9 things unsuccessful people do at the start of every day

Success means something different for everyone. For some, it’s financial gain; for others, it’s more about personal satisfaction. 

But no matter how you define it, certain habits sabotage your chances of achieving your goals.

It’s easy to fall into repetitive behaviors that can trip you up. So how can you bypass the most common pitfalls that plague most unsuccessful people?

First, you have to identify the problem. To help you do so, here are nine behaviors of unsuccessful people you need to avoid.

1) Procrastination

Q: Do successful people procrastinate from time to time?

A: I’ll get back to you later.

OK, now it’s later, and yes, yes they do. But successful people don’t allow it to become a habit.

Be it daily mundane tasks or reaching an important professional milestone, one of the biggest challenges we encounter is taking that crucial first step. 

People who are successful understand that it’s crucial to take action without hesitation. They understand that it’s better in the long run to complete a task right away rather than putting it on the back burner. 

A major contributor to procrastination is feeling overwhelmed. Breaking down every project into small steps is an effective tactic to overcome this roadblock. 

But procrastination isn’t always indicative of impending failure. It can actually be useful if harnessed in a positive manner. 

Since I’ve perfected the “art” of procrastination, I can vouch for the effectiveness of the following technique, because it’s what gets me through most of my days. 

If there’s a task looming that you really don’t feel like doing, commit to working on it for five minutes. Set a timer, and after your five minutes are up, you’ll hopefully be on a roll and have the energy to complete the job at hand. 

If not, that’s OK, too. Set the job aside temporarily and try again later.

2) Winging it

Unsuccessful people tend to start their day without the benefit of a clear plan. They usually tackle tasks as they come at them although a proactive approach would reap better results. 

Successful people know the value of planning ahead. They know how to prioritize their to-do list and divvy up their time to reflect that.

So, while successful people begin their day with a pre-planned agenda, those who aren’t as successful tend to wing it and just hope for the best.

If this is you, it doesn’t mean you’re unmotivated or disorganized; you just haven’t experienced the benefits of a well-structured morning routine.

Whether it’s by jotting down a to-do list or their goals for that day, or even just visualizing how you’d like your day to unfold, successful people inherently understand the value of planning ahead.

The thing to remember if you want to garner results is the importance of implementing said plans. 

Ineffective people spin their wheels in planning mode, drowning in an endless cycle of second-guessing themselves. 

Sometimes unsuccessful people get stuck in the imagining phase. They fantasize about implementing their plans but fall short by not taking any of the necessary steps to achieve their goals. 

The best plans are useless unless put into action.

3) Negativity

Every new day has its own set of challenges to face. Less successful people completely focus on these hurdles from the moment they awaken, setting themselves up for failure before they’ve even had their coffee.

The tendency to dwell on what could go wrong with the tasks you’re dreading, or obsessing over the possible difficulties is self-sabotage on an epic scale.

If you have a negative mindset it can set the tone for your entire day, making it harder for them to navigate through their tasks.

Unsuccessful people tend to consider any sort of risk as bad. They only feel comfortable using a play book with already proven results. 

There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging or even implementing methods proven to be tried and true. But if you refuse to think and act outside the box, you’re sacrificing innovation for a false sense of security. 

4) Isolation over engagement

We all have days when we wake up and we’re tempted to cancel plans. As an introvert, I feel this in my soul. 

Sometimes, leaving the house is a Herculean task in itself, even if the reason is for something enjoyable.

In most cases, the anticipation is worse than the reality. We build things up in our minds to be far worse than they actually are, which can be paralyzing.  

But when you give in to this emotion, you’re not a full participant in your own life

5) Oversleeping

How many times have you slept in to wake up with a start because you had somewhere to be, and now you’re running late on the verge of panic? 

It’s happened to me once or twice, and it definitely sets the stage for the entire day, but not in a good way.

When you sleep in too late, you begin your day in rush-rush-rush mode which often leads to anxiety.

When you’re pressed for time it’s common to forget things, so instead of heading out for the day with all your ducks in a row, you’re flustered and pumped full of adrenaline with a bunch of deranged ducks running around. 

It’s not an ideal way to start your day. 

When you begin your morning flustered, odds are that you’ll continue to feel that way for the rest of the day. This results in decreased productivity and a loss of control. 

In the long run, oversleeping can be detrimental to your health by messing with your circadian rhythms.

6) Skipping breakfast

My father and I had an ongoing battle while I was growing up, and that was breakfast. 

He’d insist it was the most important meal of the day while I’d wrinkle my nose in disgust at the eggs or oatmeal he was trying to tempt me with.

I finally paid attention when I matured enough to realize my father went from being a farm boy to a successful business owner, and I might want to heed his advice.

In the short term, it may seem like grabbing a quick cup of coffee while you’re on your way out the door is a time-saver, but in reality, it’s the harbinger of a day dominated by fatigue and poor productivity.

So, if you’ve fallen into the habit of skipping breakfast so you can hit the snooze button a few more times, you’re setting yourself up for failure.  

7) Inadequate hydration

Let me say right off the bat that I love my morning coffee to kick start my day. Like, a lot. My soul may desire coffee’s sweet embrace, but my body is crying out for water.

Dehydration can lead to trouble concentrating and feeling generally unwell, which isn’t a recipe for a productive day.

This is the reason why many successful people start their day off with a glass of water. Water flushes away toxins and kick-starts your metabolism. 

Adequate hydration is crucial for maintaining both your physical and mental well-being, so chug some water before downing your morning coffee.

8) Immediately surfing the web

I don’t know about you, but I find it way too easy to hop on my phone the minute I wake up

Before I’m even fully awake, I’m reading emails, catching up on the news, and allowing social media to suck me in.

I haven’t even set my feet on the ground, and I’m already distracted and drifting off-course. 

Be honest. How often have you fallen down a rabbit hole as the minutes tick away, only to suddenly realize you’re already behind schedule? 

Unsuccessful people have short attention spans and therefore are easily distracted. If you have ADHD like I do, you know what I mean.

Make an effort to make your bed a phone-free zone. Try to keep it out of reach if possible. 

9) Avoiding exercise 

Unsuccessful people tend to ignore the importance of physical activity during their morning routine. Instead of engaging in light exercise to kickstart their day, they jump straight into work mode.

Exercise is as good for your mind as it is for your body. It realizes a flood of endorphins, or ‘happy’ hormones

Endorphins relieve stress, combat anxiety, and ease depression. They also improve your self-esteem and possibly your brain function and memory as well.

Successful people generally understand the importance of moving their bodies at the start of the day. 

It can be a brisk walk, a quick yoga session, or even some simple stretches, but they make the effort to include physical activity in their morning routines.

Final thoughts

Once you’re aware of the habits and mindsets that keep you from succeeding, it’s time to assess your morning schedule and adjust accordingly. 

With a little self-discipline, you can take your mornings from chaotic to efficient, and you’ll reap the benefits the entire day. 

Kathy Copeland Padden

Kathy Copeland Padden lives in a New England forest paradise with her cats, kid, and trusty laptop. She has been writing since age 8 and is such a pack rat she can back that up with physical evidence. Music is her solace and words are her drug, so her house is strewn with records and books. Watch your step.

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