Submitted by Rod Sims
1. Stop Being (fashionably) Late
Is there really anything that’s ever enhanced by showing up late? If 80 percent of success is showing up, I wonder how much of that 80 percent is dictated from first showing up on time. If you are late, you immediately start with one strike against you. In a competitive world, can you afford that kind of disadvantage right out of the gate? Plan to make sure that you are always on time. In your planning, you must allow for any unforeseen delays. Showing up on time is a habit that will serve you well in all areas of your life.
2. Move it or Lose it
Procrastination can be a terrible thing. It can weight on anyone. Those that cannot overcome procrastination will be doomed to a life of mediocrity. Hey I think that’s even scriptural. I know that we all put things off from time-to-time, but becoming a person of action without delay is one of the most important habits that you can cultivate. Supposed Mark Twain was quoted to have said, “If you have to eat a frog, don’t look at it for too long.” The point being: the more you stall and put off tasks, especially those difficult tasks, the more anxiety you will build up surrounding its completion. Believe me, the best thing to do is go on and get to it, man/woman. Get it done and behind you. Do your most important task first thing each morning(when possible). This will get you started on the right foot and help you to consistently move toward your goals.
3. Stay Positive and Optimistic
“Smile through it all.” Historically and even more so lately, there has been a lot said about having a positive attitude. There’s truth to the old saying about how our attitudes determine our altitude. So much has been said that you may hate hearing about it again now. Too bad. Nevertheless, the importance of making optimism a habit not just here at the beginning of the New Year, but always, cannot be overstated. For the most part, you will generally get out of life what you expect(and what you put into it). If you expect to be miserable and to fail, then you likely will. Your thoughts are the very seeds from which every other substance in your life grows, whether that’s professionally, personally, financially, and even spiritually. You can’t plant one thing(kale) and expect to harvest another(spinach). Life just doesn’t work that way. That wouldn’t even be cool. Hey, you may or may not believe that, but it is true. Those that enjoy the most success in life will understand this clearly.
4. Work Hard
Vince Lombardi, Super Bowl winning coach of the Green Bay Packers, once said (in the) “dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.” The best things in life, whether personal, professional, or otherwise come to those that make hard work and diligence a habit. If you want to be a great writer, then you have to work hard to learn to express yourself clearly and write often. Those that actively look for the difficult tasks and tackle them with vigor are the ones that reap the rewards. Thomas Edison said it best, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Make hard work one of your habits and you’ll discover all kinds of new opportunities this year.
5. Take Calculated Risks
Risk is a part of life. We’ve all heard “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” but do we believe that it is absolutely true? Every time a team steps onto the field or court, they risk losing. More importantly, though, they know there is absolutely no chance of winning if they never even get in the game. Against that reality, they consciously make it a habit to show up every day. Are you willing to risk showing up? Taking calculated risks are inevitable if you want a truly great life. I say, “calculated” because we should always count the cost. “A fool and his money are soon parted.” If you do stupid things that are too risky, then sooner or later you will pay dearly. For a great life, take more calculated risks, but don’t be a fool.
6. Invest Wisely
Will what was most important in 2012 be the most important in 2013? You can invest money, time and/or energy into what you value. Things that don’t add to our lives often cost us unnecessarily. If we invest wisely, then we will produce a return that is much more than what we put in. Habitually invest in the right things and you will produce a great life for yourself. Investing is all about buying into your own future. If you don’t buy into, no one else really can. It is being willing to sacrifice now for greater returns later. Our culture seems to want it all now and we’ve all been guilty of that from time to time. We can agree that was certainly not wise investing, was it? The law of the harvest will always prevail in this life. Understand how to incorporate this as a habit in your life and you will be miles ahead by this time next year.
7. Think Long-Term
Most of our failures are a result of us wanting and expecting too much, too soon. Most of us have been here long enough now to know that you just can’t rush life. If you’re like me, you tried to ‘rush’ life before, only to end up running out of gas or having a situation blow up in your face. That’s a common symptom that’s become an epidemic in this ‘microwave society’ we live in nowadays, where we want everything, our way, on our time…meaning, RIGHT NOW. Researchers have known for decades that those with greater self-control or the ability to put off immediate gratification for a bigger reward are more likely to succeed (see FULL article for details). If you make long-term thinking a habit in every area of your life, you will come out well ahead. Imagine what years of making poor food or drink habits compounded with no physical activity and high stress will look like with no plan or blueprint for preventing its inevitable costly end.
8. Get Along with Others
Life is not a solo sport and no man is an island. It began way back when we were in kindergarten that we were evaluated on our ability to work and play well with others. If you want to enjoy the best life possible, the ability to get along with a wide-range of people will be prove to be invaluable. Sharpening your skills in this area will certainly help you to improve your life in 2013 and beyond. Not all of us can be exceptional connectors, communicators and collaborators, or even want to, but even a modest improvement in our habits in this area can produce tremendous results.
9. Love Unashamedly
Don’t listen to the lies of the lonely, we all want and need to love and be loved. The truth is, we have to give love in order to receive it. If you want the very best life possible, then I’d tell you to love people unashamedly and without making a difference. What the heck does that mean? I mean don’t worry about getting hurt or looking silly. Love people with your whole heart and make sure it is no secret or fraud. Again, I am not saying go make a complete fool of yourself, although we may feel like this makes us one from time to time. It’s kewl, it’s all good, because loving people this way will make your life happier overall and that’s what counts.
10. Get Adequate Rest
Finally, I’ll wrap this up with a basic, life altering necessity that seems to continually get marginalized. The Center for Disease Control(CDC) says that insufficient sleep is a public health epidemic. You simply cannot perform at your best if you are not getting adequate rest. I know we all try it. Eventually, this bad habit will catch up with you and we can never get that sleep back. This is when our bodies and brains heal and recover. Your body will not let you get away with ignoring its demands forever. Your best bet is to develop better sleep habits before the crash. This will ensure that you have the capacity to always do your best.
Rod Sims is a Cooper Institute Certified Health Promotion Director and owner of BillboardzWellness360. He is a health and wellness expert dedicated to helping people live their best lives in the one house we get to live in for life, our bodies. He provides education and awareness in the personal sector as well as helping businesses save money and jobs. He believes that ‘our first wealth is our health.’