Are you looking for the habits of successful women, so you can follow their steps? That’s the attitude! Find all about them and start implementing them in your own life!
Habits have become a thing. Podcasts are being recorded, books are being written, and conversations about the habits of highly successful people are everywhere in social media.
What is it that makes these little things we do every day so powerful? Well, as Annie Dillard said: “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives”.
Success —whatever that means to you— takes work to achieve, but it’s even harder to maintain. Living a life aligned with our goals requires discipline, focus, consistency, and hard work.
In a culture where male-centered policies and practices still dominate every sphere of life, women have got to get serious about their work and overcome many adversities to make it to the top.
So what differentiates those who make it from those who don’t? There’s no tried-and-true formula that will answer this question, but there are some qualities of successful women that seem to pop up often, including the habits they swear by.
Here are some of the habits of successful women.
They write down their goals
Greg Reid said “A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”
Successful women seem to have this sequence very clear in their minds. That’s why many of them claim that writing down their goals helps them keep themselves on track.
Indeed, it has been found that people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down. Mega-successful entrepreneur Marie Forleo is a fan of this technique and has said: “Writing down my goals has truly helped me increase my odds of success and ultimately achieve my dreams.”
Some women even write them on paper, as it gives it an extra dose of power. For example, Sheryl Sandberg writes her goals for the day by hand, as she finds it more efficient, and multiple Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles says that she starts the year by writing down her goals for the next 12 months in a notebook.
Many successful women also claim that visualizing their goals is a usual practice for them. This works for long-term goals, but also for everyday life.
We live in a world with so many distractions that it’s easy to get sidetracked, but setting a goal or intention in the morning for what you want to accomplish during the day helps you stay focused and on track. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of your time, you can do it while you’re brushing your teeth or commuting to work.
They meditate everyday
Meditation is all the rage lately, with more and more people using meditation apps such as Calm and Simple Habit on a daily basis.
In fact, studies have shown that meditation sharpens attention, lessens stress, and can even have a powerful impact on your relationships. It’s no surprise that meditation is one of the daily habits of successful women (as well as one of the most common billionaire habits!).
Ellen Degeneres, the famous talk show host, swears by transcendental meditation, a kind of meditation where people repeat a single mantra silently over and over, to help clear the mind of thoughts. And she’s not alone.
Brooke Matthias, the busy director of a wine brand, says that regular meditation helps “strengthen her time management skills and makes her feel better equipped to handle day-to-day stress.”
She also says that meditation makes her a better problem solver and thus a better leader, as after some time spent meditating the mind is clearer and it’s easier to find solutions to daily problems.
Making meditation part of your daily routine might seem impossible because… who has the time?! But the reality is that just 10-15 minutes of meditation a day can make a big difference.
Kerri Walsh Jennings, a beach volleyball player and three-time Olympic gold medalist, meditates for around 15 minutes every morning. She says that this simple daily act of meditation was a game-changer, as it “allows for patience, joy in the moment, an ability to flow and be on time with her thoughts and actions.”
They find a good career/family balance
Career is important for professionally successful women, that much is obvious. But what might seem counterintuitive is that those who have made it to the top claim to be very good at leading a balanced life.
One of the traits of successful women is that they are just as good at stopping as they are at working.
They say that being fully present physically and emotionally with loved ones clears their heads, energizes them, and reminds them what’s important – it gives them more perspective on what they’re actually working for.
That’s why they intentionally make space each day to spend quality time with their family and friends.
Beyonce, for example, says that motherhood is her greatest achievement and brings her kids along on tour with her.
Randi Christiansen, a former executive of Estée Lauder Companies and founder of Nécessaire, mentions nurturing her connections as her number 1 habit for success, stating that being clear on that priority is the starting point for her, who lives by the motto “Be a lot to a few, instead of nothing to many.”
Being successful is more than having a great professional career. In the end, life is about connecting with people deeply, and successful women know this very well, and live up to that value.
They prioritize their sleep
In a time when sleep is seen almost as an alternative and it’s even considered a lazy thing to do (Elon Musk claimed many times that he keeps his sleeping time to a bare minimum), successful women are rebellious and clear about how important sleep is. And girl, are they right.
A good night’s sleep significantly improves productivity, performance, mood, and memory, and is a huge boost to our immune system. However, a great majority of the adult population is severely sleep-deprived.
Many people think that less sleep equals more time to work, but being productive is not about working more, it’s about working better.
Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the secrets of successful women, since it skyrockets their ability to focus and engage in the day’s work.
Sleep is so important for your brain that you can literally die of sleep deprivation, something Ariana Huffington learned the hard way when she passed out for not having slept enough. Now she says she sleeps 8 hours a night 95% of the time, and she even wrote a book about the subject.
Sleep also improves our mood and our ability to regulate our emotions, all key aspects to live a balanced, happy, and healthy life. That’s why businesswoman Colleen Winter says she is a militant about getting a good night’s sleep, adding that it keeps her sane.
They don’t let obstacles discourage them
In life and in business, no path is always smooth and tidy and free of adversity. Ever. Whatever you want to pursue, there will be stumble blocks. Something that makes successful women stand out is that they just don’t let those obstacles discourage them from pursuing their goals.
Oprah, for example, says that “there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction”. Or consider J.K. Rowling, the billionaire author of Harry Potter, who was turned down by 12 publishers before Harry Potter finally made it to print.
No one has it easy, but unfortunately, the road to success is even harder for women, who must overcome stereotypes, unfair laws, and male-centered workplaces.
But one of the habits of a successful woman is making a decision every day to soldier on no matter what, and being willing to take the necessary chances to get where she wants to be.
They’re really good at scheduling
One quality repeated across the board of successful women’s habits is that they are really good at organizing their days.
Having a to-do list for the day and the week makes it a lot easier to navigate it, and helps them to stay focused instead of wasting mental energy thinking about what they have to do next.
Once they have a calendar set up, they are also very good at sticking to it, always prioritizing the most important task.
Camille Styles, a lifestyle blogger and entrepreneur, says that scheduling has been “without a doubt the organizational technique that’s changed my life the most. It may sound rigid, but strictly following my calendar actually gives me a sense of freedom (…) I can relax in the knowledge that I’m right where I’m supposed to be.”
Everyone has their own methods. Some plan their week ahead on Sunday, while others take some me-time in the morning to think about the day ahead.
The COO of Facebook, for example, “uses a spiral-bound notebook she carries with her at all times, which she uses to keep track of appointments and her to-do list.”
But it’s not all about work. Successful women organize their days and priorities not only for work, but also for their personal lives, including breaks, time with their loved ones, social engagements, and even sleep.
For example, Donni Rae Edmonson, founder of three companies, says that “without having a work (and personal) schedule, I would hold myself accountable to work 24/7, and that’s just not the recipe for success. It is important to have a work/life balance.”
They exercise regularly
The benefits of exercising are well-documented. It is no secret that moving our bodies releases endorphins and dopamine (hormones that make us feel good), improves immunity, boosts our mood, and makes us feel energized.
That’s why it tends to be one of the morning habits of successful women, to start the day on a good note. Vogue’s editor-in-chief Anna Wintour starts her day playing tennis around 5:30 in the morning, while TV producer Shonda Rhimes likes to start off her day dancing to the sound of Beyonce.
Not all of us are willing to start that early, but these women are onto something. A study found that morning exercise can improve your cognitive and decision-making skills throughout the day.
There’s also evidence that people who get their bodies moving during the day have more energy and a more positive mindset.
You don’t have to wake up at 4 AM or engage in a crossfit session every morning.
Mel Robbins says she aims at exercising 20 minutes as part of her morning routine, but she adds that if you don’t have that time, you can do a few push-ups or sit-ups or a sun salutation (all of which takes 2 minutes tops), whatever you prefer to get your blood pumping.
Whether it is a morning walk, dancing at night, doing Yoga, or playing tennis with your friends, anything that gets your juices flowing, switches off your mind, and helps you connect with your body will always help you tackle the workday better.
They take time to rest and switch off
There’s a saying that goes: “Don’t stop when you’re tired, stop when you’re done.” Well, chances are that whoever wrote that eventually collapsed and had to take a break. Burnout has become a real threat in the modern world, which seems to be all about hustling and being overconnected at all times.
Many scientists are raising their voices against these trends, which seem to forget that we are human beings, not human doings. Science tells us that, in fact, resting has many benefits. It boosts productivity and creativity, prevents decision fatigue, eases stress, and improves focus, among many other perks.
That’s why taking time to switch off and rest is a must in the daily routine of a successful woman.
Rest can come in many forms. Entrepreneur Rachel Roff likes watching Netflix for 30 minutes at night to switch off, and Zoë Foster Blake, Founder Of Go-To, goes for a lap around the block or meditates whenever she’s feeling tired during the workday.
She says: “when I prioritize looking after myself, all the facets of life improve and I’m more efficient and creative professionally.”
Brené Brown, the social researcher, has even made “rest and play” one of her guideposts for wholehearted living, a balancing act against the prevailing culture “of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as self-worth.”
Unplugging is like a reboot for our brains. Whether it’s exercising, walking in nature, meditating, or playing with your kids… making time for yourself should be as big of a priority as working. And as counterintuitive as it may sound, it might just be one of the keys to success.