8 habits that could help you do great things in 2017

It seems many of us agree that 2016 was a funny (or unfunny) old year. And as it slopes off behind us, cries of “onwards and upwards!” ring throughout the land. Whatever you’re aiming for this year, there are some tried-and-tested things you could do to help you achieve it. We’ve researched common habits some of our greatest minds swear by.

our new current account and instant savings account work beautifully together within one super-smart, app, powered by Clydesdale Bank & Yorkshire Bank. With B, there’s no monthly account fee. Compatible devices required to access all of B’s features. T&Cs apply. Subject to status & eligibility.

Plan your day evening before

The American writer Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” We reckon if your job involves eating frogs, you might want to start looking for a new one, but we agree with his point – it's often useful to deal with the weightiest tasks first, and deal with them early in the day.

A great way to do that is to make a list of the next day’s tasks and rate them in terms of time and complexity. Start with the biggest or most important then work your way down to the quickest and simplest.

Rise and shine

Did you know, if you got up just an hour earlier than you usually do each day, by the end of the year you’d have racked up an extra two full weeks of waking time? OK, so that might seem quite a challenge, but you could always start small (15 minutes or half an hour early) then build up to the hour.

"Small changes to a stressful lifestyle can make all the difference"

Get moving

Even the busiest successful people seem to find time for exercise. Vogue’s Anna Wintour reportedly wakes up at 5.45am every day to play tennis before her day starts, while Barack Obama told Men’s Health magazine that he does a 45-minute workout six days a week.

Not only will finding time to exercise make you feel a lot fitter, it’s proven to improve your brain’s cognitive functions, like memory and thought-processing. The time of day you exercise is up to you, but you could double it up with one of the other tasks we’ve mentioned in this blog, like listening to podcasts or drafting tomorrow’s to-do list.

Make a schedule to help you succeed

Think like a marathon runner and consider the importance of putting in regular, routine hours. If a runner trains 10 hours one week then not at all the next week, that finish line is going to seem a whole lot harder to reach. It can be helpful to set yourself specific time slots every day or week when you can concentrate on the goal in hand.

Recharge your batteries

According to anarticle by Lifehack, Bill Gates reads for an hour each night before bed, while Arianna Huffington (of the Huffington Post) ‘unplugs’ late at night, placing her mobile phone in a different room so it can’t distract her. These small changes to a stressful lifestyle can make all the difference, allowing you to find a balance between striving for your goal and simply enjoying your spare time – however little of it you may have. The point to learn from Gates and Huffington is not to just hope to find time for yourself, but to actually make it.

Find a mentor

Most of us have a role model or two (either friends or in the wider world), but there’s always space for another. You could search around for someone who’s already achieved close to what you’re aiming for , and see what you can learn from them. It may be someone you actually know or can meet in person, or it may be someone who writes books or blogs on the subject. Forums can be a good source of peer-to-peer advice and support too, since you might find others who are in the same boat.

Focus on a single goal

If you’re an ambitious kind of person, chances are your mind is always whirring with plans and ideas. But it could be stopping you from being able to focus on that one major aim. Eyes on the prize, friend! Whether it’s buying a house, starting a business, writing a book – whatever you’re aiming for – try to prioritise the most important task and be as single-minded as possible. And if you need to fund the goal, set a specific target amount (if you use B, your app’s Savings Pots function is really handy for this bit).

Keep learning

According to Standford psychologist Carol Dweck, while some people believe their success is based on innate ability (she calls this a ‘fixed mindset’), others believe their success is based on things like hard work and ongoing personal development (the ‘growth mindset’). In terms of reaching potential and achieving set goals, she views the growth mindset as more beneficial, enabling those people to overcome setbacks and actively address gaps in their knowledge or ability. So whether it’s on a small scale with books or podcasts, or you opt for a bigger commitment with courses or classes, personal development could be key to achieving that big goal.

What do you think? Will you be picking up any of these habits? Maybe you’re already doing some of them? Drop us a tweet and let us know!

This blog is a bit of fun and not intended to influence your decisions in any way. The content of the blog is reliable at the time of publishing, but we can’t guarantee that it is neither error nor omission free, beyond our knowledge. The links are there for you to explore if you wish, but we don’t have any connection with the third party sites, nor responsibility for them or their content.