“Act as if what you intend in life is already a reality.” Pretty powerful words when you think about it. After all, people that exercise good visualization and habits, usually manage to succeed in the face of failure, according to several scientific studies. This might explain why “faking it till you make it” has some veracity.

So how can you start off 2019, healthier, wealthier and happier? Thanks to some in-depth research – and insights from author Thomas Corley, who spent five years studying the lives and habits of wealthy people – FirstBank has outlined 19 daily tips that can set you on your way.

Career & Work 

1. Don’t check emails first thing.

This may seem counterintuitive, but many successful people avoid checking emails in the morning. Turns out they might be onto something: a Harvard Business Review study found diving into emails first thing can actually derail productivity, since it forces you to be more reactive/responsive than forward thinking.

 2. Take long lunches.

While this goes against the old adage “time is money,” most successful executives understand the key is to work smarter, not harder. They also recognize that breaks can help them feel more refreshed and productive. Taking either smaller breaks throughout the day or one long break (over an hour), depending on personal preference, has been proven to fend off fatigue, increase job satisfaction and help drive motivation.

3. Refrain from saying what’s on your mind.

You might find it hard to believe that some of the highest paid executives or most powerful entrepreneurs/business owners typically don’t say what they’re thinking. In fact, they’re very methodical with their emotions and the words they use. They also recognize maintaining good relationships is key for success and speaking their mind may result in a burnt bridge.

4. Know when to stop.

It’s a common misconception that highly successful people are often burning the midnight oil. Truth is wealthy individuals recognize after a certain amount of hours, they’re no longer productive, efficient, and therefore, unable to produce worthwhile results. So they know when to call it quits – typically powering down by 5 or 6 p.m. and not returning till the next morning. Don’t believe us? Business Insider uncovered an entire study on why successful people leave work early.

5. Have a primary objective.

Corley pointed out that 80 percent of the wealthy are laser-focused on achieving one large goal. Every decision and action they make usually is done with this primary objective in mind. It’s important to remember that even high powered executives realize large goals can only be achieved when they’re put into bite sized steps. For instance, writing a novel may seem like a lofty initiative. But writing 3-5 pages a day or week? Now, that’s a little easier to tackle.

6. Write it down.

Did you know the writing down your goals makes you 1.4 times more likely to accomplish them? Setting and recording specific goals is proven to be a winning habit. So, it probably comes as no surprise that over 67 percent of high powered individuals put their goals into writing. Here’s the thing, though: successful goals should be actionable and deliberate. “Increase my savings by $10,000 by June 1,” is a much more obtainable than “get rich quick.”

7. Keep a task list.

Corley also discovered another unexpected habit of the wealthy: daily to-do lists. Over 81 percent of highly successful people maintained an active task list. The key, he summarized, is to only write down things that have an 80 percent chance or higher of being accomplished and set specific deadlines to tackle them. “Successful people are goal-oriented,” Corley wrote. “They create goals all the time. Daily goals are represented in their daily to-do lists.”

8. Network each month.

Successful people probably understand more than anyone that in order to thrive in work and business, you need to surround yourself with other successful people. They also understand the key to business and advancement is often centered on relationships, not transactions. This explains why the majority of wealthy individuals (nearly 80 percent) network at least five hours per month. If networking seems like a daunting task, here are a few easy tips to get you started.

9. Listen more, talk less.

Fun fact: most self-made individuals spend roughly five minutes listening for each minute they speak. Trust us when we tell you that listening is something you want to excel at, especially when it comes to creating your own success. A study conducted at George Washington University showed that listening can impact up to 40 percent of your job performance, meaning your career progression could quite possibly hinge on how good or bad of a listener you are.

Health & Fitness 

10. Carpe diem.

Corley found that 44 percent of successful people woke up roughly three hours before work. Yes, Oprah Winfrey, Tim Cook, and Richard Branson all start their day by 4 or 5 a.m. The reason? An early start enables them to deal with minimal distractions, prioritize their to-do list, clear their mind, or even exercise before diving into the day. Benjamin Spall, author of “How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired,” explained that the biggest predictor of success is having a steady routine – and this usually includes maximizing mornings.

11. Avoid junk food. 

Roughly 70 percent of the rich eat fresh foods and limit their junk food intake completely. Renowned psychologist Sheldon Cohen surmises that rich people eat healthier because they’re more aware of the negative effects of high fat, processed foods, and are educated on the benefits of fresh fruits and veggies. In addition to several health advantages, eating clean can improve concentration, memory and focus – key ingredients for a high powered career.

12. Go for four or more.

Yes, even the busiest individuals in the world carve out time for fitness. Corley reported that 76 percent of wealthy people work out four or more days a week. Regular exercise is not only proven to benefit overall health, but can relieve stress, increase productivity, sharpen the mind and boost creativity. So make fitness a key part of your daily or weekly routine.

Mind & Soul

13. Read often.

Many wealthy executives and business-owners continue their education by reading daily. According to Corley’s research, a whopping 86 percent of powerful individuals report that they love reading, and 88 percent of them spend at least 30 minutes a day reading. What do they read, you might ask? Well, fiction isn’t on their book du jour, unfortunately. But self-improvement and business related books are – think: How to Win Friends and Influence People or The Psychology of Persuasion.

14. Watch less TV.

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise given their passion for lifelong education, but 67 percent of highly successful people watch one hour or less of TV per day. What’s more, they avoid reality shows altogether. They instead spend their time in more productive ways (i.e. reading). Who wouldn’t benefit from more Dale Carnegie and less Bachelor?

15. Give back.

Most rich individuals tend to be generous with their wealth. Obviously, not all of us can afford to donate large sums of money to charities. But sometimes giving back (e.g. volunteering, helping out causes) can actually pave the way for success instead of success paving the way for giving back. In fact, 76 percent of career advisers say volunteering could be the missing link to landing that dream job, since it expands your network, teaches you new skills and helps you develop a positive reputation.

16. Recognize time is precious.

The wealthy break down their time into how much they earn an hour, and look at commitments or requests through the lens of how much money they would lose by engaging in said tasks. This allows them to avoid time and money wasting obligations most people engage in on a regular basis. So skip the after-work happy hour and instead do something that forces you to learn or better yourself.

Money: Risks & Reward 

17. Don’t play the odds.

Rich people rarely gamble. They recognize – through sheer probability — that gambling often leads to a lose-lose situation and is surefire way to waste money. If you haven’t lost by now, you eventually will. What’s more, it’s zero sum game, meaning winning profits only come from other people’s lost wages. Doesn’t really seem like a great way to build good karma, does it? Successful individuals know luck doesn’t fall in your lap; luck is what you create.

18. Take planned risks.

This is not the same as going to Vegas and putting your lifesavings on “red.” Wealthy people understand that risks lead to rewards, and as a result they’re more inclined to take calculated ones. 63 percent of wealthy people claim they took a risk in order to become rich, and 27 percent of them failed at least once in business. If you’re looking to take a risk yourself (like launch a business or invest in a start-up), here are a few tips you might want to consider.

19. Be frugal.

It may come as a surprise, but many self-made millionaires and billionaires live relatively understated lives. 96 percent of them spend less than $6,000 a year on vacations. 64 percent of them own modest homes and drive older cars. The point is they don’t throw their money away on glitz and glam, but look for opportunities to invest their money on items that will generate a return or provide longer term benefits. The more you save, the more potential you have to earn, so spend your money wisely.


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