10 habits of highly independent people (and how you can cultivate them too)

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Being highly independent comes with many benefits; never having to rely on anyone else, being in control of your life, and gaining increased self-confidence.

We all know someone like this, but how did they get there? What makes someone highly independent?

The truth is, small habits built up over time lead to a more independent mindset and lifestyle!

So, if you’d like to be a highly independent person, check out these habits and be sure to follow the tips below!

1. They set goals and work toward them

One habit that highly independent people do that sets them apart from the rest is setting goals…and plowing through til the finish line!

Independent people are usually extremely driven.

They know what they want out of life and they won’t stop until they get it, whether that be their dream career, a house of their own, or a lifestyle that allows them to travel the world!

Try this:

Start small – set little goals, even for tasks like cleaning your house. Set timers to help you achieve your goals, and give yourself a little reward at the end!

2. They take responsibility for their actions

When an independent person sets goals, the responsibility is on them to complete these goals. But that’s not all…

Independent people make it a habit to be responsible for themselves in ALL areas of life.

That includes how they treat others, behave at work, and importantly, they’re able to hold their hands up and take accountability for when things go wrong!

Try this:

Reflecting on your actions is a great way to start taking responsibility for yourself. Avoid playing the blame game or looking for excuses.

If you can be honest with yourself and others, over time, taking accountability will become second nature.

3. They’re comfortable spending time alone

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but another habit of highly independent people is enjoying spending time alone.

They are the people you see casually drinking a glass of wine alone in a restaurant, or taking solo holidays and reveling in the solitude of their own company.

So, why do they do this?

To be independent means, by default, not needing anyone else.

But this doesn’t just apply to work or lifestyle, it means being able to be your own source of company and happiness. Put simply:

Independent people don’t need anyone else to have a good time!

Try this:

It may seem daunting at first, but trust me, it’ll get easier. Take baby steps, try going out for a coffee by yourself, slowly working your way up to eating in a restaurant alone, or even venturing on a little weekend getaway alone!

4. They enjoy taking on challenges

If the sound of my previous point sounds terrifying, well, I’m sorry to break it to you but this next one isn’t going to be any easier to digest!

That’s because independent people make it a habit to seek out challenges and face them head-on!

The truth is…

To be independent, you need to face the world’s challenges on your own. That doesn’t mean independent people never ask for help; on the contrary, they do.

But they also enjoy working things out for themselves. The bigger the challenge, the larger the sense of accomplishment at the end!

Try this:

Set yourself a challenge a day. It could be something as simple as trying something new once a day, building or upcycling furniture, or taking on a new project at work.

The point is, the more you challenge yourself, the sooner your confidence will grow and you’ll be on the way to total independence!

5. They’re extremely self-motivated

This point very much relates back to my first point – independent people don’t just set goals and achieve them, they’re also highly self-motivated.

They have a natural desire to get things done, and they don’t need a looming deadline or a stressed-out boss to whip them into shape.

Try this:

  • Set small, achievable goals
  • Break these goals down into chunks so they’re easier to complete
  • Prioritize doing the hardest tasks first
  • Keep in mind the big picture whenever you feel like giving up
  • Reward yourself whenever you complete a task (a reward could be as simple as hanging out with your cat for 5 minutes or treating yourself to ice cream!)

6. They’re able to make decisions on their own

Following on from my previous point, one of the reasons why independent people are self-motivated is that they don’t need to rely on anyone else.

Especially when it comes to making their own decisions.

They have the self-confidence to carve their own path instead of following the crowd…this gives them more control over their lives and the outcomes of their actions!

Try this:

The next time you have to make a decision, take a moment to think. Gather all the information you have, weigh up the pros and cons, and evaluate the risk vs reward.

But here’s the hardest part; you’ve got to believe in yourself. Trust your opinion and follow through with your decision. Even if you make a mistake, it’s a learning curve. Next time, you’ll do better!

7. They set boundaries and say “no” when necessary

One of the reasons why independent people are able to make good decisions is because they have strong boundaries.

Put simply, they’re not afraid to say no, and they certainly don’t allow people to mistreat them or walk all over them!

Whilst this doesn’t come overnight, setting boundaries is highly worth learning. It increases self-confidence and esteem, and sets a standard for how you wish to be treated by others!

Try this:

  • First, get clear on what your boundaries are
  • Next, communicate these boundaries when needed, clearly and calmly
  • Practice saying no, and recognize that by doing so, your intention isn’t to hurt others, but to put your well-being first
  • If someone repeatedly violates a boundary, you may need to reevaluate your relationship with them.

Not only does setting boundaries achieve what I mentioned above, but it’ll also help with my next point…

8. They manage their time effectively

When you’re able to say NO to things that aren’t productive or worth your time, it’s funny how you’re suddenly able to manage yourself more efficiently!

The truth is, this is something independent people have down to a T! Their strong boundaries allow them to only focus on priority issues.

They also recognize that to get things done, they need to be on top of their timing.

Forget waking up at 12 in the afternoon, independent people tend to get their most important jobs done first thing so they can concentrate on other tasks later in the day!

Try this:

As well as working on your boundaries, you can also start by setting yourself a time limit to complete your tasks. I personally find this extremely helpful both from a time management point of view and a self-motivation stance.

An example, if starting small, would be to set the timer to 30 minutes and see how much of a task you can get done.

You may need to adjust as you go along, but eventually, you’ll learn to break tasks down into time slots, making your day much more organized and efficient!

9. They’re able to communicate effectively

Next up on our list is communication. This is another habit that independent people form; being able to express themselves clearly and manage conflict effectively.

Put it this way:

If you’re unable to communicate in different environments with different types of people, it’ll only hinder your independence.

But, by being able to listen, communicate clearly, and reach positive resolutions,
independent people ensure their interactions with other people go smoothly!

Try this:

  • Practice active listening by giving people your full undivided attention.
  • Use simple and concise language when talking to others
  • Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as body language
  • Reflect after each conversation; what could you have done better?

Good communication is one of the most important tools a person can have. So, if you want to be more independent, this is a great starting place!

10. They’re self-reliant and not dependent on others

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an important point (hence why it made the list)…Independent people are extremely self-reliant!

I’ve already touched on this in the points above but I wanted to explain why independent people take this habit so seriously…

The truth is, when you’re able to rely on only yourself, it’s exhilarating and freeing. You no longer need to wait on others to get things done.

Just think back to when you first got a car; didn’t it feel amazing to be able to go out whenever you wanted without asking someone else for a lift?

Now apply this feeling to every area of your life. This is why independent people chose to be completely self-reliant!

Try this:

Often, we avoid being self-reliant because we believe we “can’t” do something alone. So, the next time you’re about to ask for help, stop and think about whether you could actually do this task alone.

Over time, you’ll begin to reduce how much you rely on others!

With these 10 habits, anyone can work their way to being highly independent. It all has to start somewhere though, so take a deep breath, remember to take “baby steps” and off you go!

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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