7 Habits of Highly Effective People That Can Change Your Life

Habits are the building blocks of our life situations. Practicing these 7 habits of highly effective people can help you to achieve your goals.

Our habits – whether deliberate or accidental – are the building blocks of our life situations and how highly effective we can be. In fact, the habits of highly effective people has been written about extensively since the publication of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen Covey in 2004.

We can cultivate good habits and let them carry us to success, or we can let bad habits accumulate until we become victims of our actions.

As the philosopher Will Durant wrote when summarizing Aristotle, once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

"We are what we repeatedly do" - Will Durant Quote

In comparison to habits, other drivers like inspiration and motivation are fleeting. The entrepreneur Jim Rohn put it best: “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.”

In short, applying the habits of successful people to our lives can help us become more effective in achieving our goals.

(Psst! While we feature certain third party brands in this article, we are not affiliated with them.)

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

What do you want to achieve? What life situation do you want to create for yourself and your loved ones? Whatever it is, these success habits can help.

1. They’re Goal-Oriented

Highly successful people always have their end goal in mind.

Listen to the famed salesman and author Zig Ziglar: “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

Effective people define their end goal and then work their way backward, reverse engineering the steps they need to take to achieve it.

In other words, they don’t just work hard – they work smart.

As the management consultant Peter Drucker once said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.”

Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” - Peter Drucker

2. They’re Proactive

Highly effective people are proactive in working towards their goals. That’s why the famous artist Pablo Picasso said, “Action is the foundational key to all success.”

They take charge and responsibility for their life situations, proactively manage their time, and take initiative.

They don’t let life happen to them – and if it does, they work to change it.

In other words, successful people are not reactive. They don’t procrastinate or get distracted by deceptively urgent but unimportant tasks.

Instead, they stay in the driver’s seat and work on what’s most important.

3. They Listen Intently

Another successful habit of highly effective people is intentional, empathetic listening.

The writer Ernest Hemingway once said, “When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen.” 

However, many people only listen so that they can formulate a response. Truly effective people don’t listen to reply – they listen to understand.

When effective people are presented with a problem, they take the time to truly understand the situation and the other person’s thoughts and feelings. Then they can respond effectively, taking into account everything they’ve learned from the other person.

The stoic philosopher Zeno of Citium said, “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak.”

Zeno of Citium - “We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we speak.”

4. They Develop Quality Relationships

Highly successful people proactively develop and maintain quality relationships.

The writer Ben Stein said it best: “Personal relationships are the fertile soil from which all advancement, all success, all achievement in real life grows.”

Highly effective people know that “two heads are better than one,” and seek to collaborate with others.

When negotiating, highly effective people work to create win-win situations. They know that if someone loses, resentment can build and relationships can crumble.

Take it from Zig Ziglar: “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help other people get what they want.”

5. They Maintain Their Integrity

Successful people work to cultivate integrity and honesty.

The hotelier Maria Razumich-Zec said, “Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.”

“Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you're going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.” - Maria Razumich-Zec

In other words, integrity and honesty are vital to success and effectiveness.

They inspire respect, confidence, and trust in other people. Integrity also keeps us true to values such as hard work, dedication, and persistence – which increase our ability to be effective over time.

6. They’re Health-Conscious

“The foundation of success in life is good health: that is the substratum fortune; it is also the basis of happiness,” said the American showman P. T. Barnum. “A person cannot accumulate a fortune very well when he is sick.”

Without good health and wellbeing, no one can operate effectively.

This is why highly successful people work to improve their diet, sleep, fitness, emotional wellbeing, mental agility, and spiritual connection.

They also take time to rest and rejuvenate so that they can be effective in the long-run.

As Tony Robbins said, “The higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.”

7. They’re Self-Disciplined

Self-discipline is the fuel used to create effective habits. 

Without it, cultivating good habits is impossible, but “with self-discipline, most anything is possible,” said U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt.

'With self-discipline, almost anything is possible' - Theodore Roosevelt

Highly effective people focus on developing self-mastery through the determined application of self-discipline.

They act in line with their values and the actions they need to take to reach their goals. They employ self-discipline to ignore any impulse to procrastinate, self-sabotage or give up.

As the entrepreneur, Jim Rohn said, “Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”

Summary: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

In summary, here are 7 habits of highly effective people:

  1. They’re Goal-oriented
  2. They’re Proactive
  3. They listen intently
  4. They build quality relationships
  5. They maintain their integrity
  6. They’re health-conscious
  7. They’re self-disciplined

Applied effectively, these habits of successful people can help you achieve your goals!

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