NEW YORK ( MainStreet) — The world's richest people come from various walks of life but many share distinct lifestyle habits, according to a study by Tom Corley, author of Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals .

"I find these people to be driven by doing what they do exceedingly well. Their wealth is just a scorecard of their efforts," said Dan Sudit, manager with BMO Private Bank in Seattle. "Just like a successful athlete, they cite discipline, repetition and practice as a key to their success."

For one thing, 44% of the rich wake up three hours before work compared to a mere 3% of poor people.

"Most of the people who do this have a world-class work ethic and can't wait to get started on the day's activities," said Steve Siebold, author of How Rich People Think . "They'll look for any subtle advantage and if that means getting an extra few hours on their competition they'll do it."

Another common habit of the wealthy is to maintain a to-do list. About 81% of the rich practice this simple organization tool compared to only 9% of the poor. "To-do lists keep your priorities in order and it's that planning and being meticulous which contributes greatly to wealth creation," said Timothy Sykes, who earns $1 million a month trading penny stocks and reports assets of more than $10 million.

If the wealthy are defined as earning at least $160,000 annually with at least $3.2 million in assets, the poor are defined as earning less than $30,000 a year with less than $5,000 in assets.

"The rich are not smarter but are passionate and disciplined and they are not better but rather resolute and hard working," Sudit told MainStreet.

Some 88% of wealthy people read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career-related purposes compared to 2% of poor people.

"The wealthy have some of the largest libraries filled with personal development programs, books on how to be more successful and how to be a better leader," Siebold told MainStreet. "Rich people read, because they know the secret to wealth creation is ideas and solving problems. The more they read the more their thinking is challenged and the more ideas they're potentially exposed to."

Although they are voracious readers, rich people tend to shy away from junk food.

In fact, 97% of poor people eat more than 300 calories in junk food calories a day compared to 70% of the wealthy who don't. As for exercise, 76% of wealthy individuals exercise aerobically at least four days a week versus 23% of the poor.

"I have three private chefs in order to eat healthy but also because they each specialize in a different cuisine so it's the wealthy version of eating at different restaurants every night," Sykes told MainStreet. "Junk food, sugar and carbs are kept at a minimum. I eat mostly lean proteins and vegetables."