Habits are the formula for success. Habits make people's characteristics and define people who they are. If you want to change your life, as a first thing you have to work on your habits. 

Every successful individual is different and so their success stories. Following their footprint may not be a good practice to be successful but identifying the pattern among them and following that pattern may help you to achieve your goals (Thanks Morgan Housel for this wisdom). When we try to identify these patterns among the successful people, most of them have some habits which helps them in their success stories. 

Here I have consolidated 13 habits of successful people. If you can adopt as much as possible from the list, you can truly see the change in your life. Without further delay, lets see them.

13 Amazing Habits of Successful People

1. Early Birds

Many successful people are having the habit of rising early. Not all the people who raise early are successful, but most of the successful people raise early and start their morning routines. Rising early in the morning has its own benefits. When you wake up in the morning early, that is your first victory, you have managed to score the first goal and it will give you a satisfaction in the morning. 

Another psychological fact is, early risers will have a pride on that and it will boost their self esteem level. And you will have enough time to plan, workout and organize for the day. It means you are already ahead of the world of commoners, you started your day as an achiever.

(Checkout my article to know more about my thoughts on getting up early)

2. Take care of your Mind

Taking care of mind is another common habit between successful people. Let it be doing meditation or practicing Mindfulness, they spend sometime to reboot their mind. A clear, focused mind is an important key to success. You cannot achieve anything with a cluttered, unfocused mind. They have clear goals in mind and not letting anything spoil it. 

They are aware and trained their mind that sometimes plans won't work out, uncertain things will happen but its just another day and not the end of the  world. As Napoleon the Great said, "A Genius is the man who can do average thing when all around him are going crazy". So train your mind to be calm and take care of your mental health.

3. Health is Wealth

Whatever you want to do, body is an important instrument. Successful people realize that and they take care of their body very well. Yoga, Exercise, Meditation, Healthy Diets and enough sleep, they integrate something in their life style to make sure their body is in good condition. Stay healthy and fit to get more energy and you can achieve more. 

4. Read Read Read

Successful people know that learning is a continuous process and should not be stopped. Ordinary people tend to think that the learning process is over once graduated or settled with a job. That is where successful people distinguish themselves from the crowd. They never stop the learning process and not only limited to their reading to their job interests. In a world, where ideas are respetced much, knowledge in various fields gives you an edge over others. When asked how he learned to build rockets, Elon Musk answered as 'I read Books'. What a powerful answer!!! So if you want to do something others think impossible, read a lot. You won't know where you can get an idea to connect the dots.

5. Focused Thinking

When hearing this term, most people will think, its just another word for mind related thing. No, its not. Focused thinking means knowing what one really wants and concentrate on that one goal. One of the common behaviour of successful people are, they know what they want and they work towards it one step at a time. As quoted by David Allen "You can do anything but not everything". Knowing what not to do is equally important as knowing what to do. People who wander between multiple targets wont complete any of them. To be successful, set your target and focus yourself to that single target.

6. Pursue your own goal

Successful people get inspired by others but pave their own path. As we discussed in the Intro, everyone's situations are different and one's solution may not be applicable to others. So they choose and chase their own goal instead of copying others. Think what is good for you, what is your strength, set your own goal, and pursue it.  

7. A minute saved is a minute earned

Another trait of successful people is, Quality Time Management. People who effectively manage their time, get the best of theirselves everyday. The achievers know this and plan what to do, what can wait and what should be delegated. People who knows this formula, make their time for themselves first and people who don't, spend their time for other's works. You need not to be selfish, but must have a clarity of what is important for you and what can wait. Even the wealthiest person in this world can't buy an extra minute for himself and that is why time is valued more than money, "A minute saved is a minute earned".

8. Positive attitude

Having a positive attitude is a characteristic of many achievers or we can tell that people with positive attitude achieve more. Yes, its not one of the habits, but it is the most important character to be successful. Because Positive Attitude helps people to look the problems as a growing opportunity. Hunger is painful but it is an indication that we need fuel to energize our body and if we start to ask, why we need to energize? Because our body is growing. Problems are like hunger. Positive people saw the result of it as it is needed for the body growth and negative people saw it as a pain. The perception differs because of the attitude. If you want to grow in life, change your perception.

9. Networking

Networking is one of the skill many successful people develop. Networking is gaining relationship with mutual benefits. There is a proverb "If you want to go fast go alone. If you want go long, go as a crowd". If you help people, people will help you and the benefits of growing together is, as the network grow, the growth will be exponential. Concentrate on your network if you want to grow large.

10. Practice Gratitude

Be grateful and thank others, is the mantra of many successful people. There are researches stating that grateful people often have less stress compared to others. There are excercises like writing down 3 grateful things on a daily basis boost one's happiness and make them optimistic. It is one of the easiest way to become positive. "Wahei Takeda" is a great example of how gratitude makes a person more positive and help in Maro-up(a concept of having pure heart). He is called as "Warren Buffet of Japan" and strongly believed that gratitude helps us to purify our heart and it attracts success.  

Opportunities, relationships, even money flowed my way when I learned to be grateful no matter what happened in my life. - Oprah Winfrey.

11. Grab the opportunity

Being positive and being grateful may create opportunities. But one should be always ready to grab them when they appear. Successful people always look for opportunities even in worst situation. When most people struck by the fear of market crash in 2008, Warren Buffet made billions from the crash. What others saw was a problem, what he saw was an opportunity. Opportunities will be presented infront of you, all you need is to grab it without fear or hesitation; Sieze the opportunity.

12. Comfort Zone Pit

People who doesn't want to spend their entire life in a small pit called comfort zone, achieve more. Comfort Zone is a place where you feel settled, relaxed and not stretching much. Sounds Good. right? But it silently kills your skills and make you as it's slave for life long. To achieve real growth, your potentials should be tested again and again, you have to learn something new to cross the barricades in your life. That is not going to happen in the comfort zone. If you want to grow, get out of your comfort zone, learn something new, try something you fear and grow.

13. Unplug

When fed more than what we need, we find it difficult to digest, whatever it is. Social Media, Data, Advices, even motivational stuffs, if we get more than we need, we feel stressed. So unplug yourself often. You have so much data and you already know most of the things. Go for an outing, be away from the digital world, even if you want, don't read anything, give sometime to digest the things you already have it in your mind. Best way to unplug is a morning walk without any gadgets in a park where you can connect yourself with a nature. You can find your own way to unplug, but do it regularly. When you return, you will feel a surge of energy inside you.

"We make our habits and then our habits make us." - Dryden

 So choose your habits carefully and Learn the good ones.

"Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links. means I get a commission if you purchase through my links without any additional cost to you."

Books are considered as a portal to another world. We not only read, but live and get some experience from every book. With every book we read, we are imparted with some knowledge and leaves an impact in our life. 

So, as a try, I am reviewing the books which I enjoyed or I think which will be helpful. I hope you guys will also enjoy these books. 

Recently I have read "You, Only Better" by Nicholas Bate. I have read many Self Development books, but this one is surely different from others. His style of writing, the practical approach and of course the hand drawn  illustrations are really awesome. 

The core of this book is not 'how to do things'. Unlike other books, he explains 'How to do right things' in this book 'You, Only Better'. He explains about different aspects in our life, which are all important and teach us how to improve ourselves in all of them. 

I don't want to give any spoilers but will give a glimpse of what is covered in this book.

What you can get from this book "You, Only Better"?

Nicholas Bate explains how you can excel in different aspects of your life and have a wonderful work-life balance. He gives various illustrations, all are hand written to explain his concepts. He also explains how you can increase your productivity, how to set you goals and achieve them.

What I liked?

I liked the narration and the way he organized the topics. Every chapter is built on the previous one. And while reading these kind of books, some of us will have our own set of questions. So he explained the concepts using examples and even tried to answer some logical questions, which we may have, at the end of each chapter, which is really awesome. Its kind of FAQ. 

I hope this much is enough and I will let you get your answers and experience directly from "You, Only Better" and Nicholas Bate. You can get the book from below link,

Hope you will enjoy the book and share your thoughts with me.

A simple Personal Development Plan Guide,

Contents:

What is Personal Development?

Why Personal Development is needed?

How to work on Personal Development?

What is a Personal Development Plan?

The Simple Plan

    1. Get a clear vision

    2. Set a Goal

    3. SWOT Analysis

    4. Create a Plan

    5. Execution

Conclusion

References

Personal Development is a continuous process. Everyone wants to grow in their personal or professional life. But are we equipped to develop ourselves? That's a million dollar question. In this article we will see in detail about Personal Development and How to create a Personal Development Plan.

What is Personal Development?

The primary aim of our life is development. There is a quote "If you don't grow, you deteriorate". It is true for both Physical and Mental development. It is even scientifically proven that we start to shrink if our growth is stopped. 

Personal Development is defined as the process of continuously enhancing once capabilities to achieve the maximum they can. It can be Skill development, Career development, Physical health or Fitness improvements, gaining Self awareness/Self-knowledge, Creating wealth and good Life Style and Improving relations (Checkout my post on the multiple stages in developing a skill).

In simple, Personal Development is improving our life and achieving a goal we think important to our life. But it will be a life long process. 

Why Personal Development is needed?

Many people created many ideas on Personal Development. One of the most famous ideology is Maslow's hierarchy of needs. In his idea, he mentioned people wants to satisfy their needs and its starts from basic physical needs to Self-Actualization. Self-Actualization is a level in which a human achieved his/her highest possible potentials. So everyone of us are consciously or unconsciously trying to achieve the higher levels in the Maslow Pyramid. 

Let it be a promotion in office, achieving a stardom or getting success in business, we want to upskill ourselves to match with our expectation. Personal Development is helping us to achieve our goals and get the output we want.

How to work on Personal Development?

The Personal Development starts with a clear vision. You need to identify what you want to become and where you want to go in a long run. Identifying your passion and strength is the first step in Personal Development. If you don't know where you want to go, you will wander and end up in nowhere. If you want be a fittest person but you don't care about your lifestyle, it is not gonna change anything in your life. A person wants to become an actor but doesn't sharpen his acting skills is just a dreamer. There are various steps in Personal Development and a plan drafted to incorporate the personal development is a "Personal Development Plan". Personal Development Plan need to be smart and actionable to achieve your goals.

What is a Personal Development Plan?

It is a precise plan for an individual to achieve a Goal. The Goal may differ but we can have a simple plan which we can redefine for each of our goals. Lets see that simple plan,

The Simple Plan:

1. Get a clear vision:

The first step of any Personal Development Plan is to identify our vision. It should be precise and tell you what you want to become and where you want to go. You are going to plan according to your vision. So it should be definite, precise and well built. Any changes in your vision may cause delays or failures in achieving your goal. 

How to get a clear vision?

You may have multiple visions. Write down all of them. Filter the most important goal to you which you think may have impact in your life. 

You may be working as a manager in an office and want to become a VP or get a promotion. Also you may have interest in playing instruments and want to become a musician. Now you have two paths. Write both of them and validate which one you want most.

2. Set a Goal:

Now we have a clear vision of what we want to become. The Next step is setting a Goal to attain the vision. When a vision is defined within a time limit, it becomes Goal. In general definition, A Goal is something we create with a bounded time so we can pursue. Goals should be specific and definite. 

How to set a Goal?

In the example we saw in vision, lets take one path. if some one is a manager and wants to become a VP. Now he/she need to give a bounded time to set a goal. Lets say, he/she wants to become a VP in 5 years from now. 

Now, It is a Goal to pursue "I want to become VP in 5 years". 

I would suggest you to take a notebook and write down your Goal. Writing the Goal and seeing it every time gives you an urge to pursue. 

(Checkout my post of SMART Goal Setting)

3. SWOT Analysis:

Once you have a Goal, you can start working on it. But how to start and where to start? 

Before starting anything you have to do a self analysis. There are so many methods to do self analysis. Here lets take one of the simplest, SWOT analysis.

S - Strength, W - Weakness, O - Opportunities, T - Threats


Personal Development Plan: SWOT Analysis
Personal Development Plan: Swot Analysis, Image Courtesy: Xhienne, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

How to do SWOT analysis?

Note down you Strengths and Weakness. Keep in mind, you are doing this for your own good and no one is going to judge you. So be true to yourself and write down all your Strengths and Weakness. All of your knowledge you gained so far may help you at any point of time. So don't neglect any points. 

You have your strengths and weakness. Now its time to find out what are the opportunities you have and what are the threats you have to face. 

Incase of our previous scenario, a person wants to become a VP in 5 years, he/she may have opportunities like, rapidly expanding market with a good exposure, benefits of online business hours to upskill, A good rapport with the upper management who can help to mentor and guide them in the process. Threats may be, competition in the work environment, unable to identify a replacement for current position. 

4. Create a Plan

Once you are done with the SWOT, you have data on what you are lacking and which grey area you have to concentrate. It is time to concentrate on your weakness to overcome them. By overcoming your weakness, you are making yourself more eligible for your goal. Your goal may need multiple skillsets and qualities. You may need to enhance in multiple areas and start to wonder "How I am going to do that?". The answer is proper planning. 

The Goal may be big(It should be Big) but what leads to our goal is our daily routine. To get good results, we need to change our daily routine. How to change it? We have to create a process to follow and have to stick to it. The process should align with our Goal. A proper plan will define our daily process and lead us to our Goal.

How to create a proper plan?

You Goal is big and you know what you want to do from the SWOT analysis, to achieve your goal. Now write down your action plan in the notebook. You have to achieve your goal in 5 years. Lets split it into 5, 1 year plans. 

Make a note of what you want to achieve in the next one year that can lead you towards your goal. Further split them into 12 months plan and then into week. When you have a week plan in hand, now plan for everyday for the next week. 

Make a list of tasks you want to do in the coming week. Mark them which one is important/need immediate attention and which one can be done later.

Some tasks need to be done immediately, but some can be done later, Some tasks, you can delegate. How to identify which one is important and which one is not? 

There is a rule called 80/20 rule. It states that our 20% of tasks lead us to the 80% of our results and remaining 80% are only contributing to 20%. You primary task is to identify that 20% which is contributing more to your result. Make them your priority and prepare a plan to do them first. Include the non important tasks only after important tasks and whatever can be delegated should be delegated. No use for you to do them on your own.

Now we have a plan ready for tomorrow and for an entire week. A main important task to be added to your list is, review and retrospect your plans on daily/weekly/monthly/yearly basis. We define the plan, and we can also change them according to the circumstances. No plan is foolproof. In the execution, we will see how and why to review and retrospect.

(Checkout my post on Planning and Target Setting)

5. Execution:

It is the most important step in the Personal Development Plan. Because in a self development, the most important part is, consistency. Planning for daily but executing once in a week or once in a month is not going to help. On daily basis, you have to review the tasks, execute and retrospect them. 

Lets assume that you have prepared a task list with the of the important tasks. Review them and sort them from urgent to not urgent, which one needs to be done first and which one can wait. Once sorted, start completing them one by one. Some tasks may be rough and make you tired. But keep in mind, your are doing them to better yourself. 

Once all are done or at least most of them are done, retrospect the tasks. Ask these below questions with the task list in your hand,

1. Have I completed all my today's tasks which can contribute to my goal?

2. What went wrong, what can be done better, what have I missed in the planning phase and how to include it in the future task lists? 

3. If something important is missed, why? and how to fix it in future? 

4. Have I atleast made a small progress to achieve my Goal?

5. Is it okay to keep the same plan or it needs any changes?

The first question is to review your task completion and it will give a fine satisfaction if you have completed all your tasks. Be Happy that you have conquered the day, if you completed.

In Paper, we can plan well, but in reality, we may face issues. The second question will give an idea about the difficulties in the real world. It is useful in checking the real world issues and correct the plan accordingly. 

For example, a delivery person may set a target of 100 deliveries in a day without considering distance and traffic parameters. While executing he may faced difficulties but can change his targets according to the real world data in future.

The third question is about wrong categorization of the tasks. we might have tagged a task as not urgent but it may become urgent but we might have missed it. Using the third question, we review the task list and make changes in the tagging so we may not miss important tasks in future.

The fourth question is to check whether the completed tasks contributed anything to your goal? It is to check regularly whether our task list is alive or not. There are so many changes that are forced on us either internally or externally. At one point of time, if our task list becomes obsolete, then there is no use in following them. We have to constantly check whether our daily tasks are in align with our Goal. 

Depends on the above questions, we have to take decision whether any changes needed in our plan or it is good to proceed with the existing one. There is nothing wrong in changing a plan to align with our goal and it is called improvising.

Conclusion:

One may have multiple needs and have multiple Goals. Don't set multiple plans and execute them at the same time. We are restricted by time and energy. So do "One at a time". Target one important Goal at a time and that focus may help you to achieve what you want quicker than expected. 

Since we have mentioned a 5 year example, it doesn't mean that Personal Development is time bounded. Personal Development plan can be time bounded as we associate it with a Goal, but Personal Development is a continuous process which is a life long one. In every field, excellence will happen as long as you are ready to excel more.

I hope this article give you an idea about "How to create a simple Personal Development Plan" and execute it. 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_development

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SWOT_analysis

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maslow%27s_hierarchy_of_needs


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Effective Time Management in the path to success

As a revisit, lets see the steps in the Path to Success,

1. Belief

2. Setting Goal

3. Targets

4. Time Management

In our last post in the series, we saw about Setting Targets. Lets see how to prioritize the targets and achieve what we want. 

There is a saying "When we correctly plan, we achieve 50% of what we intent to do". But the real success is in achieving the remaining 50%. 

We have created our Goal and set the targets. In ideal scenario, the next steps are completing the targets and achieving the Goal. But, in real world, you cannot simply do it. 

When you have the Todo list for a day in handy and intent to do it, you may find a large number of additional tasks pouring in or some of the tasks in our list may sound boring or tough to do. The real journey to success begins here, when you resist your mind to skip the unimportant tasks and face the important ones. 

Lets see how to accomplish that.

Time Management:

One common thing among all successful people are, all of them are good at Time Management. They spend time wisely and in organized manner. They expect the best but prepare for the worst.

Path to Success - Time Management
Credit: Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

What is Time Management?

Everyone of us are having 24 hours a day. Not even the world's wealthiest man can buy an additional minute. But the secret of success lies in how we utilize our time. 

Am I organized? Have I prioritized my tasks? Do I know what I am really doing? - These are some of the basic questions we have to ask ourselves to avoid wasting time. 

In simple worlds, spending quality time and getting more results in less time in a day is considered good time management.

How to do Time Management?

The Pareto principle, also known as 80/20 rule suggests, our 20% of work is the cause of our 80% results. The remaining 80% work is only contributing to our 20% of results. 

Our real success is in identifying which 20% of our tasks are contributing to our 80% of success and completing them without fail. One thing about time management is, we are never going to caught up with all the tasks in our hand. There will always be rescheduling/delegation of work. So a smart person will do the tasks from the important 20% first.

How to identify my important 20%?

Take your todo list. For every task in your list, ask these questions to yourself,

Is this going to help achieve my Goal?

What will be the impact of this task to my Goal?

Is it possible to delegate this work to someone or Am I the only one can do it?

Is it need to be done today or can be done tomorrow?

Make sure you take the consistency as a parameter before answering these questions. because if you intention is to lose weight but you are skipping workout, that doesn't help you to achieve your Goal.

After answering these questions, you will have a clarity on the tasks in your list and now you are good to prioritize them depends upon your need.

There is a way I used to follow. Think yourself as a third person and prioritize the tasks for a day. When prioritizing your tasks, do them if you are doing it for your close friend whom you want to achieve the goal. In this method, you will detach yourself with the emotions and only concentrate on what is important to achieve and what is not.  

Once you prioritize, always do the toughest but important task at first in the start of your day. If you can atleast complete the first 3 toughest and important tasks each day, you can congratulate yourself for your progress. You will be amazed when you see the results in long run. 

If you are reading this post till last, I hope you are really working towards yourself in the path of success and to add something of value, I would suggest you to read the book "Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time" by Brian Tracy (I am not paid but inspired by him 😊). 

I hope this post helps you to understand the importance of Time Management. Feel free to post you comments and take a look at the other posts in this series.

As a recap, lets see the steps in the Path to Success,

1. Belief

2. Setting Goal

3. Targets

4. Time Management

In our last posts in this series, we have seen, How a belief can change our life and How to set a Goal. In this one, lets see about Targets and how it will help us to achieve our goal.

What is a Target?

When we define our Goal as our long-term vision with a definite date, Targets are tangible, actionable items.

Target is a small chunk of our Goal. When we slice our Goal into yearly, Monthly, weekly and daily action items, it is called targets. 

Why we need Targets?

There is a popular quote by Desmond Tutu, "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time". It is a perfect example of Goals and Targets. If our Goal is eating the elephant and our targets are "One bite at a time". 

Our Goals are big and cannot be achieved over night. So we set targets to achieve it. In simple words, Targets are nothing but small Goals of short term. 

Since targets are tangible and achievable immediately, they are giving a satisfaction. The daily accomplishments gives a boost to our self confidence and creates a positive impact on our mind about the Goal. The more we achieve the daily targets, the more possible we can achieve our Goal.

How to set Targets?

The first step in creating targets are planning wisely. We have set our goals and an accomplishment date for it. Now we have to split these Goals into action items. 

For example, if you have a 10 year plan, split it into 2, 5 year plans. Write down, what you want to achieve in first 5 years and then convert it further into 5, 1 year plans for the first 5 years.

Now we have sub goals for each years for first 5 year. We are clear where we have to go in next 5 years. Now slice the first year goal more into monthly plans. Set target for every month and dig it further to weekly targets and daily targets.
Path to Success - Target Setting Process
Photo by Bich Tran from Pexels
Once we have these targets, note down them and prepare To-Do List of the target items for atleast an year. If you can prepare for your entire Goal journey, it will be good. But we have to consider the failures and backlogs also. So I have mentioned only first year plan. 

How to stick to the plan?

Now we have targets for the day, week, month and for an entire year. Next important thing is, review them periodically. Have the To-Do list in handy and make sure you complete all your important tasks for the day before going to bed and plan for next days tasks. 

If new tasks are added, don't do them before you record them in the list. As 20/80 rule states, 20% of our actions are accountable for 80% of our results. So identifying the most effective items in our list and do them first will contribute to 80% of our success. Remaining 80% tasks are less effective and keeps us busy but contribute little to nothing to our Goal. So follow the list and prioritize your tasks to avoid missing the important targets.

Lets see about how to set priority to our task list and how to accomplish that 20% of targets easily in our next post.

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