I’m not here to tell you that you have to be busy 24/7 to be successful.
I’m not here to perpetuate that trendy but unsustainable, toxic “hustle” mindset.
What I will do is provide you with a few general habits that successful people tend to do in their free time.
Contrary to popular belief, becoming a success in life is not all about working until you’re burnt out or waking up at ungodly hours to hit the weight room.
Frankly, if there’s anything I’ve learned about successful people, it’s that balance is almost always the priority.
Let’s dive in!
1) They read
Real talk: Successful people don’t spend their free time mindlessly lying on the couch watching Love is Blind reruns with tortilla chip crumbs on their chests.
Yes, occasionally letting go and doing nothing is fine, sometimes even encouraged.
But successful people never make it their default option.
Instead, they focus on enriching themselves intellectually–and a significant means to getting there is through voracious reading.
They actively seek out a wide-ranging variety of reading materials from classic novels, to nonfiction biographies, academic journals, to well-written articles on topics they may not know much about.
They like to challenge themselves through reading, with growth and increasing their knowledge of the world always top of mind.
2) They get moving
Successful people are fully aware of the countless benefits exercise has on their physical and mental well-being.
Hence, they know that to get the version of themselves, exercise is a prerequisite.
The secret’s out: Regular exercise won’t just keep you physically healthy, it will also boost your mood and increase energy levels tremendously–both things that significantly raise your chances of living a successful life.
So if you haven’t already, consider this a sign to get off that butt and start moving!
You’ll feel some palpable changes almost instantly.
3) They meditate
This isn’t some new-age psycho-babble, it’s proven: practicing mindfulness and meditation can play integral roles in enhancing concentration, clearing the mind, and decreasing stress levels.
All the above things encourage productivity.
By being mindful, you are focused on the present and not caught up with petty anxieties and distractions from the past or future.
Start setting aside some time in your day to meditate.
Once you get into the swing of things, you’ll feel far more capable of tackling life’s many challenges.
4) They network
The successful person understands that no man or woman is an island.
If you want to make the most out of your career goals, then make it a point to build and maintain relationships with people in your industry, and even those who aren’t.
You never know what type of doors will open for you as a result.
Effective networking will allow you to exchange ideas, soak in new information, and get leads for all kinds of career goals that you might not have known even existed.
One of my closest buddies got his job as a counselor by volunteering at a local homeless shelter.
Turns out, one of his fellow volunteers he befriended that day ran a school and hired him on the spot.
Trust me, these types of opportunities present themselves all the time.
You don’t have to become a social butterfly overnight. But you do have to make the effort to get out there!
5) They pursue hobbies
By keeping yourself busy, you not only become more well-rounded, but your mind also gets into the rhythm of being stimulated, breaking the monotony of day-to-day living.
So if you don’t have hobbies, perhaps it’s time to consider finding a few new things that can keep you occupied.
From the artistic to the active to the more niche stuff, there’s no shortage of hobbies in this world.
On weekends, I like to cook elaborate meals for my family.
It’s something I can genuinely look forward to after a moderately stressful week at work.
I spend the day going through ingredients, shopping at the grocery, and then executing my carefully crafted menu.
I find the entire process, from the excitement of finding a challenging recipe to seeing my parents devouring their plates with gusto, to be highly therapeutic.
It gives me a feeling of peace.
Hobbies in general are an ideal way of recharging your batteries, making you feel equipped for the week ahead.
6) They engage in volunteer work
Whether it’s from work or personal issues, life can overwhelm us.
Occasionally, we get a tad too immersed in our own thoughts.
As a way of regaining perspective, engaging in volunteer work goes a long way.
When you start living for something bigger than yourself, you’ll inevitably feel a sense of clarity.
Giving back and altruistically helping a community tends to also give us a powerful feeling of self-fulfillment that we simply cannot attain from other outlets, like work or hobbies.
7) They travel
Since we’re on the topic of gaining perspective, travel is another effective way of achieving it.
Think about it: When you travel, you experience strange and exotic lands, meet the locals, and try their cuisines.
If you have the right approach, this can be an incredibly satisfying experience and one that can help you feel inspired and relaxed.
Successful people aren’t content with living ordinary existences, hence travel provides them with an exciting outlet to spice things up.
There’s nothing like a change of setting to reignite their passion for life when things get a little too mundane and predictable.
Take it from the late travel icon Anthony Bourdain: “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart… The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.”
8) They plan strategically
Generally speaking, successful people don’t achieve such incredible feats by chance.
They will often spend free time reflecting on potential goals and carefully strategizing how to accomplish them.
This is a systematic process of reviewing their progress, analyzing the numbers, and setting new targets and their respective timelines.
Sure, you can just wing it and coast through your career–but the ceiling for this approach will likely be marginal at best.
If you want to do great things in life, planning is almost always necessary; the successful person has a firm understanding of this.
For me, success means being able to go to bed at night and feeling content in numerous aspects of life–not just having money in the bank.
Ultimately, the goal isn’t simply to become richer, it’s to be a well-rounded person.
So keep striving to follow these guidelines. Take baby steps, don’t overwhelm yourself.
Always keep balance a top priority.
As long as you’re moving forward, you’re already in a better place than you were yesterday–one where success is perpetually on the horizon.
Give yourself credit for that.