20 productive habits of rich and successful people
The vast majority of wealthy people do not get there by accident or luck. Accumulating wealth requires hard work, dedication, and most importantly, maintaining a specific set of habits that promote prosperity. As Aristotle said, “We are what we constantly do. So perfection is not an action, but a habit."
Written by Melissa Rudy
If you’re looking to train your focus at work and in life but don’t know where to start, these 20 habits of rich people can help light your path to success.
Common Habits of Rich and Successful People
1 Wake Up Early
There are many axioms about the benefits of getting up early, and they remain popular for a reason: getting up early is a powerful path to success. Millionaires simply do not sleep – they have too much to do every day.
Author Thomas Corley spent five years studying the lives and habits of rich and poor people before writing Rich Habits: The Daily Successful Habits of Rich People. Corley found that 44% of wealthy people wake up three hours before work starts, compared to just 3% of poor people.
2 Don’t Check Your Email First
If rich people get up earlier than others, what do they do with that extra time? Well, here’s what they don’t do: check their email. Many people find it productive to start the day by checking their email inbox, but rich people know there are better things to do with that early morning time.
Some people have a habit of meditating or writing in a diary, reading something educational, or getting a head start on an important project. Some people just eat a healthy breakfast and exercise. As a rule, wealthy people leave their inbox for a later date and don’t make email a top priority.
3 Eat Healthy Food
Wealthy people value their health and build their eating habits accordingly. Corley found that 57% of wealthy people count calories every day, as opposed to 5% of poor people. He also found that 70% of rich people consume less than 300 calories of junk food a day, but 97% of poor people eat more than that.
There are many reasons why rich people watch what they eat, but the most significant of them may well be to ensure a longer life – and therefore an increased opportunity to earn more.
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4 Exercise Regularly
Combined with a healthy diet, rich people also believe in staying in shape by exercising. Millionaires can be busy people, but they almost always find time in their days to work on their bodies. In fact, Corley reports that 76% of rich people get aerobic exercise at least four days a week, compared to 23% of poor people.
5 Set your main goal
Wealthy people choose a major life goal and focus on it with laser precision—even if it seems outrageous or unattainable. Everything they do, every decision they make, every action they take, is done with this primary goal in mind. It is this intense concentration that allows the rich to achieve what others only dream of. According to Corley, 80% of wealthy people focus on achieving one single goal, compared to 12% of poor people.
6 Write Goals
Goal setting is critical to achieving wealth, but if that were the only requirement, almost everyone would be rich. For the wealthy, setting specific goals and writing them down is a winning habit that works.
Of course, broad goals—like simply wanting to get rich—are not goals. Specific goal setting involves planning for something tangible, such as getting the sum of X in Y time through Z activities.
Successful goals are quite achievable, and the rich are deliberate, purposeful goal-setters. In fact, Corley claims that 62% of wealthy people focus on their goals every day, as opposed to 6% of poor people – and 67% of rich people put those goals in writing.
7 Keep a daily to-do list
In order to achieve a goal as overarching as wealth, you need to complete a series of smaller goals that feed into that main goal. For this reason, most rich people make daily to-do lists – 81% compared to 19% of the poor. What’s more, Corley found that 67% of wealthy people complete 70% or more of their to-do lists daily.
8 Believe that time is money.
Typically, wealthy people work hard to achieve their goals to the exclusion of most other activities. They avoid wasting time on unproductive things like social media and this is due to their belief that time is money and time wasted is money wasted.
Instead of looking at their weekly, monthly, or yearly income, wealthy people focus on how much they need to earn each hour—and how much money they will lose doing things that don’t make money. This allows them to avoid the temporary lapses that most poor people deal with on a regular basis.
9 Be frugal
There is a popular saying that you have to spend money to make money. While this is true, most non-wealthy people don’t take into account the fact that the more money you spend, the less you have – and spending more than you earn doesn’t lead to wealth.
Rich people avoid overspending. Just because they could drop half a million dollars for a brand new car doesn’t mean they do. Wealthy people invest their time comparing purchases and negotiations, getting the best deals for their dollars and saving more money than they spend. They develop reasonable budgets with the help of a service like personal capital and stick to them.
10 Take long meals.
Many wealthy people take lunch breaks for an hour or more. This may seem counter to the idea that time is money, but the rich also understand how to work smarter, not harder, and breaks are an important part of that. A long, relaxing lunch at noon allows you to freshen up and get back to work for a more productive time.
11 Read A Lot – But Not For Fun
Wealthy people tend to believe in the importance of self-improvement and continuing education, and they tend to turn to reading to satisfy those needs. Corley claims that 86% of rich people love to read, as opposed to 26% of poor people.
What they read is just as important as how much: A rich person’s chosen reading material is non-fiction, usually self-improvement. 88% of wealthy people spend at least 30 minutes every day reading this topic.
12 Take Calculated Risks
Wealthy people understand that risk leads to reward, and as a result, they are more willing to take risks, although they usually take calculated risks, not reckless ones. Moreover, rich people know exactly what they can lose if the risk does not bring its reward. They are more likely to have contingency plans in place to minimize potential repercussions if things don’t go according to plan.
13 Network with success
Wealthy people understand that in order to be successful, you must surround yourself with successful people. Making connections with other rich people or people with the energy and potential to become rich is critical to your own success.
Corley estimates that 79% of wealthy people spend at least five hours a month online—whether at a conference, client event, online webinar, or just over coffee—while only 16% of poor people are constantly social. This allows wealthy people to build their mindsets with others who have achieved success.
14 Know When to Stop Working
Hard work is critical for wealthy people, but they also understand the importance of taking personal time to relax and improve themselves. For this reason, they rarely work at night.
Knowing that if you force yourself to keep working every waking moment, you will only end up exhausted, inefficient, and unable to produce worthy results is a necessary condition for success. Rich people usually leave work at 5pm or 6pm and don’t come back until the next morning, according to Inc.
15 Give it back
Charity and philanthropy are the hallmarks of the rich. Those who are rich and successful tend to be generous with their wealth. This is confirmed by historical examples – from Nelson Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie to Carlos Slim and Bill Gates. Giving back to society and improving the world is an important characteristic of the rich.
16 Avoid TV
According to Corley, 67% of rich people watch TV for one hour or less a day, while only 23% of poor people limit their TV consumption. They also tend to avoid reality shows—only 6% of the rich watch them, compared to 78% of the poor. Rich people simply choose more productive ways to spend their time.
17 Avoid Gambling
Winning the lottery will make anyone instantly rich. However, for the most part, rich people do not believe in luck. Instead, they believe that actions and habits create an opportunity for good luck.
This is why only 6% of rich people play the lottery regularly compared to 77% of the poor. Wealthy people believe that you have to create your own luck by focusing and working hard.
18 Control Your Emotions
There is a general assumption that rich people can afford to be honest and straightforward, but the rich understand that not every thought or emotion needs to be conveyed. Good relationships are the most important foundation for financial success, and speaking your mind can damage those relationships. Only 6% of rich people regularly say what they think, compared to 69% of poor people.
19 Listen more and talk less
Effective communication is another critical skill for the wealthy, and listening is an essential part of it. In general, rich people spend five minutes listening every minute they speak. This allows them to truly understand where others are coming from and facilitate conversations that further develop the relationship and promote success.
20 Don’t Retire
While wealthy people may have extensive savings and large retirement portfolios, they usually have no intention of retiring – or at least not as early as others. According to a Gallup poll, the average retirement age for Americans is 61, but most wealthy people don’t plan to retire until at least 70 – not because they have to keep working, but because they want to.
The longer you keep working, the more money you can earn. The desire to stay healthy is linked to this goal. Wealthy people often choose not to retire, and since most people enjoy what they do, the idea of continuing to work is both welcome and reassuring.
The last word
Money does not solve all problems, but it is often a sign of passion, ability and drive in those who have acquired it. Try to incorporate these strategies into your daily life and work schedule, and put yourself in a position to increase your own wealth, both in money and in life.
Do you know any other habits of rich people?