5 Essential Mental Habits

5  Essential Mental Habits of High Achievers

There are many mental habits that help us to reach for our potential and personal fulfillment.  I have selected 5 mental habits that I consistently work to apply in my life and why I believe in their importance.

Before I start my list, Here is a poem that I found several years ago about the value of habits:

I am your constant companion.  I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.

I will push you onward or drag you down to failure.

I am completely at your command.  Half the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly.

I am easily managed-you must merely be firm with me.

Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of all great men; and alas, of all failures as well.  Those who are great, I have made great.  Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man.

You may run me for profit or run me for ruin-it makes no difference to me.  Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet.  Be easy with me and I will destroy you.  Who am I? I am habit!

Author Unknown

Here are my thoughts on five important mental habits.  Please feel free to leave any that you would like to add to the list in the comment box below.

1. I will not allow myself to make excuses

I was very fortunate to have a coach in high school who did not allow us to make excuses.   I saw what an essential part of being my best this habit was and have continued to coach myself to not make excuses.

Most people, myself included, sell ourselves short of what we can accomplish, what limits we can push ourselves to, and how resourceful and tough we can be when we need to. High achievement starts with high standards.  A “No excuses, no explanations” mindset provides that needed motivation to expect and then bring out the best in ourselves.

When I hear someone give an excuse, that tells me that whatever they are making an excuse about is either not that important to them, or that they are unsure of their own ability to perform well.  Individuals who accept personal responsibility become more confident and energized.

2.  I elevate my energy level by controlling my thoughts

According to author Jim Loehr–“Energy, not time, is the fundamental currency of high performance..  Our thoughts have a great deal to do with our energy level. Developing an awareness of our current thoughts and how they affect us is the first step toward being able to control them .

Once we are aware of our thoughts, we can eliminate the energy zappers and can talk ourselves into increasing our energy level. Our energy level affects what we are willing to undertake, our performance,  and maybe most importantly, our ability to influence others–the essential quality for leadership.

3. I make and then stick to my own daily schedule.   I want to be responsive to others, but also need to be responsive to my schedule.  I make my daily schedule for a reason—so that I am spending time in the areas that move my personal and professional lives in the direction that I want to purse.  I make it so that I have a life balance in all of the areas that are important to me, and a balance in all areas that affect my work.

Yes, there will be urgent/important items that take precedent from time to time, but I weigh requests from others against my priorities for the day.  If I am going to change my priorities from my schedule for the day to fulfill a request from someone else, it needs to be something that I have to do such as a request from a superior or an opportunity that needs to be acted on immediately to be realized, or an emergency that will have greater consequences if schedule for a later time rather than handled immediately.  I will not alter my schedule, just for the sake of pleasing someone else.  What I need to get done is just as important as what they want me to do.

4.  I will stop stopping I will Focus on one thing at a time—and I will make that area of focus the most important thing I can do with my time.  If the task is important enough for me to schedule and start, then it is something that is working toward my goals and needs to be finished .  There is no reward for starting, only finishing.

Stopping one project or task to start another is a major time waster.  Research shows that the time required to complete a project is increased by as much as 40% by switching from one task to another and back.  On a major project that can add several hours or even days!

When I lose my discipline and I stop one project to pick up another, I am never able to return to the first one with the momentum that I had.  I have to shift my concentration back to the original task and usually end up spending time determining where I left off and then usually add the time waster of repeating steps.

Yes, there are times in a project when I have to stop.  For example, I might be at the stage of the project where I am waiting on someone else before I can move forward.  In those cases, I note where I am and where to pick up so that I can resume as quickly and efficiently as possible once I get the needed input.

5.  I am okay with being uncomfortable.  I know that the only way to make progress is for me to push myself past my current limits and with that often comes a certain amount of discomfort.  So, when I take on a project that does push me past my limits, I view it as progress and not stress.

I want my efforts to grow and expand my skills to proceed forward as quickly as possible without affecting my energy level for all of the projects I am involved with.  I choose to live with some uncertainty in order to have the rewards that come with self improvement.

I hope you find at least one useful idea from this post.  If you think others might enjoy this post, please share it with any of the social media buttons at the top left of the screen.

2 comments for “5 Essential Mental Habits

  1. Nora Coxwell
    September 12, 2012 at 6:48 am

    This is so inspiring that I must share it with my students. I especially appreciate the poem.

  2. pavanmehta
    February 7, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    Really inspiring blog and also good poem..

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