On the path to self-improvement, it’s natural to compare yourself to others and wonder how it is that they seem so happy and successful. How did they land such an amazing job? How do they manage to stay so fit? How do they get so much done during the day?

First, stop comparing yourself to others. The formula for success is not one-size-fits-all. Everyone has different goals and circumstances they need to work within to accomplish those goals. Do you know what your goals are?

Goal-setting is certainly where you should start in deciding how to create real change in your life for the better and start out on the path to greater success. There are other common activities that all successful people work into their routines, from CEO’s of major corporations to self-employed entrepreneurs.

Create Quality Goals

Management by Objective is a series of goal-setting principles created by an Austrian consultant some 60 years ago that has since been used by the most successful people in the world to achieve big results in their personal and professional lives. The system of goal-setting is also called the SMART approach, which forces you to focus on what you want to achieve as being specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable and time-bound.

By setting SMART goals, success becomes habitual. You no longer are hounded by questions of why your daily routine is the way it is. Your only focus is on hitting your goals and setting the bar higher.

Exercise and Eat Right

The benefits of a healthy diet and active lifestyle on all parts of a person’s life are well documented. Active people are more self confident and have greater energy levels which makes them more productive at work and happier overall. When you fuel your body with the nutrients it needs, it will respond well, just like you need to fill your car with gas.

Despite what you may think, a healthy diet doesn’t mean you need to remove the fun from eating or cut out all of your favorite foods. The popularity of clean eating is growing so rapidly that there are plenty of resources like cookbooks and blogs you can reference to learn about the most delicious cuisines you didn’t even know were good for you.

Exercise doesn’t need to be a chore, either. Find a partner, make a new music playlist and find enjoyment in your workout. Then, you won’t just be physically fit, but mentally fit as well.

Plan the Day Ahead of Time

When you finally put your head to rest after a long day, your mind must be clear or your sleep will suffer. It helps to spend 20-30 minutes sometime before you go to sleep to make sure you have a clear sense of what lies ahead of you the next day.

Write down the most important tasks you need to accomplish, like sending an email, completing a report or running an errand. Set blocks of time for yourself to accomplish each set task, giving yourself a little leeway in case something unexpected arises in your day like a phone call or a visitor.

Now, when you hop into bed, you will feel relieved that everything you plan to do when you wake up is laid out for you.

Wake Up Early

If you have to struggle to force yourself to get up in the morning, it could be that you aren’t going to bed early enough. It may also mean that you are unhappy or dissatisfied with your daily routine.

The morning is the most productive time of the day for the most successful people. They use the early hours to exercise, meditate, read, write or just reflect with a level of tranquility that usually can’t be found later in the day.

Think about how peaceful and quiet it was the last time you woke up early, before the sun rose. While everyone else is asleep, or tapping the snooze button, you are found undisturbed enjoying some alone time to accomplish the things you may not otherwise have the opportunity to focus on, like writing chapters in a book or painting.

Finish Important Tasks Before Noon

When you map out your day ahead, set your most pressing tasks and the ones you enjoy the least for the morning. By getting the least those tasks done with early, you can enjoy the rest of your day later.

Deadlines also give you a weighty feeling like a dark cloud that looms over you, even when you aren’t fully aware of its presence. There is a sense of relief that comes with drawing a red line through a pesky item on your agenda. All of the sudden, the clouds hovering over your day begin to break and your mood becomes a whole lot brighter when you accomplish what you set out to do.

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