Science of Success

The one daily habit all mentally strong people practice to be successful

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Years of study have taught Amy Morin one thing about mentally strong people: They make plans.

"They don't just crawl out of bed and decide to go through with the motions," says Morin, a bestselling author, speaker and psychotherapist. "They know what [they] are going to do today, what [they] want to accomplish and how [they] want to accomplish it."

As with physical strength, mental strength is achieved by implementing healthy habits and routines, Morin tells CNBC Make It. For many people, this includes getting in the habit of creating a clear plan for how they will spend their day.

She adds, "so, rather than looking at your smartphone first thing in the morning, or hitting the snooze button twelve times, have a plan before you go to bed and decide 'what am I going to do tomorrow morning when I wake up?'"

The 5 things mentally strong people do to reach success

Morin has dedicated her career to studying the habits of mentally strong people and has written three books. Her most recent release, "13 Things Mentally Strong Women Don't Do," explores the practices that make some people mentally tougher than others when it comes to achieving personal and professional success.

In her studies, Morin says she began to track what mentally strong people did and didn't do to develop positive habits.

She says she realized that creating and following a daily plan left less room for unnecessary thoughts to seep in and less room for "emotions to take hold" of the day.

She adds that having a clear plan also helps you to make time for the habits you enjoy doing the most.

"For some people that might involve going to the gym in the morning," she says. "For somebody else, it might involve meditation. So, keep trying a series of experiments to figure out what helps you become your strongest and best self."

Morin became interested in the habits of mentally strong people after experiencing a loss in her personal life. "My mother passed away suddenly. I was a widow at age 26, and then my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer," she says.

After those tragic events, she became curious about why some people bounce back from pain more quickly than others. Says Morin, it "led me on this personal journey to learn more about what it means to be mentally strong."

Productivity expert Julie Morgenstern agrees that having a daily plan is one of the keys to staying focused on what's ahead. She explains to CNBC Make It that "planning ahead is essential to owning your workweek," which is why she created a technique called "tomorrow plus two" where you plan your days out three days ahead of time.

"The reason I say 'tomorrow plus two' is because when you come in the next morning you want to just execute rather than still be deciding what you are going to do," Morgenstern says. "If things don't go as planned tomorrow, then what's my overflow plan for the following days?"

While mastering this new habit may take time, Morin says planning ahead will pay off as you learn to shift your thinking to new priorities and remind yourself "what you need to do to reach your goals."

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