What does it mean to achieve peak performance? Peak performance is when you achieve maximum results on what you’re focusing on. How great would it feel to achieve maximum results on everything you put your mind to? It is entirely possible. But it’s also no secret that most people don’t achieve maximum results in their life.
Why do you think people fail to achieve the best results in their life? I mean, we’re all given the same 24 hours in a day, yet there are people who are widely more successful than you or I. Most people aren’t focused and don’t want it badly enough. They gave up when the going got tough or when they faced adversity. Does this sound familiar to someone you know?
You know you want to achieve the best results in your life, but knowing something doesn’t always make it easy to attain. To achieve peak performance, you don’t have to go at it alone. Achieving peak performance isn’t easy but if you follow the blueprint below, it will be much easier to attain.
Start With a Routine
The first step towards achieving peak performance in your life is starting with the routine you’ve set for yourself. The routine you set for yourself will be a big determinant in achieving maximum results. A routine can also be assessed as the habits you do every single day. This can be classified as getting up thirty minutes before work or getting up before the sunrise. Your routine when you get home from work could be sitting and watching TV, or it could be reading a book or working on your business.
What routine have you set for yourself? You may think a few bad habits in your life won’t affect you, but they most certainly will. The book, The Compound Effect, by Darren Hardy, delves into the topic of how the small choices you make each day will add up. You may think watching an hour of TV each day isn’t that bad, but in reality that’s almost an entire work week spent each month watching TV.
It should be noted that when you focus on creating an ideal routine for yourself, you shouldn’t try to fix everything in your routine at once. You’d likely become overwhelmed within a few weeks and back to your old habits by month’s end. Instead of watching TV every day, make it a goal to only watch it every other day. Then, from there, you could watch it every third day until you find yourself not needing to watch TV at all.
Your routine is built around the first two hours and the last two hours of your day. Those four hours will be crucial in achieving maximum results. If you don’t start or end your day well, your day will be shot before you work because you will not be in a peak state. Focus solely on yourself for those four hours. Establish a routine for the start of your day and the end. When looking for a routine to start your day, check out the book Miracle Morning.
For the end of the day, your routine could be shutting off all electronics two hours before bed and doing some reading, reflecting, and yoga before going to bed.
Now that you’ve spent four hours preparing yourself for the day, what are you going to do for the next twelve hours? For starters, you’re either going to a job or working on your company. After preparing yourself for the day, you will have a sense of euphoria before beginning your day. How can you take this state with you through the day and into the night? You will want to create a power list where you put down the five tasks you need to do that day that will help you push forward.
The five tasks you put down must get accomplished before you stop working for the day. If you put them off until tomorrow, you’re telling yourself the tasks you put aren’t important. You will not achieve peak performance by not completing all five of your tasks. To achieve maximum results on your five tasks, you’ll need the next step.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
If you never focus, no matter how much you work, you will never achieve maximum results. With your five tasks, focus means working on them individually and not trying to do too many tasks at once. By trying to do more than one task, you’re not doing any tasks. Start with the task at the top of your list and work your way down.
When you’re working on a single task, make sure you do whatever is necessary to ensure you will not experience any interruptions. This is your time. It shouldn’t be disturbed by text messages, phone calls, or social media. You need to have 100% focus on your current task. Be locked in.
You will work in blocks. It’s easy to lose focus if you work without taking a break. And I don’t care who you are, working for more than a few hours at a time without taking a break will lead to maximum deficiency in your tasks.
I recommend you work in chunks of ninety minutes, then take a fifteen-minute break once the ninety minutes are up. If you’re working on your own, go outside and breathe in the fresh air. If you work in an office, get up out of your chair and walk around the office, even stretch if it feels necessary. The fifteen-minute break you give yourself should be the only time you aren’t focusing on your work. This is your time to reset before working on your next ninety-minute chunk.
I spoke with Alan Burak, founder of the renowned investment firm, Never Alone Capital where he stated, “Wherever you focus energy flows.” You can either focus on the negative events that have taken place in your life or you can continue to put your focus into your work. You can’t achieve maximum results by being negative. Remember that life happens for you, not to you.
Set Monthly Goals
It can be confusing to know what should be on your power list. You don’t want to put just anything on the list because you will never get that time back. To understand what to put on your list, you will need to set monthly goals for yourself. Yes, it’s important you also set five-year goals for yourself, but you can plan so far out it can be hard to concentrate on what you’re doing today. By setting monthly goals, you can break down your power list per day.
If you set a goal for yourself, for example, to write a book, that goal is very vague. We will break it into small chunks. If you’d like your book to be 90,000 words, then you know you have to write 1,000 words per day for 3 months. If at the end of month, you’ve only written 20,000 words, then you know next month you have to write 40,000 words. When you set monthly goals, it will be easier to create your power list. Without setting goals for yourself, you will veer off into any direction and end up at a destination you didn’t intend.
The process can be repeated for your five-year goals. You know you wish to write seven books over the next five years; you repeat the process until you get it down to a monthly goal. With your monthly goals, you can break them into weekly goals. With your weekly goals, you create your power list.
When you hit your all the tasks on your power list, then you don’t need to start on work for the next day. The problem is if you keep going, you’re going to burn out, and when that happens you will not be productive. It’s better to go all in for your five tasks during the day than try to accomplish ten tasks per day with minimal effort and focus. I’ll be discussing ideas on what you should do once you accomplish your five tasks later in the article.
If you’re looking for a great video on how to set goals for yourself, I recommend checking out this video: How To Set Goals.
It’s easy to fall into a rhythm once you have your routine. It’s so easy to think you’re doing great without realizing you’ve strayed from your goals. The purpose of assessing yourself is to make sure you’re on track with your power list and that you’re entirely focused. When you reassess yourself, it’s easy to get yourself back on track towards your goals.
I’ve found an easy way to do this is to create a spreadsheet with all the days of the week and the numbers 1-5 listed below them. Each numbered task you complete throughout the given day, put a red X through it. What this allows you to do is see if you’ve completed all your tasks during the week or if you’ve missed out on doing your fourth or fifth task during the given day.
Each Sunday, you will want to review your spreadsheet. By reviewing your spreadsheet, you can view the progress you’re making. Sometimes, you can work so fast you forget where you started. It’s nice to have a reminder for yourself to see how far you’ve come in a short period.
You will always want to take inventory of your life. If you’re not where you wish to be then you have to change something within your life. You won’t know what to change if you’re never taking inventory. When you reassess yourself, you learn more about yourself than ever before.
By reassessing yourself you’re also determining if you’re heading in the right direction. If you don’t feel that excitement about achieving your goals anymore then it might be time to tweak your five-year goals, which will trickle into your monthly and weekly goals. Your goals can change depending on where you are in your life. The goals you have today can change entirely in another year from now. It’s important to remember that by reassessing yourself and your goals, you can also change them if you feel it’s warranted or you’re finding yourself unhappy.
When it comes to the weekend, I’d recommend only setting three tasks for yourself on your power list. I’ll go into more detail on why this matters in the last step of this article. But for now, I want you to grasp the concept of momentum. You can have a great week of work and you don’t want to quit on the momentum you’ve built for yourself. While most people take the weekend off in its entirety, they lag on Monday when they go back to their power list.
By putting in the proper amount of work in each week, you can assess yourself correctly on all 31 tasks you’ve completed throughout the week.
Build On Your Strengths
After you’ve reassessed yourself for the week, it’s time to build on your strengths. This is the next step towards achieving peak performance. When you build on your strengths, you will achieve maximum results.
People say to focus on building up your weaknesses. Why would you want to do that and neglect the strengths you already have? If your goal was to write a book that’s 90,000 words and for the last two weeks you’ve written 1,000 words per day, then you developed the habit and strength of writing. Because this is your strength, you can keep challenging yourself. Next week, set a goal to write 1,500 words per day. That goal you set to write your book in 90 days can be accomplished in 75 or even 65 days.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in a year. And they underestimate what they can do in two or three decades.” – Tony Robbins
If you find something you’re doing isn’t working, you shouldn’t force yourself to do it. If possible, outsource the tasks you don’t wish to do to someone else. The strengths you’re building on should only be the strengths that will propel you to your five-year goals.
It is simply impossible to fix every flaw you have. You can get excellent at anything you set your mind too but that doesn’t mean you should become excellent at everything. Instead, you should become excellent at a few things.
Focus on your strengths and becoming excellent in those areas and those areas only. While those are five steps towards achieving peak performance, there are still two steps left. The last two steps may seem simple, but don’t cast them aside because they will ensure you achieve peak performance.
When you decide to exercise, you’re making the decision to take care of your body. By working out, you will feel great. When you feel great, you will be able to focus and achieve maximum results. When you decide to exercise, you can go every day or you can go three days per week. At a minimum, I’d say to workout at least three days per week.
The workouts you do should last a minimum of an hour. You want to be sure you’re giving your body a great workout. When you decide to workout, you will strengthen not only your muscles but also your mind. With your workout, I’d recommend either lifting weights or running/biking. The choice is yours. I wouldn’t include walking as working out; it’s a place you can start, but you’re not testing yourself mentally when you walk. You should always push yourself a little harder each week with your workouts.
You will want to track the workouts you do. I carry around a small notebook with me at the gym. I purchased my notebook for $1, so it doesn’t have to be fancy. All you need for the notebook is that it can track your workouts. I find having a notebook to be easier than putting my workouts in my phone. You will track how many repetitions you do per exercise coupled with the weight you did and how much rest time you took. If you’re running, you’ll log how many miles you did and how long you took to run those miles. By tracking yourself, you can push yourself harder come next week. It’s as if you’re setting goals for every time you go to the gym.
“Take the admission to the gym to avoid the admission to the hospital.” – Amit Kalantri
Couple exercise with getting the proper amount of sleep and having the right eating and drinking habits. It’s essential you get between seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Don’t push yourself and only get six hours of sleep per night. You will burn yourself later in the week. Everything you need to know about sleep can be found in the book Sleep Smarter.
I won’t lecture you too much on the foods to eat and how much water to drink per day. You know if what you’re eating or drinking is healthy or not. To ensure you eat healthy meals every day, I recommend doing a meal prep each Sunday. You prepare your meals for each day of the week so you don’t have to worry about where to get food if you’re in a crunch for time. When that happens, you go for something that’s easy and fast, which tends to be unhealthy. I recommend keeping a bottle of water around you and within sight at all times. When your water is in sight, you will be more apt to drink it during the day. When you focus on your health, you’re almost all the way there towards achieving peak performance, which leads us to our last step.
What’s the point of achieving peak performance if you’re not going to enjoy it? To achieve peak performance, you will need to grind at times. However, you don’t want to grind so much that you never enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you’re working so hard, you need to take time to enjoy it.
Work is just a period of time between vacations. You don’t have to take a long vacation. Something like a quick weekend getaway could be all you need to be feeling revitalized with new ideas. I’d recommend that you try to take a vacation at least every eight to twelve weeks. This also gives you something else to look forward to while you’re doing your work.
When you’re on your vacation, make sure you’re not doing any work. Complete your reassessment and your power list the day before you go on your vacation. That way you can enjoy your vacation and pick right back up where you left off when you get back.
It’s essential you take time away from your work. You never want to burn out because you can’t achieve peak performance that way. I can guarantee when you come back from your trip, you will do better work than you had before!
You can achieve peak performance if you work at it every single day. It won’t be easy, and it will be a grind every minute. But if you wish to live your ideal life, it’s the sacrifice you will need to make.
Follow the seven steps mentioned above and, little by little, you’ll notice an increased performance in your life. It won’t happen right away, and you shouldn’t expect that. This a process that involves you continually working on yourself, every day. There will be one day when you look back over the past few weeks and realize you finally achieved peak performance.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.