10 habits of elite performers

Elite performers are different. They think and act in unique ways and they practise high impact habits with passion and discipline.

If you’re serious & curious about finding out how good you can be then read on and apply yourself fully to the habits you think will make the biggest difference.

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Reading time: 5 minutes

1. Make performance a choice

Don’t obsess on results (i.e. what you achieve), but instead obsess on the performance (i.e. what you do and how you do it). Tuning in to outputs the whole time is the equivalent of an Olympic athlete spending all their time thinking about a medal, which won’t always help.

Thinking about how they will win a medal and doing something about it with energy and determination would be much better.

Once you focus on inputs, and using the tips below, performance becomes a choice

2. Be active – accumulate 30 minutes of activity on most days of the week

Being fit increases stamina and energy levels, improves mental and physical performance and helps people to be more emotionally stable. The right amount of activity also reduces the incidence of disease, reduces anxiety, helps to manage stress and is a great treatment for mild depression. Not convinced… then do 30 minutes of brisk walking (can be 10 minutes in the morning plus 10 at lunchtime and 10 in the afternoon), or the equivalent, 5 times a week for one month and see whether it makes a difference to you… then decide.

What you eat provides the fuel for your body AND BRAIN. Too often we expect good performance without good fuel. Good fuelling involves…

3. Use food to fuel performance

  • eating a healthy breakfast everyday
  • establishing a habit of regular food intake throughout the day to maintain a consistent blood sugar level
  • eat plenty of complex (low glycaemic index) carbohydrates
  • keep fat/sugar intake to a minimum level
  • make healthy choices the convenient option by keeping healthy snacks to hand
  • eat lots of fruit and vegetables

Simple stuff, but incredibly effective

4. Stay well hydrated

Becoming dehydrated leads to a decline in both physical and mental performance. So, drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. No more than 4 cups of tea/coffee and about 2 litres of water (8 small glasses) consumed gradually through a 24 hour period is perfect.

5. Choose your attitude

This may sound too simple for many. But exercising some control over your mindset can make the biggest single difference to performance at work. Whether the work is flexible or fixed, choosing the attitude with which you will plan, approach and tackle it will all affect your performance and your results.

All too often the right attitude is regarded as something you have or have not, but it can be worked on like anything else.

6. Systematically build robust confidence

Elite performers have a robust sense of belief in their ability to be successful in the situation they are facing. We find that the very best performers work on this systematically and know their recipe for success. They know their strengths and they play to them as often as they can.

They review their past performances to draw out what went well, what they did to contribute and what they could improve. They accept and internalise praise when they receive it. And they mentally prepare themselves to meet all the potential demands and challenges of the task at hand.

7. Choose your company

Another performance factor that is often neglected or left to chance is the company that people keep both inside and outside of work. Friends, family and colleagues are part of your performance environment and your source of emotional support. Some will have more choice over who they mix with than others, but there is always a choice – even if it is who you choose to believe, or not.

Mixing with radiators, who give off warmth and encouragement, is usually preferable to mixing with drains, who seem to suck energy and hope from you!

8. Focus on controlling the controllable

Elite performers invest their time, energy and attention into the areas where they know they make a difference. They also choose NOT to spend time; energy and attention in areas where they have little control or impact. They control the controllable by choosing what they focus their time, energy and attention on, and they let go of the rest.

9. Take responsibility

Not “take responsibility for others”, but for yourself and for your performance. Great performers in sport rarely blame others (publicly they might blame officials, but internally they will focus on what they control themselves). Of course there is certain bravery to taking responsibility and having no-one else to blame, but mistakes are seen as opportunities to learn and to get better.

Great performers are also great learners and are focused on getting better.

10. Do the first nine with conviction and focus

It’s all very well reading a list of tips and thinking, “Mmm, some of those are good ideas.” None of it will make a single iota of difference to your performance unless you turn your intentions into actions with conviction and focus.

If you half-heartedly do one or two of these things you’ll only find out about the performance impact of half-hearted application.

Be curious & find out how good you can be by applying yourself fully to the things you think will make the biggest difference.

Download this accompanying Infographic.