Highly successful people generally share similar tendencies. They get up before the crack of dawn, proactively manage their health, and know what to do with their money. They appreciate the value of a good night's sleep, a restorative vacation, and a well-written book. And they're faithful to certain routines proved over time to work. Check out these quotes from 20 successful people who credit simple daily habits for helping them get ahead in business and life.
1. Make your bed.
"A few years ago, I heard a speech by Admiral McRaven and he explained the importance of making your bed each and every day. He said that making your bed gives you a sense of accomplishment, shows that if you can't tackle the small tasks, you will never get the big things right, and if you have had a miserable day, having a made bed gives you encouragement about tomorrow. I have applied this to my life and it does work. Accomplishing a simple tasks makes the daunting ones seem less challenging. But more importantly, when you have had a very bad day at work, when you get home, you can see one of your tasks has already been done." --Michael DiBenedetto, CEO of Bootler, a food-delivery services comparison shopping website.
2. Carry a voice recorder.
"A lot of times, our most innovative ideas come to us when we're in our most relaxed states, like lying in bed trying to fall asleep or while shooting the [breeze] with a favorite bartender. There's business gold hidden in those uninhibited moments. I always keep a mini voice recorder next to my bed and in my pocket, which can get awkward, but it's worth it." --Nick Wieczorek, founder and CEO of Cliq, a social discovery app for groups of friends.
3. Work out every day.
"It's consistency rather than length of session that is important for exercise, so I do 15 to 30 minutes of yoga every day, just in my living room with a yoga mat and iPad yoga app. Not only am I physically stronger as a result, but it's also incidental meditation, so I'm happier too." --Alicia Navarro, CEO of Skimlinks, an affiliate marketing tool for publishers.
4. Eat lunch with your employees.
"It's important create a culture without an ivory tower. Get to know your workers, learn about their lives, their families, and their interests. Let them learn the same about you. This isn't a trick or a strategy to make them more loyal or productive. It's a strategy for making you more loyal and productive. When you understand what's at stake for your workers and their families, you're going to be the best that you can be in all facets of running the company. At the end of the day, it's all about people and building the best lives that we can for ourselves and our workforce." --Andrew Filev, CEO of online project management software company Wrike.
5. Under-promise and over-deliver.
"I learned early on the importance of under-promising and over-delivering on projects. Doing so has helped me gain credibility with my peers and bosses, as well as our members. When projects are delivered ahead of schedule, under budget, and of higher quality than expected, it's a win for everyone. I am not suggesting sandbagging to make yourself look good... It is about managing the expectations of internal and external customers and providing them with a positive experience." --Stephen P. Stahr, CEO of The Million Dollar Round Table, a global, independent association of more than 43,000 life insurance and financial services professionals from more than 500 companies in 67 countries.
6. Start the day with quiet time.
"Before my family and the rest of the world wake up, I go downstairs and download everything in my brain onto my laptop. This includes random thoughts, fears, ideas, work stuff, family items, wins from the day before, something I'm angry about, clients or prospects I need to contact, problems to solve--absolutely everything. I also use the time to ask for direction and guidance from God. This allows me to get my day started with a clear head, so that I'm not distracted by a thought buzzing through my unconscious mind. I have an 'accountability partner' and I'll text him the direction I receive, and he texts me his. It works. I have clarity, a plan, and a list." --Michael Levin, New York Times bestselling author and owner of BusinessGhost, a provider of ghostwritten business books and business memoirs.
7. Engage in shoptalk with those who least expect it.
"Strategic thinking is good for the brain, but shoptalk is healthy for the heart. I relish talking with employees whose paths typically may not cross mine. Listening to their stories about our business and their lives teaches me about shared values, which form the foundation for a strong corporate culture that motivates people to do their best every day." --Luke Lambert, president and CEO of G&S Business Communications, a midsize global firm that develops PR and marketing programs for B2B and B2C clients to engage audiences throughout their value chains.
8. Start your day steeped in positivity.
"I have a morning ritual that I have done every morning since the beginning of my career. Before I get out of bed I say to myself, 'Today is going to be a great day.' Then I set my intention for the day. Then I take three deep breaths and smile. Last, I say what I am thankful for." --Dave Cantin, board member with Columbia University's Hope & Heroes Children's Cancer Fund, and former VP of Brad Benson Hyundai, New Jersey.
9. Start the day with a grounding and centering routine.
"I make sure I start my day by praying, meditating, and listening to inspirational music before I get out of bed. Making this ritual the first thing I do ensures I'm grounded, centered, and peaceful before I start interacting with anyone else. You can't give from an empty cup. In order to have productive interactions throughout the day, it's important to first fill up personally, making sure I'm not only energized physically, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually." --Donna L. Hamilton, bestselling author and chief wellness officer of Manifest Excellence, LLC, a holistic health promotion company that helps companies increase employee productivity and engagement through improved workplace wellness.
10. Take someone to lunch every day.
"I believe that human connection and live interaction is what drives thought-provoking ideas and success in both your family and your career. I will take friends, colleagues, customers, and competitors to lunch every day and find out what makes them tick." --Nicole McMackin, president of IT staffing and solutions firm Irvine Technology Corporation.
11. Take care of yourself first.
"As a business owner you have to be balanced, not just in business but in life. That means making daily healthy choices like eating a clean and healthy diet, exercising and being active, letting your body rest when it's tired or even pampering yourself every now and then. Ignoring these key factors could lead to exhaustion, fatigue, and the feeling of being overwhelmed. It's impossible to be effective when you have no energy or have run out of steam. What's worse is that negative energy is then passed on to your employees, which creates tension and stress within the company. If you live a balanced and happy life, your employees will eventually emulate that behavior, which means your entire company will run efficiently. As a result, you get more time, more fun, and more money." --Joshua Mellberg, CEO of J.D. Mellberg Financial. His financial videos have been downloaded and viewed more than four million times over the past year, with an average of 350,000 visitors each month.
"With a young and rapidly growing business, it is easy to go into overdrive and hyper-focus on an unending task list or a think tank of problem solving. Each afternoon, I stop for five minutes to find the humor in the day or recount a particularly funny story with an employee, or even with a client. If I cannot find the deep laugh-out-loud moment within myself, I ask someone in the office to tell me a new joke or share a funny meme. It always refreshes my spirit, and renews my energy. Laughter is like a vitamin that prevents burnout." --Leah Miller, CEO of Red Anchor Wealth Management, a company that creates custom retirement coordination of the major impactors of modern retirement, such as Medicare, Social Security, pension, 401(k) distribution, and investments.
13. Be grateful.
"In an era of haste and self-absorption, perform, acknowledge, and be grateful for acts of kindness between family, friends, colleagues, and strangers. The personal and institutional return on this conscious investment is without equal." --Peter Neill, director of the World Ocean Observatory, an on-line place of exchange of information and educational services about the ocean.
14. Live out morals.
"Never lie. Never cheat. Never steal. Don't whine. Don't complain. Don't make excuses. These basic guiding principles are essential to a foundation built around honesty, integrity and positively influence my daily work ethic." --Kent Atherton, founder and CEO of Bloc Enterprises, which owns the exclusive rights to distribute the smoking cessation product NicoBloc in the United States.
15. Treat every day like it is the first day on the job.
"As a leader, this keeps me humble and keeps me focused on the goal. Just as I did on my first day of work, I visualize exactly what I want to happen each day. You can't accomplish anything unless you first visualize it in your mind. Once I know exactly what I want to happen, I stay focused and I overcome any hurdles by staying concentrated on my vision." --Hillel L. Presser, president of The Presser Law Firm, a nationwide asset-protection law firm.
16. Say your goals out loud.
"I write down my goals, career, personal, and family, and review those goals verbally, every morning. It may seem trivial to some, but I believe it has been a key factor in my success." --Edward Sota, president and co-founder of Safeguard Financial Services, and a partner at Safeguard Investment Advisory Group.
17. Run to trouble.
"The second you see an issue or problem, fix it. The faster you address a problem, the faster it is solved. Problems never age well. Indeed, sometimes the only time you can actually stop a problem is in the very beginning, before it becomes a full-blown catastrophe. For this strategy to succeed, it is essential that you have a great corporate culture, such that your team is able to be honest about mistakes and inspired to quickly address them." --Chris Spain, president and CEO of smart water management provider HydroPoint, which saved customers more than 15 billion gallons of water and $137 million in expenses in 2015.
"As an entrepreneur, you're always on--working, thinking, and going at incredible speeds to keep your company going. Oftentimes, you wake up and are eager to get the day started. But before I begin tackling the day's tasks, I always start my day with meditation. This helps center myself and set the tone for the rest of day. During the evenings, I go for a long run without my phone. Rather than trying to find the right workout song or being distracted from email notifications, I focus on my next breath and step. Not only is it a great way to de-stress; it's also another form of meditation that helps clear the mind." --Mahesh Rajagopalan, co-founder and CEO of the chat and photo collage app Picpal.
19. Have dinner with your loved ones every day.
"While my wife and I are both busy in our roles as founding CEOs at our respective companies, we make it a priority to have dinner together every day. It is so easy to become disassociated as a busy professional and have your family life fall apart. Keeping the relationship with your family strong is vital to staying grounded and successful." --Rajeev Behera, CEO of the performance-management company Reflektive, which was funded by Andreessen Horowitz in 2015 and has since signed more than 100 customers.
20. Follow the golden rule.
"Treat others how you would like to be treated and show empathy. I follow this in all matters of the business, especially when dealing with our three stakeholders, customers, suppliers, and employees, who are each equally important to the success of the company. We have made this a priority to treat all parties as an asset and partner. To truly make a difference, each group must feel like they are on the winning side of the proposition and that they are a valued part of the equation. --Carey Smith, founder and CEO of fan and light manufacturer Big Ass Fans, which expects revenue in excess of $300 million this year.