12 Things Successful People Do When They’re Not Working Toward Their Goals

Disclosure: this page may contain affiliate links to select partners. We receive a commission should you choose to make a purchase after clicking on them. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Although working toward their goals takes up much of their time, successful people also know how to use their free time to their advantage.

From developing new skills to enjoying downtime, here are the top 12 things successful people get up to when they’re not working to turn their dreams into reality.

1. They practice discipline.

Even when they’re not actively working on their goals, successful people still have the same, determined mindset.

They might not be working on anything linked to their precise objectives, but they’ll still be focused on developing a skill set that will enable them to truly thrive.

By practicing discipline on their days off, they’re learning skills that they can later apply to their work.

Even though they’re technically off the clock, they’re always thinking about how they can better achieve their goals or continue growing and improving—and that’s what makes them so successful.

Things like attention to detail, determination, time-keeping, and multitasking are all skills that can be practiced during downtime.

2. They rest and reset.

Successful people know that they can’t pour from an empty cup.

They understand the importance of taking a step back and topping up their energy levels before hitting the ground running again.

When we talk about rest, we’re not just referring to sleep—although that’s also crucial! Instead, it’s about finding time to relax and let themselves re-center.

Although success means something different to everyone, we can all agree on one thing: whatever your definition, there’s a lot of work involved!

As such, it’s so important to take time out and honor your needs through rest and relaxation.

We all relax in different ways—for some people, that’s cooking, taking a long bath, reading a book in bed, and the list goes on. Either way, successful people make time for it!

3. They exercise.

Listen to any podcast these days and you’ll hear a CEO or business mogul talking about how they wake up at 5 am to run a half marathon before kicking off their morning meetings with a kale juice in hand.

While this isn’t a realistic portrayal of the average successful person who’s working on their goals, there is something we can take from it. Successful, hard-working people know the importance of exercise!

For some, working out calms them down—it gets rid of their anxious energy, gives them something else to focus on, and helps them feel strong and capable.

For others, it’s about the mindset behind the workout—determination, grit, and hard work!

These outcomes all lend themselves to a more productive, committed way of thinking.

When you take into account the natural mood-boosting endorphins we get from exercise, it’s a no-brainer that successful people make time to work out regularly.

4. They upskill themselves.

Again, the skills that successful people hone outside their working hours might not directly correlate with their goals, but they’ll produce a strong skill set as a byproduct.

For example, when a successful person joins a pottery club, it might not seem relevant to their job because they don’t need those physical skills to thrive in their role. The ‘passive’ skills they’re developing, however, often prove invaluable.

New experiences teach us resilience—we might not be great at something new straightaway, but we develop the determination to see it through and stick at it!

We also discover more about our learning style, which is something we can then apply to the workplace.

If they discover that their pottery teacher makes more sense when they give physical demonstrations instead of just talking, successful people can then start using this technique in the workplace to see if it yields better results for those they’re mentoring!

5. They socialize.

When they first commit to their goals, many highly successful people start to neglect their friendships and relationships.

It’s not on purpose, but it can begin to harm their lives in general, as well as their goal-reaching journey.

Connection is one of the single most important aspects of human existence. We need to be around other people, we need to talk and share, to hug and hold those we love.

While a lot of successful people initially throw themselves into work and lock themselves away whilst committing to their goals, they quickly see the value in socializing and connecting.

Being around people who know us and believe in us can help us achieve our goals faster. We feel more confident because our friends cheer us on and show faith in our hard work!

Socializing also provides a much-needed outlet from all the hard work, and it can encourage new, creative ways of thinking. A mixture of perspectives and fresh ideas is a brilliant benefit of collaboration and connection.

6. They nourish their bodies.

Success isn’t powered by coffee alone—despite what all the movies would have you think!

While some people run around on 3 hours of sleep and a constant stream of caffeine, most successful people know how much value there is in eating healthily and nourishing themselves.

That’s why they focus on energizing food in the daytime, hydration throughout the day, and a balanced diet that prioritizes nutrient-dense foods over convenience.

That means meal-prepping, making conscious decisions, planning, and learning a healthy level of discipline when it comes to food and alcohol.

Both brain and body need good, sustainable fuel to work at their best, which is why successful people spend their time outside of work focused on achieving just that.

They know they work better when they’re full, satisfied, and hydrated!

7. They network.

This one might technically count as a work duty, but it’s worth including because it holds a lot of value.

When they’re not laser-focused on the hard work that goes into achieving their goals, successful people are thinking about who else can help them achieve them.

While they know that their commitment alone is going to power them, they understand that a lot of business these days is about who you know, not just what you know!

As such, they make time to go to networking events, meet people in their industry who can support their goals, and actively reach out to prospective clients or customers.

They know that meeting the right people can give them a huge boost in terms of achieving their goals, and they are committed enough to use their downtime outside of work hours to seek them out.

8. They work through their mental challenges, often with a therapist.

No one is an island, and no one is exempt from struggling with their mental health.

Successful people understand that their goals are ambitious (of course!) and that there is often a toll that comes with setting such big targets.

They know that their mental health is just as important (if not more important) than their physical health, so many make just as much time for therapy as they do the gym.

They know that having a third party provide advice and guidance is key to their success. They need an objective listener to keep them accountable, help them prioritize their mental well-being, and evaluate their behavior.

When we’re committed to a goal, we can often lose sight of other things around us that were once important to us. We can feel like our ambitions are all that matter in life and can quickly become too removed from the life we once loved.

Speaking to a counselor, therapist, or life coach can help successful people re-center, focus on life outside of work, and find a healthy balance in life.

9. They meditate.

While meditation typically conjures up images of spirituality and sitting in a quiet room humming or chanting, this isn’t always the case…

When they’re not grinding away and working on their goals, successful people are taking a step back and reflecting on their lives and choices.

Even though it’s linked to their goals, it’s not technically ‘work.’

Instead, they’re reviewing their performance, and, more importantly, how they feel about it. And they are taking the time out to dig deep into their behavior, their next steps, and the potential challenges ahead.

Meditating—however we choose to do it—can be an invaluable skill that is conducive to success.

10. They manifest.

A positive mindset goes a long way, which is why most successful people spend some time outside of working on their goals really thinking about how they want things to turn out.

It’s not that they’re obsessed with their job or ambition, it’s just that they want to envision a positive outcome—and manifesting is a great way to do that.

By imagining their desired outcomes, successful people are always one step ahead and are more likely to achieve their goals. They think and will things into existence, not through magic, but through a positive, motivated mindset.

The more open-minded and positive we are, the better energy we bring to our work and goal-reaching journey each day.

If we think that things are going to work out and be brilliant, we’re more likely to bring a level of confidence and ability to situations —which, in turn, makes things more likely to work out!

11. They plan & prepare.

Again, this can be linked to work, but it’s also a general mindset that successful people try to develop.

The more they think ahead, the more they can plan for any possible outcomes—which means they’ll know exactly how to deal with them, should they arise.

While we’ve just spoken about the power of manifesting and ‘thinking things into existence’ through positivity, successful people are also aware enough to know that not everything always goes to plan…

As such, they think through potential outcomes, possible challenges, and any obstacles they may face.

By doing this, they also allow themselves to think through potential solutions, Plan Bs, and workarounds, just in case!

By learning to think like this outside of working on their goals, successful people are then better equipped to thrive when those skills are truly needed.

12. They maintain balance.

When successful people aren’t working towards their goals, they’re working hard to create a strong, healthy work-life balance by focusing on the ‘life’ part of the equation.

They know how important it is to have downtime and to have hobbies, so they spend their free time committing to perfecting that balance!

That might mean seeing friends and family, making time to work out or go for a run, or it might mean going to therapy.

Whatever they find works best for them will form a large part of their life behind the scenes…

You may also like:

About The Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.