The highest achievers you know likely share a few common characteristics. They probably work hard, are relatively smart and possess ample amounts of tenacity and perseverance. But little  daily habits can also make a big difference in a person's level of success in business and life. Here are a few you should adopt to be the best version of yourself.

1. Shut your phone off or leave it behind.

If you're old enough to remember a time before mobile devices existed, you may wistfully yearn for the days when people were head-up, paid better attention to conversations and read books or the newspaper instead of scrolling through a Facebook feed on their phones.

Taking a break from your phone will likely do you a world of good. Researchers have found a myriad of ways mobile devices keep people from living in the moment and fully engaging with people around them. For example, 38 percent of people have missed out on a life moment while busy looking at their phones. And apparently the average American is unable to go without internet access for more than 16 hours. What would happen if you didn't bring your phone to a movie, church or out to dinner?

2. Smile at strangers.

If you're looking for an easy way to do a good deed for the day, just give the people walking past you a brief but genuine smile. It's a practice that lights people up. Plus, researchers have found that people who smile are perceived as younger and thinner.

3. Pick up a new habit.

The most successful people you know likely challenge themselves, and not just at work. That's according to psychologist Dr. Jason Richardson, who preaches that trying out a new habit for 30, 60, or 90 days brings huge benefits. For one thing, by constantly striving for self-improvement, you are role modeling diligence to the people around you who you would like to influence. It also builds your sense of empathy when you understand first-hand what it is like to venture on a new path. A new habit also forces your brain to find the best way to get things done as the neurons in your brain need to fire differently. And, it builds your mettle, the courage and fortitude which will help you succeed in many arenas.

4. Quit multitasking.

Thanks to having grown up with the Internet and mobile devices offering endless opportunities for distraction, Millennials may be the generation most comfortable with multitasking. In fact, on average these younger workers typically flit their attention between media platforms 27 times per hour. However, recent research suggests multitasking in the workplace isn't such a great thing. Faculty at Bryan College in Dayton, Tennessee, created an infographic pointing out that lack of productivity due to multitasking at work is responsible for annual global losses of $450 billion, plus several other sobering facts and figures.

5. Become more confident.

Confident people are more successful because they seize opportunities and do things insecure people think of as scary. They're also perceived as more attractive and tend to have a larger circle of high-quality relationships. But contrary to popular belief, confidence is not a personality trait some people are born with and others are not. Anyone can become more confident through one simple practice: Getting good at things. Know this, though: To gain experience mastering skills, you need to actually try doing them. In other words, you're going to have to take some risks.

6. Stop making excuses.

Yes, you can go back to school. You can get out of debt. You can start saving for retirement. You can find time to visit a relative you've been neglecting or a friend you haven't seen in ages. Removing "can't" from your vocabulary can change your life.

7. Talk to your wise future self.

Stella & Dot Founder and CEO Jessica Herrin, in her excellent book "Find Your Extraordinary: Dream Bigger, Live Happier, and Achieve Success on Your Own Terms" asks readers to visualize themselves floating on a river boat watching the milestones of their lives pass by on the shoreline. Imagine this is you, and after seeing the years pass before your eyes you finally disembark at a lovely home where you are greeted by your future self--an older and wiser you. This is your opportunity to ask this person what different choices you would make if you could go back. Or, in the grand scheme of things, what matters most? What was your greatest achievement?

"When something small or short-term is weighing me down, I ask my future self if she cares about this at all," she writes. "Turns out, she actually cares about a pretty narrow set of things! Family, love, friendship, and impact. If she's not overly worried about a short term-term situation, why should I be?"

Published on: Jul 20, 2016