Thought Leadership

Life-Long Habits For Leadership Development: Self-Discipline

If you want to be an effective leader, you need to learn, grow and evolve every day. Happiness, success, and fulfilment stem from our will to focus and control our emotions. Small habits drive the change that leads us to success eventually. The book Atomic Habits encapsulates this very idea that simple decisions taken every day can have a compounding effect on the end results we achieve. How do you pick habits that will take you toward, not away, from the life that you desire. Below is a carefully curated list of habits followed by the most admired leaders in their day-to-day living that could give you some ideas.


1. Take Notes

One of the most important habits, as quoted by Business Mogul Richard Branson, “Regardless of where I am or what I’m doing – perhaps with the exception of kitesurfing or swimming – I always have a notebook on hand. My secret ‘life hack’ has also been to write it down! I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas as soon as they came to me,”


It’s a simple behaviour that has a significant impact on you and your team. Taking notes is critical to you as a leader and often very helpful for your team. It helps you organize your thoughts, have a record and demonstrate what’s truly important.


2. Take your time in the morning.

Jeff Bezos shared that he tries to match his rise with the sun, never setting an alarm clock, but allowing himself to wake up naturally. He then proceeds to spend time reading the news and enjoying breakfast with his wife of 25 years and their four children.


If you find it difficult to wake up several hours before you need to, you can read about the benefits it has on your overall health. Psychologists stand by the Bezos’ method, articulating the benefits of enjoying the beginning of our days instead of rushing through them in setting our mind in a positive light to get our day started.


3. Try to learn something new every day.

In an interview, Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, shared that he tries to read a book every two weeks and even takes on yearly challenges that give him time to dive deep into a topic or expertise. From learning Mandarin Chinese to running one mile every day and building an AI for his home, he uses these mile markers to keep him focused and inspired.


Setting personal goals is a handy tool in the self-development process. It is a brilliant way to truly improve your cognitive abilities, practice self-reliance and enhance your creativity.


4. Maintain a work-life balance

Reed Hastings, Co-Founder of Netflix, takes six weeks of vacation every year. He makes an effort to get away from work to relax, replenish and take care of his physical and mental health. He strongly feels that taking breaks makes him better at his work.


Psychologists are strong proponents of taking more vacation time, citing its benefits to productivity in the workplace. Some other benefits include improved physical and mental health, increased mental power and decreased burnout.


5. Make health a priority.

Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of The Huffington Post and the Founder and CEO of Thrive Global, acknowledged this need and said, “We need a third metric of success, which include our health and our being, first of all, because if we sacrifice that, what do we have? And our capacity to tap into our own wisdom, our own sense of wonder at the beauty of life that we so often miss, and our capacity to give, and to be kind.”


Health and overall wellbeing is a critical component to achieving success. You do not have to forgo your health or work yourself to burnout to achieve success. As Jim Rohn states in his book the 7 Strategies For Health and Happiness, “Remember this rule: INCOME RARELY EXCEEDS PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. That’s why all of us must subject ourselves to self-examination”, and one of the main points of your self-examination should be your physical and mental health because, without your health, you have nothing. Set goals everyday to workout and eat healthily, and bit by bit, you will transform into the person you desired to be all along.


We leave you with this quote to reflect upon, “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems” – James Clear.