Career Productivity Skills Development

The One Thing That All Successful People Have in Common | 10 Tips to Develop It

No one has ever achieved any measure of success without self-discipline. All truly successful people have this in common.

Success Stories 

John Maxwell read leadership books for one hour daily for five years with the aim of becoming a leadership expert. He has achieved that goal.

Warren Buffet, one of the most successful investors of the world, reads 500 pages every day. The Buffet formula is “going to bed smarter than when you woke up.” 


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Serena Williams trains four hours a day.

In the book “The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko, their research has found that a surprising number of millionaires are among the middle class and blue-collar workers, and not among the wealthy or persons having affluent professions. These financially disciplined people live below their means and choose to regularly save and invest little by little over a lifetime.

“Successful people form habits that feed their success, instead of habits that feed their failure.” – Jeff Olson in his book “The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success”

Simply put, self-discipline is the act of doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done regardless of your feelings at the time. In essence, it requires self-control which thankfully, is available for all true Christians. 

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-23

Success in key areas 

As Christians, we want to achieve success in key areas in our relationships (especially with God), our health, our finances, and our personal development. We want overall success and not one-sided success. What’s the sense of becoming the wealthiest woman on earth at the expense of your relationship with God? The grave would only be able to hold your body and a few small items.

Habits are the wings on which self-discipline flies. They go hand in hand. The habits that you form will either advance your life goals or sabotage them. It doesn’t matter how much you pray about your life plans; if you’re one of the best in the field; or if you’ve gotten prophecies about your future greatness. If you don’t become a disciplined person, you will fall short of your dreams and never reach your full potential.

It took me many years to finally grow in self-discipline. I’m not where I’d like to be (still to overcome my bad habit of not eating on time!), but I’m certainly better than where I was. When I was a teenager, I failed at getting a scholarship because I had poor study habits. However, in my current degree, I have earned a high grade point average because I have grown! Yay!

Some other good habits that I’ve developed through the years:
  • Memorizing Scripture.
  • Exercising 3-5 times weekly.
  • Cooking and eating healthily.
  • Saving and investing for my retirement.
  • Saving an emergency fund.
  • Drinking 6-8 glasses of water daily.
  • Regularly reading good self-development books.
  • Daily journaling.

Related article: “Doing This Changed My Life”

I’ve come a long way. If I can do it, you can too. Here are some tips to help you grow in the one thing that all successful people have in common (self-discipline):

1) Determine the goals and the sacrifice needed.

“No pain, no gain.” Every good habit will require that you give up something else…a bad or unproductive habit. Saving money will require that you spend less. Exercising will require that you give up some sleep time or entertainment time. Reading a good book will require that you don’t watch the series that you love. Eating healthily will require that you don’t bake or buy food from which you need to stay away. 

You cannot do everything in 24 hours. So we must prioritize and make sacrifices. We have to count the cost.

Suggested template (Columns 1-4):

C1: Write down your goals in the area(s) in which you want growth.

C2: State the habits that you need to implement in order to achieve those goals. 

C4: Jot down all your bad or unproductive habits that will prevent you from reaching your goals. (Complete C4 before C3).

C3: Note the gap and record the sacrifices that you’re willing to make to reach your goals.

2) Be aware of your habits.

You need to prayerfully discern if your current habits are helping you or distracting you.

Good, productive habits – habits that support growth in every area of your life.

Bad habits – habits that destroy or weaken your health, relationships, finances, etc.

Unproductive habits – habits that are not evil but they can waste a lot of your time if not managed carefully. Your time is your most precious resource. Once TIME is wasted, it’s gone FOREVER!

3) Start with an easy habit.

In order to become a more disciplined woman, you need to choose a habit that is relatively easy to accomplish. One of my earliest habits as a teenager was making up my bed everyday. Even if I were to sit on it five minutes later, it was still worth keeping the habit. You might think that it was a waste of time because you’re going to sleep on it again in the night. 

However, the very act sets the tone of your day. It wakes you up and prepares your mind to be in a frame of productivity. You need to remember your end goal which is to become a more disciplined person so that you can succeed at life. Good habits propels you to form more good habits until you become an overall disciplined person. You develop self-trust. But you have to be intentional!

Suggested ‘easy’ habits to start:
  • Start making up your bed daily.
  • If you’d like to begin removing sugar from your tea, every day, add a little less sugar to your tea until you drink it with none. That’s what I did!
  • For water consumption, I gradually replaced my sugary drinks with water until I began to love water.

Our bodies can be trained!

4) Set a time and establish a system. 

It sounds good to say that you will begin exercising regularly. In order to make this a reality, you must go a step further. You’ll be more successful in keeping a habit if you set a schedule. Personally, I prefer to do most of habits every day or Mondays to Fridays (when there’s a natural break in routine). Otherwise, I tend to forget. When you have a regular system, it’ll eventually become like second nature to you. 

Here’s an example with an exercise habit:
  • Which days would you like to exercise?
  • For how long are you going to exercise?
  • With which exercise routine will you begin? 
  • Are you going to use an app…which app? Are you going to subscribe to a YouTube exercise channel? Which channel? Are you going to join the gym? Which gym? Are you going to walk with a friend? Which friend and when are you going to ask them to accompany you?
  • When will you begin? (Date and time of day)
Say that you want to start an emergency fund…here are the questions that you need to answer:
  • What is your goal? Is it an amount equivalent to six months’ living expenses?
  • Which expenses are you going to cut or reduce until you reach your goal?
  • Where are you going to store this money?
  • Under what conditions will you withdraw and spend it?
  • Will you set up an automatic deduction from one account to an account to hold your emergency funds? When are you going to do it?

5) Track your progress.

You need to know how you’re doing. If you’re doing well, you celebrate! If you’re doing poorly, you may need to reassess the situation and take corrective action. When I started journaling, I began in the morning. But I found that I was always rushing to get ready and my mind could not sufficiently focus on writing a journal entry. Therefore, I tweaked the plan and now I journal before I go to bed when I’m in a relaxed reflective mood. It has worked wonders!

Related article: 10 Easy Tips to Start Journaling Today

When I set my goal to read twenty-four books a year, I used the note app on my phone to record every book that I read. It helped me to track my progress. When I began to study again, that habit ‘went out the door’ because I had to focus on reading textbooks and I had less time for leisure reading. When life changes, we need to be flexible, but try not to throw out the habit altogether unless it is no longer helpful.

6) Don’t give up.

A new year begins and we set new year’s resolutions. I’ve heard people decrying New Year’s resolutions, but I’m not one of them. A new season of life, whether it is a new year, a new job, a new week, or even a new day, is always a good time to make changes in our lives. New represents fresh beginnings for me. The problem is not with the resolutions, but the person making the resolution. If we are undisciplined, we will never keep our resolutions regardless of the time of year we make them. 

Therefore, when you form a habit and you break it, just start again. It is useless to beat up yourself and quit altogether. Simply come to terms that you have ‘failed’ in that instance but get back on that schedule. Refuse to stay down and feel sorry for yourself. Pick yourself up and start again and again until the habit develops. Remember, you have goals to accomplish! 

7) Make it manageable.

Some habits require that you break it up into bite-sized pieces. Let’s say that you don’t like reading, but you want to read more. Instead of sitting down to read a large portion of the book, it might be worth your while to commit to reading 5-10 pages per day. If you wait until you’re in the mood, a habit of reading will not be formed. 

8) Don’t give into your moods.

I think this is the hardest point. Many of us allow our feelings and moods to run our lives. For years, we have allowed our emotions to inform our habits and we are weakened in regards to making prudent decisions. We are at the mercy of our emotions. 

If you don’t feel like drinking water, simply grab that glass, open your mouth and swallow that water. It’s quite easy to do and it’s also quite easy NOT to do. Do not give into your emotions. You rule it and not the other way around. The good news is that when you begin to form good habits, even your moods will come under subjection. Your mind and emotions become more disciplined.

9) Add another worthy habit.

When your small starting habits become set, it’s time to add more challenging ones. You have created some level of self-trust, so you can give yourself a slightly bigger challenge. For example, if your first intentional habit was making up your bed every day and you have been successful for the last 21 days, a slightly bigger habit might be drinking six glasses of water daily. It’s your life so you decide which habit to adopt. 

You can also try habit stacking by adding on another habit after the first habit.

Here an example of habit stacking in my morning routine on a weekday as single woman (H=Habit):

H1: Wake-up 

H2: Make up bed

H3: Drink 2 (8-ounce) glasses of water

H4: Spend time talking with God

H5: Memorize Scripture 

H6: Exercise 

H7: Eat Breakfast (I made my oats mixture in bulk over the weekend)

H8: Shower and get ready for work 

10) Involve a friend.

Most people find this to be helpful in forming habits. You can ask a friend to join you or hold you accountable. If you both want to memorize scripture, at the end of the week, you can recite scripture to each other. You can go walking with a friend if you both have this goal.


Ladies, a good habit might take some effort to begin, but after a while, it may actually turn out to be fun. When I visited my friend, I observed my friend’s posture and her flat stomach. I enquired and she told me that she had been doing Pilates. Immediately, I purchased my own Pilates videos with the intention of beginning my workout. I pressed ‘play’ and it looked so easy! Looks are deceiving. It was downright hard. After five minutes, I gave up because I just couldn’t do the exercises. I gave it a break for about two months. Then, I returned to it and I subsequently enjoyed several years of Pilates.

My ten tips for developing self-discipline by cultivating good habits are determine your goals and the cost; be aware of your habits; start easy; set a time and establish a system; track your progress; don’t give up; break it up into manageable pieces; don’t give into your moods; add more habits; and involve a friend. These pointers have helped me and I hope that they benefit you as well.

Questions to consider:

  • What are your goals?
  • Do you have some steps or habits you need to start today to move closer to your goals, whether relationships, health, finances or personal development?
  • What are your current habits that have you aided your success in relationships, health, finances, or personal development?

I’d love to hear your views. Comment below and share your wisdom. Subscribe and get your free ‘Know Yourself’ questionnaire. By subscribing, you’ll receive weekly emails from me in your inbox. Just send me an email if you have any questions or would like to give feedback. I personally answer all my emails. Thanks for stopping by!

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Recommended resources:

“The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success” by Jeff Olson

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey

“The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America’s Wealthy” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko

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Ever feel like you don’t know what a godly man is looking for in a wife? Our Irresistible Godly Woman Checklist will give you clear insights so you can stop guessing and start preparing … while reaching your full potential as a single Christian woman.