Behavioral Development: 20 Essential Habits Successful People Do Differently

With the beginning of a New Year, we are all motivated and energized for the opportunities of a brand new start.

This is the time most of us focus on what really matters.

Many of us make personal commitments to bring the necessary changes we want to see unfold.

Unfortunately, many of times it just doesn’t work that way; we try to fix too many things all at once in an unreasonable amount of time.

We jump right into what we wish to accomplish in only a few weeks. We forget the crucial factors of planning ahead of time, planning on how to face failure,  but when we should begin, and practical ways to accomplish your goals.

Many of us quite after failing, lose motivation and direction, often this leads to giving up, even to the point of not trying until next year.

This year, I invite you to try a different approach.

Use the list below as a reference guide to direct your intentions for something you want to change.

First, start with one small change that you can completely focus on.

Continue this habit of your for at least one month.

Once you have automated this behavior and can manage to repeat this behavior/task day in and day out, then move onto your next challenge or habit.

Don’t start anything else until you’ve remained consistent throughout your first challenge.

Will this work?

There are countless reasons as to why this will work.

Since you’re doing so little there is almost no pressure to maintain and invest large amounts of time into this new habit of yours.

And with time, repeated every single day, your behavior will begin to compound and actually stick.

This is the secret to long-term change.

It’s about starting small and putting in the work every single day.

For example, I’ve started making small changes only within the past 6 or so months, and I can say I have managed to successfully wake up early, eat healthier, exercise 3-5 times weekly, write, and meditate daily.

Of course there were hiccups along the way, but when I committed towards a certain goal or habit and made small investments every single day I managed to create long lasting changes.

Here are 20 essential ways to habits successful people do differently:

  1. Focus on creating positive self-talk. Don’t tune into negative thoughts, instead become aware of the pattern they are creating, and notice that they are there but do not associate with them — you are not your thoughts.
  2. Let go of all the guilt that you have acquired. As this is a New Year, don’t drag your past into the future. You can only move forward.
  3. Make a personal commitment to a project, goal, or an idea that you want to come to life. Just start, and invest a small amount every day/week, find whatever works best for you.
  4. Get out of your comfort zone. If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.
  5. Start the New Year without self-blame. You are the only person you should be accountable for, so own up for your needs.
  6. Instead of procrastinating, take the tiniest step possible to ensure you are taking action. Stop wishing and waiting around for the stars to align, and just take any action possible.
  7. Invest heavily into yourself, your skills, crafts, hobbies, and what you want to achieve. Your happiness should not rely on factors that you hold no control over.
  8. Take it day by day. No one can predict the future (obviously), and over-thinking situations certainly won’t help. Do all that you can in a day, and by the end of the year you’ll be mesmerized by your results.
  9. Create a habit of exercise. Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Find something suitable to your liking that will get you to be physical. Running, playing a sport, kickboxing, yoga, zumba, whatever resonates with you and immerses you into the activity – do that.
  10. Money manage. Usually when we give into desires, temptation, and purchase unconsciously, or to compete with others, we end up financially burdened. Purchase what is necessary, put money aside monthly, if you want to purchase something; buy an experience instead of a thing. If you are in debt, create a plan for setting money aside monthly and create a budget for your needs, not your wants.
  11. Simplify, simplify, and simplify. See how you can make your life easier and simpler. Automatic payments, lesser social media profiles, less T.V watching, less clothing, and less clutter. Remove what you don’t need and you’ll be liberated with space (physically, mentally, and emotionally). Keep what adds value to your life.
  12. Temper, anger, resentment, and with-held negative emotions towards (ex)-friends, (ex)-lovers, (ex)-family members are only going to start your new year with accumulated negativity. Instead, forgive and be thankful for the learning experience that it provided.
  13. Become friends with pain. Don’t shy away from a possibility or opportunity because there may be pain involved (and resort to comfort). Growth, change, and anything significant life will involve some sort of pain. Don’t run away from it, instead know that it’s there and welcome it.
  14. Let go of any false beliefs, ideals, morals, or virtues in your life. Don’t accept anything that doesn’t strictly correlate with you.
  15. Don’t attach your energy or direct attention towards insignificant problems and the little annoyances from life. Most of the problems we encounter day to day are trivial and quite small. Don’t let these problems get you stuck.
  16. Understand that it’s never too late. Don’t be scared to start something just because you’re at the bottom of the ladder. It doesn’t matter where you are, what matters is that you’re choosing to climb something that matters to
  17. Let go of what does not need to be in your life. Limiting beliefs, negative influence(s), the need for approval from external sources, and the desire to impress others at your own expense.
  18. Explore your creativity. Find a medium in which you can express and use as your own creative outlet. This can be writing in a journal, sharing your experiences on a forum, starting a blog online, painting, writing poetry, or public speaking – anything
  19. Create a habit challenge for yourself. Limit your challenge to 3-5 habits you want to have in your life for the year (whatever you feel comfortable with, you don’t want to overwhelm yourself) This can be money management, eating healthier, exercise, running, reading, or anything you may want in your life. Start incredibly small and apply all of your focus on one habit at a time.
  20. Start with yourself. Stop being the glue that holds everything together. You are allowed to say no — don’t forget that you are important. Focus on the possibilities and opportunities that can be opened up for you.

These tiny steps may not seem like anything big, but within a few months, the changes will become noticeable.

Think of your goals similar to a marathon runner.

You’re not going to run a 20 Kilometer Marathon in one step.

It’s going to have to consist of thousands of tiny steps, and if you try to sprint to the finish line you’ll just exhaust and burn yourself out.

Every single step you take is an extra step you’ve never taken before.

Also, it’s impossible to take more than one step at once, just like you can’t fix everything at once.

Focus on starting with the first step, and only then take your next step.

Take it a step at a time.

In no time you’ll notice how big those small changes really are.


Over to you: Let me know in the comments what changes you want to see in your life, what your plan will be to make that change happen, and if I can help you in any way.



  1. Kalem says

    I really like how you have organized your blog. The colour, bolded letters and titles make your post really easy to follow. I’ve checked through your blog a few times in the past, but I’ve decided to make my first comment. Thanks for the read.

  2. says

    I like the approach here. It tallies with the oft cited 21 day real for making lasting change. It’s so true we often begin with positive intentions but don’t adopt the strategies needed to follow through and create genuine and lasting changes in our lives. That’s what I like about what you’ve layed out here. You don’t just offer platitudes and motivational quotes, you offer methods and strategies for how to make it work. Great stuff.

  3. says

    I like the message of this post – the power of compounding habits is very much overlooked in today’s society. Everyone always wants results NOW, which usually ends with them trying hard for a week, then declaring it impossible and quit.

    We need a more long-term thinking to be able to see the huge benefits we’d get from even the slightest change in our habits.

    Nice write-up!

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