One of the worst things you can do towards your own success is let your behaviors and environment control you so you slowly drift into worse habits.
It’s dangerous because it happens so slowly over time that you don’t realize it.
This gradual process is what can bring you to eat junk food that destroys your health, become really lazy, become very unproductive, and push you incredibly far away from your goals to the point of never achieving them.
I have poured over the scientific research on what you can do to optimize your life and body for peak performance.
I combined this with extensive research across thousands of interviews of the world’s most successful, top-performing individuals.
I wanted to share with you the top 5 things you can do immediately to radically change the course of your like and increase your chance of succeeding.
Here are some of my favorite habits. I try to chain each to a trigger that I do already, like getting out of bed, brushing my teeth, or getting off from work to create a habit stacking routine.
1. Exercise daily.
This seems obvious but there’s so much more to it. I would not be making such an effort to exercise if I didn’t know the science behind its deep importance. That is what I want to tell you today.
Exercise has been shown to increase your levels of success in multiple areas of your life. Studies show that habitual, consistent exercise increases your level of happiness, reduces depression, reduces stress, increases your well-being, makes you more focused, makes you more productive, and gives you more energy.
Exercise has also been shown to be a keystone habit that is crucial to building habits. What does this mean? It means that if you can make exercise a habit, it will make it much easier to build a lot of other great habits.
Before you jump to conclusions, I will admit that not everyone successful billionaire meditates. Richard Branson has admitted in a recent LinkedIn article that he does not meditate.
However, I have found a surprisingly large amount of people who meditate throughout studying thousands of the world’s peak performers.
There is a definite correlation of some type here. In fact, I’m constantly surprised when I find out more and more who do this every day. This list of people include: Robert Downey Jr., Ellen, Oprah Winfrey, Adam Levine, and more.
It’s crazy how many Western people have adopted this despite it being an Eastern practice. Coincidence?
The billionaire Ray Dalio credits meditation as his greatest investment on a daily basis. There’s actually a lot of science behind why meditation works. It helps clear your brain and actually creates physical structural changes that help you make more reasonable decisions in times of emotion. It helps disconnect emotion from reason when you need to most and it decreases your blood pressure.
3. Sleep More
There’s been decades of research on the benefits of sleep yet modern society has told everyone to work as hard as possible to succeed.
The average person thinks he or she works hard, when in reality you can catch them wasting 20+ hours a week on unproductive tasks. On top of that, they sacrifice a couple hours on their sleep from time to time to “get ahead.”
I’m not saying working harder and longer doesn’t help increase your chance of success. However, you get diminishing returns until the point of acting like you are drunk when you reduce your sleep.
If working harder is not working and sleeping less is not working, you should cut back a bit on how much you’re cuttting out and look to other ways of increasing your success, such as working smarter and focusing on the right things.
Elon Musk and Will Smith have worked 80+ hour weeks to get ahead in their careers. Yes, they credit working hard to their success. However, it’s one of the most over-done well-known concepts of success in the modern world and there’s an overboard level, which can bring negative results.
There’s hundreds of studies on the diminishing and negative results of lack of sleep. Henry Ford, decades ago, found through experiments that a 40 hour work week ended up getting the most work out of his employees rather than working them to death.
4. Write Down Your Goals
Most successful people have a daily goal-setting and/or checklist system to keep focused and on track, usually with a paper and pen. Some do it twice or more a day.
It’s rather crazy that most people don’t do this at all. They’ve gone years without writing their goals.
When you start doing this, you’ll realize how off-track you get on a daily and weekly basis. Writing these down will help you re-align yourself to your main purpose. It also helps you check to see if tasks are worth the time.
5. Visualize Your Success
The billionaire Bill Bartmann talked about how he visualized living in mansions by going to open houses with his girlfriend even when they were poor.
The author Robert Kiyosaki put a picture of his wife in front of his treadmill to motivate him as he worked out.
Brian Tracy and Jim Carey went around fancy neighborhoods and pretended that they owned a house there back when they were dirt poor.
Your subconscious brain is an important part of your brain. Programming it so that you think, feel, and believe you are rich will help you act in an abundance mindset. It will help you think bigger and do bigger things that will lead to more wealth.
Rather than scraping by and trying to steal just to survive, your abundance mindset will make you think of “how can I impact the world on a bigger level?” This will help you do bigger things that create this wealth.
There are a few key foundational habits of success that are critical to optimal performance.
I’ve looked at a lot of science and literature on the topic. I’ve observed hundreds of millionaires and dozens of billionaires emphasize this, if not more.
Here they are. I try to do these every day:
- Sleep at least 8 hours a day. Ideally, sleep until I wake up naturally without an alarm clock (usually 10 to 11 hours for me. You may be luckier and you can do this with less. Don’t cheat yourself)
- Exercise daily for at least 20 minutes of aerobic exercise that puts me above 60% of my maximum heart rate. Ideally, 30 to 45 minutes a day.
- Meditation for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day.
- Eat and drink healthy foods. Eat the right stuff and all the wrong stuff (fried foods, soda, and caffeine)
- Goal setting (writing down the goals on paper) at least twice a day using the Napoleon Hill model
This seems simple.
I’ve intentionally not elaborated in detail because I just wanted to show you how simple it is. There are countless blogs, books, and websites that go into detail about nutrition and how to specifically do these things for you.
You’ll be surprised by how simple these things are and you might be confused or shocked.
Shouldn’t it be some great business secret? Some mindset hack? A few life hacks? Any of the productivity things you’ve discovered?
Some of those things help, but those things I just mentioned are the foundational pillars to peak performance. Each investment I make in each of those is paying out many times over in my happiness, energy, productivity, focus, and so on.
Why do they work?
- Although it’s a bit obvious, most people don’t do these, especially not consistently. Modern society has been brainwashed to work 90+ hours a week and focus on reducing sleep as much as possible. If you Google “Why am I…”, the first suggested autocomplete option is “Why am I so tired?”
- There is decades of science on thousands of patients on this stuff. I’ve looked at a lot of it. It is clear as day that daily aerobic exercise is the #1 thing you should do, even before strength training. It increases your lifespan, makes you look better, makes you more fit, increases your energy, and so on. There are similar studies with sleep, nutrition, goal-setting, and meditation.
- A ton of successful people have come out to mention the importance of these things and/or a surprisingly large number practice these things. Here are a few examples: Ariana Huffington released a book about it called The Sleep Revolution, the multi-millionaire Brendon Burchard has emphasized it, the billionaire Sheryl Sandberg has talked about it, and the youngest billionaire in history, Dustin Mokovitz, has emphasized sleep and nutrition.
If I had to sacrifice one of these principles, it would be sleep. There is no way I would sacrifice nutrition or exercise. We all have to eat so there is usually no need to.
Why sleep? Because I cannot deny that outworking other people increases your chance of success. If you have a strong work ethic and are willing to work 2 times or 3 times as hard as your competitors, you’re getting more work done than they do constantly.
Take a look at these videos of successful people who highlight hard work as their key to success:
Before you go off killing yourself and your sleep by working really hard, make sure you work smart first.
So many people fail or do less than they can by compensating or showboating the fact that they work hard. Do not work hard for the sake of working hard or to show off to other people that you worked 23 hours that day and are living off 1 hour of sleep. Most people won’t admit this, but deep down at least 5% of the reason they’re doing it is for this reason.
As some of the smartest, most efficient, and successful people tell me, work smarter, not just harder.
Almost at every level of income from minimal wage to billions of dollars, there are people working 12 to 18 hour days. Yet how come the minimal wage people stay there?
Because, as I said, they’re not working smarter. Maybe you can even find a healthy medium and get more work done in a fraction of the time so that you can have a full night’s sleep, get more done, and even have a little free time left over to do what you want.
Rather than being a mindless fool and doing work, think of how you can do it smarter so that you can achieve the same result with less effort.
I recently heard a saying from a man that said “the most successful people are the laziest.” I don’t like the saying, but the point I got out of it that was partially implied by him was that people have gotten wealthy and successful through the history of mankind by creating systems, businesses, or products that made life easier for the masses so that everyone could achieve the same results with less effort and be lazier.
The point is that rather than mindlessly spending 18 hours to gather firewood to create a fire to cook your meat, you could be like the first person who invented the microwave.
Rather than spending 13 hours mindlessly “hustling” as a cashier at a grocery store, you can work 8 hours a day and spend 3 hours a day on your side business that has dramatic upside potential to make you a lot more than you could ever make from your grocery store.
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