They read a lot, and mostly nonfiction.
Tom Corley, an accountant and financial planner, surveyed 233 wealthy individuals, mostly self-made millionaires, and found interesting patterns among them. A huge majority of these rich people, 88 percent, say they devote 30 minutes or more each day to reading, according to CNBC . Most of those prefer nonfiction works like biographies, history, and self-help books. Billionaire investment guru Warren Buffett reportedly once said that reading is the most important habit he’s picked up. “I just sit in my office and read all day,” he told The Week.
They meditate to clear their heads and stay sharp.
Meditation isn’t just for yoga nuts. Research has found that meditation has mental and physical benefits, including improving memory. Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey wakes up at 5 a.m. every morning and immediately meditates. Oprah is a fan of the practice, too.
They get up early.
Nearly 50 percent of the wealthy people researched by Corley, who wrote the book Change Your Habits, Change Your Life , say they wake up at least three hours before their workday starts. Many use the time to tackle side projects, work out, or plan. So if you’re hitting snooze until you have to drag yourself to the office, you might want to rethink your strategies.
But they also manage to sleep a lot.
Albert Einstein said he needed 10 hours of sleep a night to function at his best. Millionaire media maven Arianna Huffington has preached “sleep as a performance enhancer.” Corley found that 89 percent of self-made millionaires sleep seven or eight hours a night, or even more. “Sleep is critical to success,” he wrote.
They make time for exercise.
Hitting the gym regularly doesn’t just help you get vanity muscles. Research shows that the kind of working out that “gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping,” according to Harvard Health Publishing, actually improves memory and learning. Corley reports that 76 percent of his wealthy survey respondents say they spend 30 minutes or more each day on aerobic exercise like running or biking. Billionaire Richard Branson even claims that staying fit doubles his productivity.
They’re consciously working on their communication skills.
Lifehack distilled self-help principles in an article and found that highly successful people are clear communicators—and they’re constantly trying to get better. Spending your day with data and facts doesn’t do much good if you can’t translate the information to people around you. Branson has said that “communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” In a blog post on the value of communication, he quoted self-help author Brian Tracy saying, “If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”
Including talking to themselves.
Michal Stawicki, author of Directed by Purpose , says that in his research on success, he’s found that high-performing individuals have running conversations with themselves. That doesn’t necessarily mean muttering to yourself, though. “What allows them to beat their opponents is not more time spent honing their skills, but more focus on perfecting their internal dialogue,” Stawicki said. Research has found that talking to yourself can help you see situations objectively and motivate you.