Do you have your sights on one day becoming a millionaire and enjoying the benefits of a lifestyle that's characterized by financial freedom? Well, you aren't alone. You'll be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn't want to become a millionaire. Why, then, do so few ever achieve this status? Well, it all comes back to habits. Employ the wrong habits and you'll end up living paycheck to paycheck. Hone the right ones, however, and you'll have the world at your fingertips.
Seven habits you need to perfect.
There are many factors that lead to becoming a millionaire. And while part of it's just being in the right place at the right time, there's plenty you can control.
"Millionaires come in all shapes and sizes, but many of their good habits remain constant, across the board, no matter who they are. Take the time to cultivate these habits," self-made millionaire Timothy Sykes says. "You might start small, by waking up a little earlier each day. But ultimately, you want to refine all of these millionaire habits, including good saving habits, developing the ability to self-reflect, redefining your definition of failure, and maintaining a strong commitment to giving back to your community."
With all of that being said, here are a handful of habits you should consider.
1. Knowledge consumption.
Millionaires know they can't be successful on their own. They understand that learning and knowledge are critical elements of personal and professional growth. Specifically, millionaires read -- and read often.
According to a study by Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, 85 percent of millionaires read two or more books per month. Specifically, they're reading books on topics like self-help, current events, health, leadership, psychology, and careers.
2. Goal Setting.
Millionaires are habitual goal-setters. They set small goals, big goals, immediate goals, future goals, achievable goals, and ridiculous goals. They set goals because they understand the role that specific objectives play.
Corley's research shows that 81 percent of millionaires maintain an active to-do list, compared with just 9 percent of people earning $30,000 or less per year. That should tell you something right there. While a goal won't help you become a millionaire, it will lead you down a path with more opportunities.
3. Careful Budgeting.
Self-made millionaires are almost always excellent at personal finance and money management. They understand the value of budgeting and know that with more money comes greater responsibility.
How are you at budgeting? Do you squeak by and barely make ends meet at the end of the month, or do you plan out where every penny goes? This may not seem important -- especially if you don't have trouble paying your bills -- but it's a habit that will take you far.
Here's the thing -- budgeting doesn't have to be hard! If you start with small steps and allocate your funds the right way, you'll actually come to realize that it's helpful. It relieves stress and puts your mind at ease. As a result, you can focus on making more money.
4. Early to rise.
Lazy people hit their snooze button and wait until the last possible minute to get out of bed in the morning. As a result, they end up eating an unhealthy breakfast, rushing to work, and leaving their briefcase at home (or something to that effect). Successful people are early risers -- not because they enjoy getting up early, but because they know the benefits.
"I'm up by 4:15 a.m. every day," small-business expert Peter Shankman says. "It's truly amazing what you can get done if you get up early [and begin networking]. We all have people in our network, and the majority of us don't bother connecting with them just to say 'hi,' but rather, only when we want things. That's not a good way to grow your network."
5. Personal health.
It's been said there are only two places you can't make money from -- a hospital bed and a casket. If you want to be financially successful, you have to stay healthy. This is why most millionaires have some sort of health plan in place.
The two biggest keys to being healthy are getting regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet. If nothing else, you should (1) aim to get in 30 minutes of physical exercise each day and (2) cut out as much processed food from your diet as possible.
6. Meticulous organization.
Successful people tend to be more organized than unsuccessful people. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to color-code your files, but it does mean you should follow orderly processes throughout the day.
The best thing you can do is take 10-20 minutes at the end of each work day to shore up your loose ends. During this time, clean off your desk, throw away trash, organize desktop files, respond to emails, and leave a sticky note to remind yourself of what needs to be done first thing in the morning.
7. Purposeful productivity.
Productivity isn't something that just happens. If you want to be productive on a daily basis, you have to establish rules and processes that continually push you to maximize output.
Everyone has their own methods for staying productive, but entrepreneur Steve Scott likes to follow the "two things" rule. "To avoid out-of-control situations, pick two things every day to get rid of, or eliminate," he says. "If you have an empty box sitting in the corner, break it down and throw it in the recyclables. If you're trying to cut down on soda, have half the amount you usually have. Regardless of what it is, cut out, eliminate, toss...two things daily."
And remember to learn from those around you.
The good news is you don't have to pursue wealth and financial freedom on your own. There are thousands of good examples out there. Tap into their experiences and learn from them. What can they teach you about becoming successful? Chances are, they'll highlight the seven habits outlined in this article.