6 High Performance Habits that Will Change Your Life
As a Certified High-Performance Coach, I help people attain heightened and sustained levels of engagement, joy and confidence so they are empowered to achieve their career goals and life dreams. Being a “high performer” is knowing there is always another level up from wherever you are. It means you don’t settle. It means you strive for personal and professional growth. It means you’re looking to live your best life and you want to find that next epic level in all that you do. There are several areas we focus on when we’re talking about high performance but I’m going to focus on three key areas.
If you want to see a big shift in a positive direction in your life, start by mastering your:
Every person will tackle these in their own way and you can come up with dozens and dozens of new habits that can help you master these areas. I will suggest six new habits you can try; two for each of these areas. So, if you’re still looking for some New Year’s goals, maybe you want to try adding these to your list!
BECOME AWARE OF YOUR THOUGHTS
Some people who identify with being very positive and optimistic would be shocked at how many negative thoughts run through their heads on a daily, or even hourly, basis. We seem to be naturally programmed to focus on those things that aren’t working or that annoy us. We can hear 99 wonderful comments but the ONE that’s negative sticks in our mind and really bugs us. We worry about it, turning it over and over in our brain until we’re having dreams about it at night. How can we stop the madness?
“Mastering your thoughts” is a big and weighty goal. In order to tackle it, you need to break it down into one or two habits you can implement that can fit easily into your daily routine. Here are a couple suggestions:
1) Redirect negative thoughts.
Start paying attention to your reactions and the thoughts that come to mind throughout your day. Whenever you find yourself thinking something negative, acknowledge it, let it go and redirect your thoughts to more empowering ones.
A simple example is if you find yourself constantly thinking “I don’t have enough time.” Notice that you’re thinking that, and choose a more empowering thought about time. You could decide to think, “I have plenty of time today to get my biggest priorities done. Anything else will just have to wait until tomorrow.” Can you see how the first thought can create worry, anxiety and stress? The second thought has a more positive spin and empowers you to prioritize, be productive with your time and gives yourself permission to push some items that aren’t urgent from your to-do list to another day.
2) Start your day with a positive thought about yourself.
When you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, instead of noticing the bed head you need to tame or the sleepy eyes you need to cover with makeup, come up with one positive thing to say about yourself. You can even say it to yourself while looking in the mirror. Or write it on a post-in note and put it somewhere you can’t miss.
I happen to have a wooden sign hanging on the wall in my bathroom that I see whenever I step out of the shower that says “You are beautiful.” Makes me smile every time and always aims my thoughts in a more positive direction.
TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ENERGY
Your energy dictates your whole day, and in the bigger picture, your whole life. If you don’t have enough good energy, you won’t have the endurance you need to fuel your dreams and achieve your grand goals. Energy can include a myriad of things. It’s not only getting exercise and eating right (although, those are two main ways to increase your energy), it’s also about the energy you have when you enter a room. Are you a positive force, or a negative one? If you’re overrun with stress and overwhelm, you may not even realize you are not showing up as your best self.
When you take responsibility for your own energy, you are committing to self-care and prioritizing yourself. If you want to produce outstanding results, you’ve got to have the energy to do it! Here are two habits you can adopt to help increase your energy:
1) Take regular breaks to re-energize.
If you are sitting all day at a desk or glossing over in endless conference room meetings, you need to build in some regular breaks to re-energize yourself. One of the biggest times of day most people need an energy lift is the after-lunch-slump in the middle of the afternoon. Instead of grabbing that coffee or sweet treat full of sugar that will give you insta-energy, get up and walk instead. Even if your walking is up and down the hallways at work, moving is moving. That’s actually when I’d get my best work done when I worked in an office. I’d walk around and chat with colleagues and get answers I needed, oftentimes saving me from having to do an email or a phone call. Win-win!
2) Get some zzzzzzz’s.
Yes, I know, Arianna Huffington wrote a whole book about getting a good night’s sleep, and this isn’t a new concept. But, people, there’s a WHOLE BOOK dedicated to the benefits of getting enough sleep! This is probably one of the habits that is most encouraged and most ignored by people. I mean, what could one more hour of sleep really do for you? I happen to know a thing or two about this because I’ve always been a gal who needs her 8 hours. My energy drastically drops if I have even just 7 hours a sleep per night. If you’ve never tried getting your 8 hours, just try it for a week and see how much more productive you are during your days. Dare ya.
CHOOSE TO BE PRESENT
Awareness is a big deal in living a high performance lifestyle. In order to change your thoughts to more positive ones, you have to be aware of what you’re thinking. To increase your energy you have to be aware of how you feel in your body, and what you really need to fuel your endurance. All of this is about being present in your life. Mastering your presence helps strengthen relationships, keeps you actively engaged in each moment and can also make you more productive. Regularly quieting the mind can help and meditation is a practice that many people have already adopted. If you find adding a new meditation practice a little daunting, here are two other habits you can try on for size.
We breathe all day long everyday. But, rarely do we intentionally take a nice deep breath. Breathing can instantly bring you right back to the present moment and focusing on the breath relaxes and centers you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a minute and do some deep breathing. The extra oxygen opens up new pathways to your brain and allows you to think more clearly. It’s a good thing to do in order to be more proactive and intentional in your response to people instead of simply reacting without thought.
My breathing practice? I simply visualize breathing in good energy and then blowing out any of the negative thoughts or worries. In, good. Out, bad. In, good. Out, bad. Works every time.
2) Start listening more.
We’ve all been guilty of tuning out of a conversation because we’re thinking of the next thing we want to say. Being an active participant in a conversation doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing all the talking. By actively listening, you remain present and engaged with the person you’re talking to. That person, in turn, feels heard. Taking it one step further, you can practice reflecting back what someone has said to show that you heard it and fully understand it. It also makes it easier to ask follow-up questions in a conversation. Why do this? People will love you. They’ll feel supported by you. They will know that you “get it” because you really heard them. You may actually learn more about the people in your life by listening well. Give it a whirl and see how much your life improves!
Start living a high-performance life right now! Think positive thoughts, cultivate good energy and be present in your life…see what a difference it can make! If you’d like to learn more about High-Performance Coaching and want to apply to see if you are a good fit, head over to my Coaching page on my website (www.hilaryhartling.com).