How to Cultivate the Habits of Top Performers

Mar 11, 2016 3:07 PM

In January, I published a series of Tip of the Week blog posts focused on increasing productivity to grow your business. I wrote about how to eliminate distractions, how to focus on the big things, how to manage your to-do list, and why done is better than perfect. But there are many more tactics that I couldn't fit within those four posts. Today, I want to discuss the additional habits that you can cultivate to be a top performer.


You've probably heard this one many times before, and there's a reason for it. Exercising is a great way to stay active and keep your mind sharp. Maybe exercising doesn't seem important to you, or perhaps you don't have the time or the energy. I know how you feel. I've been there before.

In the past, exercising wasn't important to me. I was young and didn't need to lose weight, so working out seemed entirely unnecessary. But a couple years ago, I decided to put a bigger focus on my physical health. It was hard at first, especially since I was going to the gym in the evening. I would say to myself, "I need to work out tonight." But I rarely followed through. After spending a long day at work, the last thing I wanted to do was go to the gym.

Once I moved my workout routine to the morning, everything changed. I made a commitment to get to the gym 4 time a week, and it was easier to follow through if I did it first thing in the morning. Now, I can't imagine NOT exercising. I really enjoy my time at the gym, and I have more energy to stay on task the rest of the day.

Avoid Screens in the Morning

I know how easy it can be to wake up and immediately reach for your phone to check emails and social media. I use my phone as my alarm, so it's already in my hand when I get up. But what good can come from checking email first thing in the morning? More often than not, I get stressed out and start worrying about everything I needed to do that day. You've probably experienced this too. Do you think this is a good way to start a productive day? Probably not.

Instead, give yourself time to wake up and get in the right mental state before getting online. Which brings me to my next point...


I know what you're thinking. "Meditation? Like those monks in monasteries that sit cross-legged and think about world peace all day?" Okay, this may not be the exact image that popped into your head. But let's face it; meditation is a loaded word that comes with a lot of stigmas. I certainly had my own preconceived notions about it. But this practice is not as "out there" as you might imagine. There are several kinds of meditation, but simply, it comes down to learning mindfulness. It teaches you how to bring back your focus when your mind wanders.

A lot of the highest performers in just about every field have some sort of meditation routine. Morning meditation can give you perspective, put you in the right mental state, increase your productivity, and make you happier. The best part? It only takes a few minutes. Seriously. For an easy introduction, download the app Headspace. It provides an initial free guided meditation series, and each day only requires 10 minutes. I started with this app recently, and I've seen a significant impact on my mental state and focus levels.

Build Good Habits, and Remove Bad Ones

Everything in this blog post (and the previous posts) is about building on habits that will grow your business. But beyond these big things, we all have other bad habits we want to remove or different new habits we want to build. As is expected, there are a ton of apps to help with this endeavor. One in particular that I've found is Way of Life. The app is really easy to use. It has a visual chart system to see how you're doing with various habits over time. And it has built-in sharing capabilities if you want others to keep you accountable.


These are all great habits that can help your business and personal life but don't start them all at once. Habits are more likely to stick if you start small and add or remove them one at a time. For example, let's assume you want to start exercising. If you go all in and try going to the gym 6 times per week, you're likely to fizzle out before long. Instead, maybe go once a week. Then build on that over time so you can internalize the habit and start enjoying it.

This is not an exhaustive list of positive habits. Rather, it's a selection of important habits and routines that are practiced by some of the most successful people in the world. If you can implement one or more of these over time, you might find improved productivity.

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