If a happy and successful life is all about developing three good daily habits, what would those three habits be? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.

Answer by Nela Canovic, productivity hacker, writer, entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, on Quora:

From sharpening your focus to considering the big picture, these three life-changing habits are small enough to incorporate into each day, yet big enough to create a lasting impact on the way you lead your life.

Habit #1: Create a central focus point to your day by asking yourself this question each morning: "What is the one thing I am committed to completing today?"

What's so great about it?

  • You boost your focus by training your brain to prioritize what is most important to you, so you don't waste time on things that are trivial, irrelevant, or distracting.
  • You gain a sense of purpose that can give your life more meaning, help you understand that you have something of value to contribute, and improve the quality of your day-to-day life.
  • You save time by knowing in advance the work you need to accomplish, so you don't waste hours evaluating multiple priorities throughout the day.
  • You help your brain perform more optimally by freeing it from cluttered thoughts and giving it space to concentrate on what you consider the most important goal of the day.

How can you start practicing it?

  • Put it in writing. Write your goal in big bold letters on a sheet of paper and hang it on your bedroom or bathroom wall.
  • Read it out loud as you start your day (as you're brushing your teeth, taking a shower, or getting dressed), and come up with an answer on the spot.
  • Follow up by taking action and by reminding yourself throughout the day about the commitment you made.

Habit #2. Grow your mindset.

What's so great about it?

  • Your mindset can go a long way towards shaping your life, either positively or negatively.
  • Your mindset is your attitude towards the world, towards yourself, and about what is possible. It can influence your day-to-day behavior, the types of goals you set for yourself, what you succeed or fail in, the relationships you pick (friends and partners, both professional and personal), and the skills you choose to develop to get you where you need and want to go.
  • Knowing how to grow your mindset can become the single most important tool you have at your fingertips. This tool can help you accomplish personal goals, overcome obstacles, communicate better with others, and ultimately lead a higher quality of life.

How can you start practicing it?

  • Stay curious. Learn something new every day, whether it's about the history of the world, how things work, which foods and activities keep you healthy, which habits can help you become a better person, or which books you can read that will teach you something valuable.
  • Don't limit your learning experience. Just because it's not taught in school or at university doesn't mean you shouldn't spend time learning about it. Go to the library and pick up books on a topic that is interesting to you, take an online class in the evening, or watch free tutorials on YouTube on how to develop a skill you think would be empowering to you. Ask advice from an expert who has achieved mastery in a field or a skill you want to have.
  • Surround yourself with people who demonstrate a growth mindset. They are the ones with a can-do attitude, who exhibit positive and optimistic behavior, and who are working hard every day on making themselves better people. Conversely, stay away from those who are constantly negative, critical, and who spend too much time talking about others and complaining about everything.
  • Keep your mind open to possibilities. When you're not sure how to proceed with trying something new, start by asking, "What if?" What if you conquer something important that you thought you'd never be able to do a year ago? What if, in the process, you open doors that will take your life in a new direction, and that will fill you with optimism and energy? What if that new energy makes you limitless? Asking this question can impact your future in a big way.

Habit #3. Find purpose in the work that you do by figuring out how you can add value to others.

What's so great about it?

  • It shifts your perspective from thinking, "What does the world have to offer me?" to thinking, "What can I offer the world and the people I interact with each day?"
  • You stop seeing your life as an isolated effort to overcome obstacles, and start seeing your life as being part of a bigger picture, where you can contribute your time, knowledge, skills, and expertise to solve bigger problems.
  • You begin to feel that your work has more meaning because you can impact other people's lives with it.

How can you start practicing it?

  • Identify your strengths. Which skill do you possess that can be useful to help someone do something? What is something you find easy to do or to overcome, but that others find difficult?
  • Find out who needs assistance with completing a task or solving a problem. It's not rocket science; simply ask, "How can I help?" This is a straightforward way to show your intent to actually do something, as opposed to assuming others will know you're there in case they need you. Being proactive makes a world of difference and shows your genuine interest in helping people.
  • Brainstorm ways in which you can add value to others. As you're learning more on a topic or developing a specific skill, think of ways to share what you've learned with people: talk through your notes with a classmate or coworker, engage in a conversation with people who share your interests, or write about your learning experience, either on your blog or an online forum like Quora. Talking about something that's become easy for you can encourage other people and empower them to get proactive about their lives. And that, right there, is how you can add value!

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