In his bestselling book, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", Stephen R. Covey lists the seven habits that people need to adopt in order to succeed. These seven habits are the following:

• Habit 1: Be Proactive
• Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind
• Habit 3: Put First Things First
• Habit 4: Think Win/win
• Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
• Habit 6: Synergize
• Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

The first habit, which states that you should be proactive, lays the foundation for the other six habits. Being proactive means that you understand that your life doesn't just happen; it's being created by you. You’re not a victim of circumstances or of others; you are, instead, the creator of your life. Highly effective people choose how they want to feel and decide how they will act in every situation; they don't simply react to circumstances or to what other people say or do. Covey explains that between a stimulus and a response there's a gap, and in that gap we can actively choose how we will respond to anything that goes on around us.


Being proactive is related to mindfulness: You need to be aware of yourself and of your surroundings so that you can act in ways that serve you well, instead of mindlessly allowing past programming, others, and outside events to control your responses. Ask yourself the following questions to help you determine whether you're living mindfully and are being proactive:

• Do you question any assumptions or beliefs you may hold which are not in your best interest?
• Do you blindly believe what others tell you, or do you go see for yourself?
• Do you simply accept that this is the way in which things are done, or do you question whether there's a better way to do things?
• Are you willing to reassess the lens through which you look at the world?

See Yourself As a Creator

In addition, highly effective people see themselves as being creators of their lives, instead of identifying themselves as victims of external conditions. If they're negatively impacted by an external event they focus on those things which are within their Circle of Influence -those things over which they have control-instead of worrying about things they can do nothing about.

People who believe that they create their life ask themselves the following:

• What do I want to happen?
• What steps can I take to begin moving toward what I want?
• How did I either create this situation or allow it to happen?
• How can I get the money so that I can participate in this project?
• I choose to...
• I will...
• Let's look for alternatives.
• What is the best response to this situation?
• Is this response in my best interest?
• How can I make time for what is most important to me?
• I'll do it.
• How can I increase my energy?
• What can I do so I don't find myself in another situation like this in the future?
• What books can I read or what courses can I take in order to learn this?


Start taking responsibility for your life and choose how you will respond to everything that happens around you. By following the first habit of the "The 7 Habit of Highly Successful People" you'll be establishing the foundation for a successful life.

Author's Bio: 

Written by Marelisa Fabrega. For more information on how to be proactive read "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Habit 1".