Cultivate the positive mental qualities you need to reach the pinnacle of excellence

Your Best Year Yet!

“We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.” —Ellen Goodman

Happy-New-YearSo 2015 did not turn out exactly as you had hoped? You experienced an unexpected bump. There had been no warning sign. Or may be there was, but it hardly seemed threatening. Then you hit the bump. Hard. You tripped over. The precious thing you had held with a tight grip only a moment earlier slid off your hands, crushing to the rough ground. Thud! It was your delight, now your pain. May be a significant loss of a loved one, or a job. A medical test turned positive. The souring of a relationship: with your boss, or spouse, or your teenager. You experienced financial distress and were on the verge of eviction from your property. A close friend betrayed you.

 
It has been a rough patch. Your confidence is shaken, and you are on the precipice of a New Year. 2016. And all you hold are fragments of shattered hopes. Heartache and tears are not the reward you had expected at the final fall of the curtain on 2015. You had hoped, nay, badly wished, for an epic ending.

 
Imagine for a moment that the world makes you King for a day. Yes, you, King! With all the splendour. Go to a mirror and look yourself straight in the eye. I meant it. Please go to the mirror and really look. What does that person have to say?

 
See, 2015 may have been annus horribilis, a horrible year. Some may even have passed judgment on you, and probably written you off for 2016. It is however not their judgment upon you that must pass. It is the verdict of the person looking back at you in the mirror.

 
Now, imagine the person in the mirror patting you on the back, saying, “2016 will be your best year yet!” Will you say, “but…” or will you be fired up to exploit your potential? There will always be something to hold you back, and “but…” — that insidious dream killer — will only deprive you of your genius. You can decide to believe the person in the mirror and make 2016 your best year yet.

 
Regardless of what’s happened in the past, or whichever the task ahead of you, here are seven simple disciplines that, if practiced daily, will bring out the greatness in you this coming year:

 
1. Prep Work — Practice. Practice. Practice. Spend time sharpening your skills. The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare. Preparation requires time, hard work, sacrifice and commitment.

 
2. Master the fundamentals — Nearly every area of life can be boiled down to some core task, some essential component, that must be mastered if you truly want to be good at it. Understand the basics of your endeavour and consistently practice them.

 
3. Mental toughness — Grit, or mental toughness, is a state of mind. It plays a critical role in the achievement of goals. Cultivate a disciplined will that refuses to give in even when under pressure, or in the face of setbacks.

 
4. Enlist support — No person is an island. We are wired to connect. Create a network of supportive peers who can give you constructive feedback. Become the person others want to help.

 
5. Set goals — Take charge of your life by creating a “big picture” of what you want to achieve and then set clear goals to translate that vision into reality. The goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.

 
6. Plan your success — You can achieve the results you hope for. This means you need a plan. Determine the absolutely necessary steps needed to accomplish your goals. Write them down. Prioritize and sequence them.

 
7. Act on your plan — Work your plan by filling each day with the small actions that will take you closer to achieving your goals. There is power in small wins. Review your progress regularly. Keep going till you succeed.

 
©2015 David Waweru. The 7 disciplines for developing greatness have been adapted from the book Champion by David Waweru. Photo credit: Happy New year 2015 via photopin (license).

 
Champion book cover.

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