If you adopt these 9 habits, you’ll reach your full potential in life

More and more, people are seeking to live their best life.

Rather than accept the status quo, they want to be more intentional: this means choosing to live life on their own terms—and making full use of their talents.

But how can we prime ourselves to reach our fullest potential?

Here are nine habits that can help you live up to your highest good.

1) Create a new comfort zone

Wait, what? Aren’t we always being told to step out of our comfort zones to learn and grow?

Hear us out.

Your new comfort zone is also a learning zone, says Oliver Page of Positive Psychology.

Entering this learning zone means to get comfortable with the idea of fear. Stepping out of your comfort zone becomes so routine that it doesn’t scare you so much.

In the beginning it definitely takes courage to step from the comfort zone into the fear zone, says Page.

“Without a clear roadmap, there’s no way to build on previous experiences. This can be anxiety provoking. Yet [if you] persevere long enough, and you enter the learning zone, where you gain new skills and deal with challenges resourcefully.”

Page says that after a learning period, a new comfort zone is created, expanding one’s ability to reach even greater heights. This is what it means to be in the growth zone.

2) Be picky about the people you keep company with

“When you surround yourself with smart, authentic people, you’ll not only expand your knowledge, you’ll also have a support community that will propel you to become a better version of you,” says growth marketer Matthew Royse.

“You’ll soak up their interests, goals, and expertise. Success breeds more success.”

Successful people learn from successful people, Royse continues. “When you are successful, you become more optimistic, confident, and valuable. Successful people like to associate themselves with other successful people.”

It’s no secret that the people you spend the most time with shape who you are.

“They determine what conversations and ideas dominate your attention,” says Royse. This includes activities you do or don’t do.

So be discerning about who you decide to spend your time with on a daily basis.

3) Read regularly to keep your mind sharp

Reading is one of the best ways to expand and enlighten our minds.

It makes you smarter but it also boosts your brainpower.

Just like going for a jog exercises your cardiovascular system, reading regularly improves memory function by giving your brain a good workout, say science and lifestyle experts.

“Reading is an entertaining activity that doubles as an exercise for your brain,” says Insider science and health journalist Lia Tabackman.

Regularly reading can even help slow down the aging process and keep our minds sharper for longer, according to research from Neurology.

4) Make the most out of your mornings

habits of emotionally intelligent people that foster better relationships 1 If you adopt these 9 habits, you’ll reach your full potential in life

Canadian self-help writer Robin Sharma, of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari fame, wrote a book in the recent past called The 5 AM Club.

The book talks about the power of being an early riser. They start their day with intention. Sharma says the first hour after you wake up is your most productive hour of the day.

This is because our body and our brain is recharged and more capable of creative thought and sharp focus.

Another reason to rise before dawn is because the world is quiet: there are no distractions to take over your attention and cognitive energy.

Celebs who are sworn members of the 5AM Club? How about Oprah, Deepika Chopra, Tony Robbins, and Bill Gates.

5) Sleep has a lot to do with success

Reaching your full potential isn’t something that happens in a day, week, or even a year. It’s a long term commitment.

That’s why it’s vital to take care of your mind, body, and soul in the process. This means eating right, not over-indulging in alcohol—and especially not neglecting your sleep.

“Research shows that sleep is critical for memory function, learning, reproductive health, and avoiding cognitive decline with age,” says Kelly Labrecque from BetterUp.

Labrecque recommends watching Matthew Walker’s TED talk “Sleep is your Superpower”.

If you want to live your best life, good quality sleep will set you up to make the best decisions for you, be good for your health, and also help your mood.

6) Get going to keep growing

If you’re only focusing on what’s in front of you, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day—and before you know it, years have gone by.

Many self-help experts talk about how you have to be intentional to accomplish your goals. For example if you want to be a writer, take 30 minutes out of your day to write.

If your dream is to write a book, spend a Saturday putting together a book outline. Then, spend every spare minute you have researching book publishers. Even email published writers on tips of how to pitch your work.

The point is you have to actively pursue your passions bit by bit until you are able to do it full time.

I think the mistake a lot of people make is that they have to save up enough money to quit their jobs and then can they start going after their dreams. That could take years and life events can throw you off track.

Go for your dreams right now. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day. Soon enough it will become a part of your routine and it will build and grow.

I have to throw in that quote from the film Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.”

7) Routinely step back and reflect

Living up to your potential doesn’t mean it’s go go go all the time.

It is essential to periodically step back and take stock of how far you’ve come and where you want to go—because sometimes rerouting is the way forward.

Reflection is [also] an important exercise for the brain, says the Australian College of Applied Professions.

“It gives it the space to process events and experiences so we can start to view them differently. The brain creates a meaning from this process, which becomes a learning – and it’s this learning which helps us as we move forward.”

8) Think about how you want to allocate your time

youre more ambitious than you realise If you adopt these 9 habits, you’ll reach your full potential in life

Before I became a full-time freelance journalist, I worked in education. When my father became ill with kidney disease, he had many specialist appointments that he needed to go to. My father also had advanced diabetes and was losing his eyesight so he couldn’t drive himself.

On top of that, he was having blood transfusions from time to time whenever his blood count would be low, not to mention diabetic seizures. There were a lot of trips to the emergency on top of the appointments.

As a family, we took turns with appointments and of course in an emergency we were all there.

Taking “a lot” of time off for all of the above was a sore point with my employer. I understood their perspective, but at the same time I wasn’t going to let anyone tell me I couldn’t be with my father when he needed me.

I was an advocate for his health and wanted to be there for appointments and procedures so that I knew exactly what was going on.

What does this have to do with living up to your potential?

It is important to me to have control over how I use my time. I realized that I needed a profession that was not only more flexible, but also one where I didn’t have to answer to anybody.

If I want to take care of something personal, I can. If I’m overloaded with work and want to take a day or two off (as long as I’m meeting agreed-upon deadlines), I can. If I want to take a trip, I don’t have to clear it with a higher up.

Living your best life has a lot to do with living life on your own terms.

9) Frame the idea of “failure” differently

We all have heard of how author JK Rowling of Harry Potter fame was rejected over and over by publishing houses before Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone was finally given a second look. Rowling was divorced, living on welfare, and was finding it difficult to feed her baby.

Stephan King has a similar story. The author, celebrated for books like The Shining, Misery, and Salem’s Lot, had been struggling when he was first attempting to write.

King—who lived in a trailer with his wife—received 60 rejections before selling his first short story, The Glass Floor, for $35. His first novel, Carrie, might be a bestselling book with a cult following today, but King sold it for a very small advance. The hardcover sold only 13,000 copies.

Soon after Signet Books signed on for the paperback rights for $400,000—$200,000 of which went to King—and his career started to soar from there.

Both Rowling and King prove that failure is simply part of the process. It helps you develop a thicker skin, re-route, and refine your craft.

It’s okay and understandable to feel disappointed, but seeing failure as feedback can change your outlook.

Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur is a Toronto-based journalist whose work has been published by The Globe & Mail, ELLE USA, ELLE Canada, British Vogue, Town & Country, and others.

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