The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. – Vince Lombardi
Those of us that have played sports, or been involved in any kind of competitive activity, will attest that a number of variables – controllable and uncontrollable – ultimately determine our success. It is our job to execute on the former without being negatively impacted by the latter.
Vince Lombardi is considered by many to be the greatest professional football coach of all time. Perhaps Lombardi’s most celebrated attribute was his ability to motivate and get the best of out his players and staff. He realized that people require drive and motivation to produce their best work and be successful.
Lombardi also realized that, while he was a great coach, much of the will to succeed came from inside of the players themselves. And so it is with each one of us. If success is to be our destination, we must commit to self-discipline. We must commit to “perfecting” the right behaviors and mitigating the wrong ones. This includes recognizing – and working on – all controllable factors…even those that are much less obvious.
Our evening habits play a crucial role to our success, though we may not give them the attention they deserve at times. It is so easy, in this era of overwork and overexposure to stress, to use our evening time counterproductively. We must resist such forces, however tempting they may be.
To that end, we’ve developed a list of five evening habits that will prepare you for a day of success. We encourage you to consider each one, and measure your aptitude on each.
Here are five evening habits that create tomorrow’s success:
1. Prioritize physical activity
This is a drum that has been beaten before, and will be beaten again: physical activity – of any and every kind – is absolutely critical to our well-being. This also includes our relative success. When we prioritize physical activity, we’re fine-tuning our minds and bodies for the work ahead of us.
Though not a “typical” time for working out, getting your sweat on at night can be beneficial. After all, what better time for a physical and mental tune-up than after a long day’s work? We could probably use some stress relief too, and exercise is arguably the best stress reliever out there.
2. Give loved ones your time
Of course, it is important to devote some of your valuable off-time to friends and family. Success isn’t truly success unless its achieved with your loved ones. One of the perceivable shortcomings of some of those who’ve achieved great success (e.g. Einstein) is that they did so while sacrificing their relationships. Maybe it wasn’t the intent of Mr. Einstein, but many of his relationships were an abysmal failure; though, the man himself remains one of the most celebrated.
Most of us are not Albert Einstein. We’re probably not going to devise anything similar to the Theory of Relativity; or attempt to provide an equation for the space/time continuum. But, whatever our definition of success is, we’re going to find it difficult to get there without prioritizing our loved ones. Even if we should achieve it, as Einstein did, that success may be more bittersweet.
3. Identify tomorrow’s three biggest tasks
This one is incredibly important. Many of us (this writer, included) are not particularly adept in short-listing our work…we kind of just “go with the flow” at times. The process of trying to achieve success is made more difficult when we don’t prioritize, and this includes in our work.
So, to make things simpler, jot down the tomorrow’s three most demanding tasks and commit to them early. In doing so, it’ll become more difficult to get sidetracked; either with less-important tasks or useless distractions. More energy will be expended in completing these tasks, while both our collective attention and energy will become much more focused.
4. Commit to lifelong learning
Success is more of a mental exercise than anything else. Our cognitive abilities directly impact the likelihood of success on any scale. Thus, it is important to keep our brain active. One of the best ways in ensuring that we remain cognitively-active is to learn something new, each and every day.
The world is saturated with enough interesting information to keep us occupied throughout multiple lifetimes. A terrific way to obtain this new information, while continually-developing our smarts, is to commit to reading for a designated period of time every evening. Give 15 minutes a go at first, and then commit to more if so willing and able.
5. Reflect on the day and give gratitude
Before a well-deserved sleep, make it a goal to reflect on the day. What were some of the successes? What could you have done better? Look forward–what will you do the same tomorrow? What will you do differently? Be honest with yourself.
The eclipsing day undoubtedly brought its trials; and sometimes it’s important to reflect on those, as mentioned above.
Just as important, however, is to recognize – and give gratitude towards – the many blessings that unfolded throughout the day. What are you grateful for? Remember that gratitude and carry it forward. As John F. Kennedy said: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciate is not to utter words, but to live by them.”