Well, it depends on whom you ask. But while everyone’s journey to “success” and financial freedom are different, there’s one thing that most successful people have in common: successful habits.
Developing successful spending and saving habits can not only be the key to reaching financial freedom, but also the key factor that determines whether or not you “get rich.”
Importance of having successful daily habits
Author Thomas C. Corley spent five years studying people’s daily habits in an effort to figure out just how important they are to a person’s financial success. He studied both rich people (defined as having an annual income of $160,000 or more and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million or more) and poor people (defined as having an annual income of $35,000 or less and a liquid net worth of $5,000 or less).
He then identified trends among each group and broke them down into what he calls “rich habits” and “poverty habits.”
“From my research, I discovered that daily habits dictate how successful or unsuccessful you will be in life,” Corley states in his new book “Change Your Habits, Change Your Life.”
Losing these bad habits may not guarantee your success, but if you want to save more and get your money on the right track, it’s a great way to get started.
Check out these 11 daily habits that Corley determined are holding people back — along with the statistics revealed by his study (referred to as “the facts” below) and some tips to help you on your path to financial freedom!
11 daily habits keeping you from getting rich
“Self-made millionaires don’t pursue any get-rich quick schemes. Instead, they make a habit of pursuing their dreams and their goals,” says Corley.
52% of poor people gamble on sports at least once a week
77% of poor people play the lottery every week
84% of rich people never bet on sports and 94% don’t play the lottery
Bottom line: don’t waste your money.
2. Having an unhealthy diet
Corley found some pretty staggering statistics regarding the importance of health in a person’s journey to success.
97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories each day
69% of poor people eat fast food three or more times a week
69% of poor people eat candy more than twice a week
66% of poor people are overweight by at least 30 pounds
Developing healthy habits and valuing your health are crucial to long-term success. Things like exercising, eating healthy and sleeping enough, can have a big impact on your personal success. And the good news is you don’t have to already be rich to implement healthy habits!
3. Drinking too much booze
54% of poor drink more than two glasses of beer, wine, or alcohol each day
84% of the self-made millionaires drink less than that
Corley points out that drinking too much can affect your memory and ability to think clearly. And we’ll add that it’s also an expensive habit!
4. Hanging out with the wrong people
If you want to be successful but always find yourself hanging around people who clearly have different goals, well, that can become a big problem for you.
86% of rich people make a habit of associating with other success-minded people — and they try to avoid individuals who have a negative mindset.
4% of poor people associate with success-minded individuals — and a whopping 96% said they hang around people they consider negative or toxic.
Bottom line: if you want to be successful, it’s important to surround yourself with like-minded and supportive people.
Read more: How dressing for success leads to success
5. Watching too much TV
77% of poor people watched more than an hour of TV every day
67% of the self-made millionaires in Corley’s study watched less than an hour of TV every day
Corley points out that the rich would rather spend their time developing as an individual — by reading, thinking, exercising or any other activity that encourages self-education. “Making productive use of time” is what separates successful people from everyone else. Wasting time is what holds many people back.
Read more: 7 habits of successful people
6. Negative thinking
“Long-term success is only possible when you have a positive mental outlook,” Corley says. “If you stop to listen to your thoughts, to be aware of them, you’d find most of them are negative. But you only realize you are having these negative thoughts when you force yourself to be aware of them. Awareness is the key.”
Corley says procrastination “prevents even the most talented individuals from realizing success in life.”
“Whether you realize it or not, procrastination is a big reason why you are struggling financially in life. It damages your credibility with employers and fellow colleagues at work. It also affects the quality of your work and this affects the business you or your employer receives from customers, clients, and business relationships.”
So if you’ve been putting off taking control of your budget and financial life in general, it’s time to make it happen! You have to make the decision to take control of your own future, because no one is going to do it for you.
8. Avoiding feedback and criticism
“Feedback is essential to learning what is working and what isn’t working,” Corley says. “Feedback helps you understand if you are on the right track. Seeking criticism, good or bad, is a crucial element for learning and growth.”
Here’s how to listen to what your critics are saying.
One of the biggest keys to financial success is learning to live on less than you make.
95% of poor people did not save and most accumulated debt to subsidize their standard of living. They also have no money saved for retirement, their kids’ education or their own personal endeavors.
Learning to spend less than you earn — and finding ways to save as much as you can — are crucial to setting yourself up for success.
10. Keeping a job you hate
“Passion makes work fun,” Corley says. “Passion gives you the energy, persistence, and focus needed to overcome failures, mistakes, and rejection. It infuses you with a fanatical tenacity that makes it possible to overcome obstacles and pitfalls that block your path.”
Look for opportunities that provide the environment and flexibility that work best for you. Just like it’s important to surround yourself with supportive people, you need to support yourself in a way that encourages your long-term success.
11. Never going out of your comfort zone
“We so desire to blend in, to acclimate to society, to be a part of the herd, that we will do almost anything to avoid standing out in a crowd,” Corley says.
However, “failure to separate yourself from the herd is why most people never achieve success.”
If you never take risks, you’ll never be able to realize your full potential and new opportunities for success. “The pursuit of wealth requires that you take risks. Most don’t, and that’s why most are not wealthy.”