form of a blog post like this one. It could be an entry in my journal. It could be working on a longer essay or article or it could be taking notes as I brainstorm other ideas or projects.

Like a lot of people, I’m always looking for ways to manage myself more effectively (Manage Yourself is the first of three key leadership imperatives I address in the new 3rd edition of The Next Level.) With that in mind, some of the other habits I’m taking on this year include:

Reading more books: I’ve always been a voracious reader but I’ve noticed over the past couple of years that I’m spending too much time reading the news. That’s been a problem for a lot of us lately. It’s important to keep up with what’s going on but how much marginal value is there in reading four or five articles on the same story? Not much really. So, to make sure I read more books this year, I’ve set up a reading list (you can see it here) and a plan. All the books I’m going to read are already on my Kindle app (there’s a lot I’ve bought the past couple of years but haven’t read). That makes it easy for me to get in 15 to 30 minutes of reading time in between meetings wherever I am. I’m not going to read more than two books at a time. There will be a morning book and a rest of the day book. The morning book is to get me in the right frame of mind for the rest of the day. The rest of the day book is to expand my breadth. Using this method, I finished John Carreyrou’s award winning page turner, Bad Blood about the fraud that went on at the former Silicon Valley unicorn, Theranos. I’m about two-thirds of the way through the thought provoking Buddhism Without Beliefs as my morning book and just started Stan McChrystal’s Leaders: Myth and Reality as my rest of the day book last night. I’m loving this routine!

Getting More Cardio: If you’ve read my blog for awhile, you know that I’m pretty much an everyday yogi. I took up yoga a little over eight years ago to manage the effects of my multiple sclerosis. It’s done that and so much more. I’m probably as strong as I’ve ever been, my balance is great and I’ve made a lot of good friends as part of the deal. You don’t get a lot of cardio fitness with yoga though and as I ran for connecting flights a few times last year, I noticed I was getting overly gassed. I don’t run much for fitness anymore, so I’ve joined a gym close to where we live and have started taking bike, cross-fit and elevated treadmill classes three or so mornings a week. The trick I’ve found for sticking with it is when you sign up for a class on the gym’s app you can’t cancel it less than three hours before the class without endangering your right to continue to sign up for classes online. So, this morning I wasn’t exactly excited about getting out of bed at 6:30 am for a 7:00 am class but I sure wasn’t going to get up at 4:00 am to cancel it so I could sleep in! I’ve been doing this for a couple of months now and have yet to regret going to class. I’ve also noticed that I’m doing better when I have to break into an unexpected sprint!

Getting real about guitar: Last summer, I gave into my rock and roll dreams and bought a beautiful black Fender Stratocaster guitar. (It looks like the one that David Gilmour played in Pink Floyd but is not nearly as expensive.) My original plan was to teach myself how to play using the Fender Play app and I’ve completed two of the five levels of lessons in the app. The other thing I’ve been doing is randomly learning how to play different songs that pop into my head by finding an online video lesson of someone teaching you how to play that song. It’s been fun, but frankly I’ve been driving Diane crazy as I’ve been plunking stuff out on the guitar saying, “Listen to this. Recognize it?” The answer is usually, “Um, no.” The problem is I haven’t had a plan to really learn how to play. Everything was too random. Fortunately, there’s this wonderful Australian guy online named Justin Sandercoe who, for years, has been putting together an incredibly comprehensive set of videos and programs for learning to play guitar. I’m starting with the beginner level and am going to proceed step by step from there.

OK, I could go on, but what are the takeaways that might apply to you? There are a few principles at play in my habit examples that are helping me manage myself more effectively for 2019 that I think can help you too. Here they are:

Have a plan – You’re much more likely to build new habits if you have a plan. It could be a reading list, a well-designed instructional program or anything that creates a map for how you’re going to follow through.

Break it down – I love bite-size chunks. If you have a plan, there’s actually a lot you can do in 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes. Break your habit plan down into digestible bites.

Set some metrics – Write 500 words a day. Go to a cardio class 3 times a week. Have two books going at any given time. Those are all simple metrics that keep my habit goals in front of me. What are yours?

Make it easy  – My online buddy Justin makes it super easy to learn guitar. He’s available whenever I can fit him in and I don’t have to get in the car to go see him. Carrying my books around on my Kindle app makes it easy to read wherever I am without the extra 2 to 3 pounds of book in my backpack (which I don’t always carry with me anyway. I always carry my phone). Make following through on your habits as easy as possible.

Build in accountability – Make it hard to back out. Telling all of you what I’m doing with my habits this year is one way for me to do that. Signing up for an early morning class knowing that I won’t have the opportunity to cancel it is another. What kind of simple accountability processes can you create for yourself so you’re compelled to follow through on your habits?

So what habits are you intending to establish for yourself this year? What kinds of plans do you have for doing that? What’s working for you? I’d love to hear your ideas!

If you liked what you read here, subscribe here to get my latest ideas on how to lead and live at your best.

Read more: eblingroup.com

Reading over 70 business and self-help books, traveling all around Europe teaching people soft skills like storytelling and self-awareness, has shown me certain patterns on how to become great at anything. These things sometimes hide in plain sight but we are too distracted to see them. So we skip them, day-in and day-out we keep plowing through, not knowing if the things we are doing are making us any better.

That’s why I will share the patterns I learned on the ground through personal experience and from the best business and self-help books out there. If you follow these tips, success will take care of itself.

1. The Score will take care of itself

John Wooden is one of the most decorated trainers in the history of NCAA. He won 10 national championships in the span of 12 years, including seven in a row. The one thing he never mentioned was the score. He was all about the process.

Of course, everyone who played for him knew that they were playing basketball and that they wanted to win. But the focus was always on the process of playing the game as best as possible. He would often say that the score takes care of itself (a phrase which later described Bill Walsh, another great trainer).

When you create your goal, put it aside and focus on the process that will get you there. If you work the process, the score will literally take care of itself. You can do this through daily habits.

If there’s anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning.” – John Wooden

2. Be, don’t do

The change in your life doesn’t start with you doing something, it starts with your mindset. You first need to become that to be able to do that. Here is an example. If you are a smoker and you want to quit smoking, you will fail if you take the approach of “I am quitting cigars.”

This doesn’t make a fundamental shift in your personality. The actions that we do stem from the perception of who we are. So for us to change our actions, we need to first change our beliefs about that or we will inherently self-sabotage ourselves.

The proper way to deal with this is to say “I’m a non-smoker.” This changes your entire belief about yourself as a person. “I’m a healthy person” vs. “I am going to the gym”. “I’m a reader” vs “I read books”. The examples are endless.

3. You will not rise to the level of your expectations, but fall to the level of your practice

You know in action movies when the main character suddenly gets a power-up through yelling and screaming and comes through with an impossible action? Well, that’s a Hollywood movie. In real life, we do not rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our practice. So the more (and better) you practice, the better you will perform.

Break down the skill which you want to learn into small sub-sets of skills and learn each and every one of those. If you focus on those small parts and improve them, you will become better in the overall skill. This is called deliberate practice.

4. Play the long game

There is a quote by Charlie Munger which goes “No matter what you do, a woman still needs nine months to give birth to a child.” What this means is that sometimes things just need time to catch momentum and start working.

I ran a blog for two years already and it took me a year and a half to cross even 20,000 readers. But in the last six months, I did three times that. Most great things take time to start functioning properly. So prepare for the long game because the biggest returns come at the end of the line.

“I’m not concerned with noise because I’m playing the long game.” – Jay Z

5. Learn daily

If you want to make better decisions, live a more fulfilled life and stay relevant with your skills, you need to learn daily. What better way to do this than to read books and borrow the wisdom (and skills) of the masters that came before us.

There are plenty of mistakes I avoided because of books and plenty of great decisions that I made because of them. All of this comes from the habit of learning daily, a mere reading of 20 pages of a book a day. If you stay hungry for knowledge, you will become (and stay) great at anything you do.

Read more: addicted2success.com