The two vital health habits of millionaires

4 Minute Read | Author: Claire Stewart

As well as helping your quest for wealth, these habits will keep your weight down.

Persistence and determination are key characteristics which separate those who are highly successful from ordinary individuals.

Implementing new habits is difficult and, as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg found, keeping his New Year’s resolution to hand write a thank-you card every day became extraordinarily onerous. But he persisted.

Author of Rich Habits, and 2015’s Change Your Habits, Change Your Life, Tom Corley has made it his business to monitor and analyse what millionaires do differently. “Daily habits dictate how successful or unsuccessful you will be in life,” he writes.

That can range from productivity goals, making "to-don’t" lists banning time-wasting or detrimental habits, or simply reading more non-fiction as a means of self-improvement.

But two health habits stand out as common to many millionaires: meditation – or some form of mindfulness practice – and daily exercise.

Neither prescription will come as a surprise but it’s the regularity and commitment to incorporating them into their routines which some millionaires have specifically attributed to their success.

Russell Simmons is co-founder of the world’s most successful rap music label Def Jam Records. Every Sunday he practises transcendental meditation, also favoured by the likes of Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, Oprah Winfrey who practises twice daily for 20 minutes, and investment firm Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio.

“Meditation, more than anything in my life, was the biggest ingredient of whatever success I’ve had,” Mr Dalio, estimated to be worth nearly $US16 billion, has said.

Rupert Murdoch admitted he was trying to learn the technique of transcendental meditation back in 2013 on the basis that everyone was recommending it. First brought to the attention of the world when the Beatles began working with Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, critics says its claims of levitation and yogic flying are controversial nonsense.

But neurophysiologists have proven that brain waves change dramatically during the meditative process and one report reviewing 140 studies showed transcendental meditation was twice as effective as other methods.

“The pre-frontal cortex is what makes us human. It’s responsible for our judgement and planning. When we’re under stress that gets shut down,” Dr Tim Carr, a doctor and transcendental meditation specialist has said. “So we become more impulsive. When we meditate, the stress reduces and the whole brain starts to once again function the way it was meant to. So then we’re able to be more insightful.”

Virgin founder Richard Branson attributes his happiness and success to exercising every day, and waking up early.

“I tend to wake up at 5am so that I can use the early morning hours to get some exercise and spend time with my family,” he says. “This routine helps put me in a positive mindset before I get down to business.”

“I get up early to exercise because it gives me energy, improves my focus and concentration, and helps me sleep better at the end of the day.”

Tom Corley concurs with Branson’s idea of waking early and found that 50 per cent of the millionaires he studied woke up at least three hours before work. Boost Juice founder Janine Allis practices yoga before work every day and deca-millionaires, or those with a net work over $10 million, are most likely to exercise regularly, Thomas Stanley writes in his book The Millionaire Mind.

“The more economically successful you become the more critics you will attract. Keeping in excellent physical condition can be an important tool in dealing with detractors because it helps to hone one’s competitive spirit,” Stanley says.

“Physical conditioning is one of the main sources of the extraordinary energy that most multi-millionaires possess. I’ve found very few self-made millionaires who are lethargic or even noticeably overweight.”