9 Things Successful People Do Differently

I devour recommended reading lists, double-stacking new volumes into my bulging shelves each month. Books gleaming with insights for optimizing purpose and impact rank high among my favorites. I most love the authors who craft great content into succinct packages. Brevity demonstrates respect for the productive lifestyle’s most precious resource–time.
My appreciation extends to author Heidi Grant Halvorson, who shares the essentials for achievement in less than a hundred pages. In Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, Halvorson outlines the steps for planning, actualizing, and maintaining goals to live out your dreams. Concise, yet thorough, the author cites supportive research to validate the principles she recommends.  Each chapter includes actionable questions to apply the concepts to individual objectives.
The first concept, though not a new idea, sets a critical starting point. Effective goals must be specific. We’ve long read this premise as the initial factor in the SMART goal system. Halvorson adds emotional motivating statements to this step, encouraging readers to visualize a benefit when setting the goal.
No matter how well we plan, no goal can be attained without action. In the spirit of carpe diem, Nine Things incites readers to seize the moment. Successful people act on goals without excessive procrastination. Halvorson suggests an if-then planning system, based upon the brain’s language of contingencies. In more familiar terms, set up a pattern of ways to respond to dates, times, and circumstances which lend themselves to progress on goals.
Like most achievement strategies, Nine Things insists upon monitoring progress. Celebrate how far you’ve come. Keep in mind how far you have to go. We all need a map to get to a destination. If we’re not there yet, the little kid within us can repeat the frequent question, “How much farther?” An eye on the route ahead minimizes distractions and keeps us driving onward.
Be a realistic optimist. Positive thinking is a great start, but not enough on its own. According to Halvorson, “to be successful, you need to understand the very vital difference between believing you will succeed, and believing you will succeed easily.” The book encourages readers to build on a confident foundation, adding effort and problem solving skills to complete their objectives.
Another cognitive tip followed by successful people involves the improvement mindset. Dr. Halvorson distinguishes between focus on being good and getting better. Research indicates those who feel the need to prove their competence struggle more with setbacks, while those with a continual strive to learn demonstrate more resilience. Problems can become obstacles when seen as a test, but not when viewed as a learning opportunity.
In alignment with this concept, successful people demonstrate perseverance. Halvorson refers to this quality as grit. Persisting through a challenge or difficulty requires a certain belief or mentality. We have the power to choose and change our beliefs. Nine Things underscores the importance of adopting a perspective aligned with potential growth.
The more we practice a mindset or behavior, the stronger our performance becomes. Dr. Halvorson discusses the increasing nature of self-discipline in terms of exercising. She encourages readers to build willpower muscles in the same way they would get physically fit. Start small and work your way toward goals requiring greater willpower. Don’t try to eliminate five difficult habits all at once.
When implementing lifestyle changes, successful people use positive language in their self-talk. Instead of dwelling upon the behaviors to avoid, achievers think about positive activities to add as replacements. Dr. Halvorson suggests focusing upon what you will do instead of the forbidden path. Psychological evidence supports the concept, but we can easily relate to the effects.
Think about your automatic reaction when someone shouts, “Don’t look down!” Of course you look down. We actually think more about something when trying not to think about it. The brain focuses on the main part of the message instead of the negation language.
Heidi Grant Halvorson’s Nine Things Successful People Do Differently is available on Amazon. Try out the principles and update us on your progress. Which ones made the greatest difference in achieving your goals? I look forward to hearing how these tips work in your life.
Be Encouraged,

Leave a Reply