Did you know that if you started each day 5 minutes earlier you would gain 150 extra minutes each month to get things done? That also adds up to over 30 hours of additional time over the course of a year to achieve your goals. If you have ever wondered what the secret is to success and staying ahead, this is a perfect example. In the words of American author Robert Collier, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
Most people understand that getting ahead takes an incredible amount of control, hard work and discipline. But the big questions is, how do you manage to stay ahead? The secret to getting ahead and staying there is your mindset. Successful people not only embrace a growth mindset, but they also preserve it by creating habits and an environment that allows it to flourish.
Below are 5 secrets of success that will help you get on the path to achieving your goals – and stay there.
1. They plan the minutes of their day
While it might sound obsessive initially, scheduling every minute of your day is one of the top things you should consider implementing if you want to get ahead. Scheduling each hour of your day ensures that you, not the circumstances around you, dictate how you spend your time. The idea is to create a schedule that is flexible enough to let you manage the unexpected, but rigid enough to ensure you never waste time wondering what you should tackle next. When every moment of the day is accounted for, it guarantees you are devoting your time to the things that drive progress.
As you design your schedule, take a look at every task you have written down. Ask yourself, “Are there tasks I could delegate, eliminate or reassign to ensure I function at my highest capacity?”. It is also important to fill your schedule with more than just meetings and projects; set aside time for brainstorming, planning, exercising and spending time with family. The goal is to use your schedule as a compass to not only keep you on track, but also free your mind of stress to enjoy family, friends and relaxation.
2. They manage stress through exercise
Most people share the ultimate goal of achieving a balanced life: time for work, relationships and relaxation, along with the ability to hold up under pressure and conquer challenges. This will be incredibly difficult to achieve, however, without first managing the stress in your life. Highly successful people have discovered the secret to breaking the hold stress has on their life, which allows them to live a happier, healthier and a more productive life – exercise.
Regardless of the type of exercise you choose, making a conscious effort to stay fit and healthy will improve both physical and mental agility. Some activities like mountain biking or weightlifting require focus and skill, which serve both as healthy distractions and physical training. Other hobbies like trail running or cycling can become a form of meditation and relaxation. All in all, managing stress through exercise can help increase performance, give you more enthusiasm for life and inspire you take the daily action necessary to achieve your goals.
3. They actively remove distractions
One of the biggest challenges today is isolating yourself from the noise, clutter and pressures of this fast-paced world we live in. From social media and music to emails and the latest news updates, these distractions seem relatively innocent at first glance. But they will cost you focus, concentration and productivity. According to a University of California Irvine study, it takes the average person more than 23 minutes to fully recover from a distraction and get back on task.
One of the secrets of highly successful people is that they actively work to remove distractions. With so much demanding your attention, how can you take back control of your time and reclaim your focus? Start by creating an environment that eliminates distractions, removes the temptation to be preoccupied and allows you to stay focused. Then identify the three most important things you need to accomplish that day; this will help you to not only work with greater intention, but your mind will also be less apt to wander.
4. They are mindful of who they spend their time with
In the words of motivational speaker Jim Rohn, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Highly successful people take this fact very seriously and only surround themselves with people who inspire, challenge and motivate them. If someone is not offering any benefit or supporting growth in their lives, they create distance from them. The majority of their time is spend with other positive, success-minded individuals.
The secret is to actively construct your social environment. Ask yourself, “Who do I spend the majority of my time with?” “Who do I admire the most in my life right now?” “Are these groups of people the same or completely different?”. If the answer is “no”, it is time to make some changes. When you find and focus on building relationships with positive, successful people, you cannot help but be inspired, invigorated and filled with new ideas. Surround yourself with people you admire – people who already are who want to become.
5. They do not believe failure is final
In his book Failing Forward, John Maxwell began by sharing the thesis that “All successful people have one characteristic which is different from others and that is how they respond to failure.” Highly successful people truly believe failure is never final. They recognize that failure is merely another way to begin again – but this time, armed with more information and experience to succeed. Success is not avoiding failure; it is accepting it, learning from it and moving forward.
So, how do you overcome failure? The key is to have fanatical discipline in keeping your values, purpose, vision and goals front and center in your life. When things start to go wrong and doubt creeps in, this discipline will help you view failure as a setback, shake off the dust, and try again. With the right mindset and desire to improve, you will learn from each failure and continue to become a better version of yourself.
Highly successful people manage to stay ahead because they know what really matters, and more importantly, what does not. They know what works, what to avoid and what is worth focusing their time on. They know which relationships to nurture and which ones they should let go of. To become your best self, achieve success and stay there, it all starts with adopting good habits, controlling your environment and surrounding yourself with the right people.