What I love about this question is that it doesn’t separate happiness from success.
As you alluded to in your question, you cannot have success without first having happiness. And happiness oftentimes leads to greater societal success.
After grinding my life away for years, I’ve realized that life is about simple pleasures and joys and that happiness is attainable at any moment.
As I look back at the past 18 months (the happiest and most financially successful of my life), there are three habits that stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Habit 1: Developing a stoic mindset
Its basic premise is that, through constant self-improvement and development of self-control, we can transcend the chaos of daily life and live in a state of peace and prosperity.
Or, as the guys over at Daily Stoic | Stoic Wisdom For Everyday Life put it:
Stoicism has just a few central teachings. It sets out to remind us of how unpredictable the world can be. How brief our moment of life is. How to be steadfast, and strong, and in control of yourself. And finally, that the source of our dissatisfaction lies in our impulsive dependency on our reflexive senses rather than logic.
I committed to the stoic philosophy in my early 20’s and it has had a profound impact on my life and success.
It’s helped me embrace minimalism, appreciate the brevity of life, and truly learn to control my emotions and master my mind.
One of the best habits that you can pick up is to read a book on Stoic philosophy for 30 minutes each morning. (I recommend Meditations, The Handbook, and Letters from a Stoic)
Habit 2: Exercising outdoors for at least 60 minutes a day & eating a clean diet
Richard Branson famously said that exercise is the reason he was able to build the Virgin brand to 10-figures.
And after 3–4 years of consistent exercise, I understand why.
The lessons that you learn in the gym will have a positive impact on every area of your life and will leave you feeling, looking, and performing better than ever before.
Pick a simple program that you enjoy and stick to it.
When you fall off the horse (and you will), take it easy on yourself and renew your commitment to fitness as soon as you can.
Habit 3: Sleeping 8+ hours a night
If you’ve been following me for any amount of time, then you’ve heard this one before.
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a thousand times … You NEED to prioritize your sleep.
I know plenty of people who think that they will “Get” an extra 2-3 hours out of their day by sleeping on 6 hours and waking up early.
According to all of the science, they are wrong.
Sleep deprivation (6 hours or less for most people) slows your cognitive process WITHOUT you even realizing it. It’s a form of self-torture.
This means that even though you might not “think” that you are sleep deprived subjectively, when you measure key performance metrics against well-rested subjects, the data tells a different story.
If you aren’t sleeping 8 hours a night you are doing something wrong.
Forget the 5 a.m. miracle.
Get your 8 hours and you’ll perform better, feel better, and do better than you would be by getting 6 hours but waking up early.
This article originally appeared on Quora.