If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance you want to improve yourself. The mere fact that you’re investing time to read this article tells me that you have a growth mindset and want to learn and get better which excites me. AS we begin a new year (and new decade), it’s always a great time to reset and re focus on what’s important in your life. If you’re like me, and want to make 2020 your best year ever, then here’s a few of my thoughts (and what I’ll be doing) on how we can do it…
Set Goals: Goal setting isn’t for everyone as it can become an added pressure and people often lose motivation when they aren’t looking like achieving their goals. I am a believer i goal setting though as I find that without a clear and defined goal that is challenging, I have nothing clear to work towards and can therefore just ‘drift’ through life.
Make a plan: Once you’ve got your goals set you need to make a plan. Goals without a plan are meaningless. Your goal is like your destination and your plan is the directions of how you’ll get there. Goals are great but the process of how you’ll achieve those goals is more important.
Work your arse off: Once you’ve set your goals and made a plan that’s not enough. The best plan in the world will never achieve anything if you don’t execute that plan. Making changes in your life happens through taking action and the people that achieve great things in life and are the most successful are the ones that work the hardest. Nothing great has ever been achieved without a lot of hard work. (Check out our article about why We Think it’s Never Been Easier To Be The Best)
Enjoy the process: If you’re solely focused on the outcome you’re missing out on the beauty of the process of getting there. One of the biggest game changes for me was when I stop trying to control the outcome and instead focused my energy and attention on getting my process and preparation as good as it can possibly be both with my cricket and in other aspects of my life.
Embrace the pain and struggles: In life there are many struggles and lots of pain (this can be physical pain or emotional pain). Any elite cricketer, high performing athlete, business person or parent will tell you that with success there is lots of pain and struggle. Whether it’s working out in the gym (physical pain) or setbacks on the field, to be the best you can be you need to understand that it’s all part of the process and therefore embrace the pain and setbacks as they are often the most character building.
Be prepared to fail: If you’re not prepared to fail you won’t win (in the longterm) on and off the field. On the filed, to perform at your best you need to play with freedom and this isn’t possible without accepting the fact that you may ‘fail’ doing it. Off the field, you’re going to fail a lot also but it’s through failures and mistakes that the greatest lessons are often learned. (Check out our article on how to Create a Winning Mindset)
Reflect/review and learn: I often say to the athletes that I mentor that having an experience (training session or playing a match) is one thing but if you don’t take time to reflect, review and learn from that experience you’re stunting your development. Make time for reflecting to learn what you did well and what you could have done better and need to continue to work on from your experiences. (Check out our article about How Self-reflection can be the change you’re looking for)
Ask questions: If you don’t ask questions, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity to learn and develop yourself. Asking questions of your friends, parents, teachers, colleagues, peers, teammates etc gives you an insight into their knowledge and how they see things which could be something that is crucial for your life and performance (Check out our article written by former Aussie batsman Chris Rogers on How to Learn and Bat Better)
Invest in yourself: If you’re not willing to invest in yourself (time, energy & money) you’re never going to reach your full potential. I once heard that the greatest investment we can ever make isn’t shares or property but in our own learning and up-skilling ourselves which is advice I live by. Whether it’s buying and reading a book, doing an online course or listening to podcasts, you should always be investing in yourself to become the best you can be.
Limit Expectation of others: This is something GaryVee talks a lot about and is something I’ve spent a lot of time on in recent years. Everyone around you is busy and living their own life. While we often think we know what’s going on in the lives of those closest to us, we rarely know everything. It’s human nature to think about yourself first and others second and living without expectations of others means you don’t get let down expecting something from someone. If you expect nothing, even from those closest to you, everything is a bonus and your relationships are often better.
Look for the good in every situation: Life can be brutal and there are always awful things going on in the world and around us. How you perceive things is a choice though and I highly encourage you to choose to see the good in every situation. Even in the dimmest of situations there are almost always positives if you choose to see them. As soon as you start living like this your outlook on life will change significantly.
Stop caring about others opinions: As soon as you stop valuing others opinions too much, you can start doing the things that are most meaningful and important to you. So many people do things to please others or look good to others when it’s to the detriment of their own life. In 2020 stop caring so much about others opinions (as long as you’re not breaking the law or doing something to harm others) and do things that make you happy.
Smile and laugh regularly: Smiling and laughing releases a chemical in your brain that makes you happy. Do your best to smile and laugh as regularly as possible as this will have a positive impact on how you feel and therefore your output/performance. Even when things seem bad or tough, if you’re able to step back from it, life is usually pretty good so try and enjoy it.
Sleep enough: This is obvious but often underrated by many people. Sleeping well and enough is crucial to your health and daily performance. Not sleeping enough over a long period has been linked to increases in health problems including an increase in cancer cells while not sleeping enough also effects our energy levels on a daily basis. Aim to make sleeping enough for you (everyone needs a different amount of sleep) a priority for 2020. (Read about How I Couldn’t Sleep The Night Before my List A Debut for Middlesex at Lord’s)
Eat smart: I chose to write eat smart instead of eat well because I love my food and drink and know that it’s ok to enjoy yourself, just be smart about it. Having a balanced diet is hugely important to performing at your best. Don’t be afraid to treat yourself but eat well 5/6 days a week. Eat for performance and fuel not just cause you have to.
Stay Hydrated: Being hydrated, like sleeping enough is hugely underrated by many people (often including myself). When dehydrated our concentration and ability to focus diminishes significantly. Our body is largely made up of water so if you want to fuel it to it’s full capability you need to stay hydrated. Create good habits like having a water bottle with you at all times and consume a decent amount of water as soon as you wake up (you will feel less tired afterwards).
Cherish every moment: We only get one life so make the most of it! Time is our most precious resource and it’s scarce. We can never have 2019 back or any day that’s passed so make the most of each and every day and really cherish every moment as often as you can. For it will soon be just a memory.
2020 could be your best year ever but only if you’re ready and willing to take charge of it! I’m certainly planning on making it my best year ever and I would love it to be yours also!
About the writer: I founded Cricket Mentoring in August 2016 with the goal of helping cricketers all over the world become the best they can be – on and off the field. As a former professional cricketer with Middlesex CCC (2010-2012) I’ve played with and against some of the world’s best players and worked with some elite coaches. I’m a Cricket Australia Level 2 coach and through my own personal experiences, practice and a hunger to always learn, I’ve developed and continue to refine my principles and philosophies on the great game. I believe there’s 6 pillars to peak performance (Technical, Tactical, Mental, Emotional, Physical, Lifestyle) and most athletes only focus on one or a few things. All of our content (articles, videos, podcast) covers the 6 pillars and has been created to assist cricketers understand what it takes to achieve great things in the game.
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