Some people enjoy an upbringing or genetics that makes them predisposed to success, but that only explains a small part of their success. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, associate director for the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia Science Center, successful people do things differently.
In summary, her nine points are:
- They get specific. When setting goals, successful people create specific, tangible goals. For example, rather than saying “I’d like to lose some weight” their goal would be “I want to lose 5 kilograms by the end of the year.”
- They seize the moment. Rather than hoping to get time to pursue their goals, they make the time. Exercising at a specific time of the day and on specific days is a great start. Alternately, you could use an if-then model. If you see stairs next to an elevator, take the stairs.
- Know how far you have left to go. Successful people monitor their progress. They know what they’ve achieved and what they still have to do.
- Be a realistic optimist. Successful people are usually optimistic but they’re also realists. They set goals that are achievable and that take into account the obstacles that might be faced.
- Focus on getting better, rather than good. Successful people focus on improving themselves not on proving themselves. They believe that improvement is possible and that the ingredients for success aren’t predetermined by genetics or upbringing.
- They have grit. Successful people are more likely to persist in the face of adversity. They don’t stop simply because things get tough. The flip side to this is that people who lack grit often lack belief in their own abilities, and that’s something that can be changed.
- They build their willpower muscle. Successful people work on improving their willpower. To develop more willpower start with a small habit and resist the urge to quit. Keep it up until you’ve broken or created the habit then move on to something bigger. I have cold showers and have done so since May 10, 2008.
- Don’t tempt fate. Successful people know how far they can stretch their willpower and they avoid the temptation to make unrealistic willpower goals. Once they’ve made a goal they have the self-awareness to avoid situations that create unnecessary temptation.
- Focus on what you will do, not on what you won’t do. Successful people express their goals in the positive. “I want to lose 5 kilograms” becomes, “My waist will be [fill in the measurement] by the end of the year.”
Share your best tip for creating more success in the comments below.