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You know at least one of them, I bet. Maybe he’s your cousin, your work colleague or the woman you play roller derby with.

These people make their way through the ups and downs of life with a smile on their face, their glass half full and their eyes peeled for opportunity.

They are the perfect mix of productivity and optimism. And damn it if they’re not blissed out doing it.

These are the Highly Effective (and Chilled Out) People – HECOs for short – and I am here to introduce you to the seven habits that set these people apart.

I am a huge proponent of simple living. But I am not a naturally-born chilled out person. Not by a long shot.

So it got me to thinking – how do these chilled people do it?

What are the habits that I – the uptight, reforming perfectionist – could learn from? And what could I share with you about living a more effective, chilled out life?

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective (and Chilled Out) People

1. Accept That Life is a Journey. And They Enjoy It.

HECOs understand there is no goal destination in life, where everything will be perfect and they won’t have any worries. They understand that life is right now. It’s the big stuff and the little things and all that’s in between.

2. Organised – To a Point

HECOs are not uptight – by definition. But effective, chilled out people are organised. To a certain extent.

They have their ducks in a row. They know what’s happening next. They know where they need to be and they are prepared. This simply means they don’t have the stress of uncertainty, unfinished business or indecision to contend with.

Because they know what’s happening next, what they need to do, where people need to be – they can relax.

3. Realistic Expectations

HECOs have realistic expectations of themselves and other people.

They understand it is literally impossible to do everything, to be everywhere and to complete it to the highest level of perfection. It’s simply not possible. HECOs understand this.

They also understand that they are human and will stumble – and they’re OK with that.

4. Saying No

HECOs understand themselves and their limitations. They say no when they need to, and don’t feel bad about it.

5. Self Awareness

HECOs understand their strengths and their weaknesses.

They then shape their lives around these strengths, forgive themselves their own weaknesses and then decide to do one of two things: improve their skills or pass responsibility to someone else.

6. Care for Themselves Physically

Regular exercise and good healthy eating habits are a key element to any true HECO.

Engaging in good, rigorous exercise means they get out of their heads regularly and focus on the physical. Fuelling their bodies with good, clean food means their brains and bodies have every opportunity to operate at their full potential.

7. Engaged With Life

HECOs avoid becoming bored.

They understand that boredom breeds unhealthy thoughts – comparisons, jealousy, envy.

Instead, they keep engaged in life with hobbies, social interactions, pursuing passions, learning and reading. They have something bigger than themselves to consider and minimal time to spend worrying about unimportant things in life.

Over to You…

Do you know any HECOs? Or are you a Highly Effective and Chilled Out Person yourself?

If not, what is the one habit from this list that would help you chill out the most?


Brooke McAlary is an aspiring minimalist, blissful gardener, passionate writer and inappropriate laugher.

She is also a happy wife, busy mum, slightly weird Australian and creator of the insanely helpful Slow Home BootCamp.

She blogs at Slow Your Home and is on a mission to help you find the simple life you want.

You can find her on Facebook and Twitter multiple times a day.