Each day, whether we realize it or not, we endeavor to compete for something; the affection or love of a partner, a promotion in the workplace or, with ourselves to become a bigger, bolder version of ourselves.
Herein, I provide 6 steps on how you can compete every day to set yourself up for success. As you read these steps, visualize and imagine your personal definition of success. Think about how your definition of success jives with these steps.
Determine whether you are already incorporating them into your daily routine- or if you can begin introducing them into your day. Most importantly, find what works for you, stick to it and develop consistency.
1. Plan your day the night before
I’m glad that no one keeps a tally of the number of unsuccessful days I’ve lived. Frankly, I’m willing to bet we could all agree to that. What I can tell you is, the unsuccessful days have mostly been the ones that I did not plan.
As I have grown over the years in my management consulting and professional career, I have dramatically reduced those unsuccessful days by following one simple step: I have planned my day the previous night. I recommend that you list out goals that you aim to accomplish each week. Then, at the more granular level, highlight the tasks that you want to accomplish each day.
You can choose to put them into time slots, depending on whether you use a daily planner or simply a task or milestone list for the day. Once you have something in writing, you’ve made an actionable commitment to get it done.
Always allow yourself the ability to adapt and change if it’s in your best interest to do so. As the great Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan, until they get punched in the mouth.” Chances are, you won’t need to dodge monster right hooks over the course of your day, but you will encounter adversity and changes that force you to adapt and modify your plan.
2. Read your plan out loud in the morning
Reading your plan helps you process the information and store it in your conscious and subconscious mind. No matter how good you think your short or long-term memory is, if you don’t write or read your plan, you will forget some information. Recognizing new opportunities is a skill that comes to those who have a clear, prepared mind.
When you visualize what you want to do, you have an image in your imagination. Your imagination gives birth to the ideas, goals and plans that you have. Suddenly, you have a vivid picture of seeing yourself successfully carry out your goals for the day.
“If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney
3. Strengthen your conviction by believing in yourself
We can speak positively over our lives in two ways: Actually speaking the words and sending the same words from our mind into our subconscious mind via, “the voice inside our head.” Both are powerful ways to build faith. Here, I want to focus a little more on the second way.
Napoleon Hill once wrote: “Auto-suggestion is the agency of control through which an individual may voluntarily feed his subconscious mind on thoughts of a creative nature, or, by neglect, permit thoughts of a destructive nature to find their way into this rich garden of the mind.”
The key here is to speak positively and to do this throughout the day. Don’t confuse this with ego-stroking or self-aggrandizing behavior. The most successful people practice auto-suggestion to feed their subconscious mind, in an effort to fuel their success.
4. Take breaks throughout the day to clear your mind
Scientific studies show that taking regular breaks help you to sharpen your focus and increase your ability to perform. Throughout my career, I’ve always built in time each day to get up, walk around and clear my mind.
We weren’t meant to spend our whole day fixated on a computer screen or working nonstop on our feet without a break. Take some time to chill and relax. Get outside and walk around a bit, fresh air will do you good. The change will give you some perspective and could take the edge off any stress or anxiety you’re dealing with.
5. Leave nothing to chance – always give 100%
There are two things you can always control- your attitude and your effort.
You may not always love everything you do. Heaven knows, our days will not be entirely comprised of pursuing our passions and loves all the time. Regardless, bring your best effort and attitude to everything that you do. The feeling, the emotional reward that comes with doing so is a brilliant sense of satisfaction to savor.
6. Rest with confidence, re-charge for the next day
Resting your mind and body are essential for living a successful, competitive life. If we never stop to rest, we’ll eventually burn ourselves out and suffer the consequences. A proper amount of sleep and rest is vital to our health and productivity.
“During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health.” – National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
We all need to re-charge our mind and body every day. Never underestimate your need to shut down, decompress and get some sleep. You’ll be better for it!