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Before you kick off into action this year, you want to make sure your head is pointing in the right direction so you set yourself up for success and not make the mistakes most people who desire change on January 1st and give up by February 1st.

It is our thoughts that determine our emotions. Our emotions determine our actions. Then our actions determine our results. That’s why you want to start with these three mindsets.

Mindset 1: The Half Marathon Mindset – The Mindset You Want to Succeed at Almost Anything

If you had to step outside and run a half marathon – 13.1 miles, could you do it? Most of us could not come even close.

If you want a much more productive year, you first need to adopt a ‘Half Marathon Mindset’ – truthfully about how you see the world. Why? Because there’s rarely a quick and easy way to accomplish something big and substantive. You need to get your head in the right place. You want to manage your own expectations and not set yourself up to fail by giving up too soon because the results you want take time and likely will require you to overcome setbacks. It’s important to acknowledge now that there will be ups and downs.

The only way you will mine your gold is to take the many small steps and do them consistently. From 20 years of coaching many hundreds of people, inconsistency and not staying in the race are the biggest reasons people don’t get the desired results.

The vast majority of people I’ve coached over the years had the ability, intelligence, competence, and people skills to achieve very good outcomes. Still, most did not stay in the race long enough, and even fewer were consistent, especially once the coaching ended.

About a year ago, I heard an interview with a star player from the Las Vegas Raiders. He came from a Division 2 college, was not a high draft pick, and was asked how he had done so well and continued to improve. His response: “Mindset and consistency.”

You might be a little disappointed to read such a non-sensational revelation. Even I wish I could tell you that after my obsession with reading ‘success’ literature for over 30 years, I had found something ‘sexier’ to share.

Mindsets 2 and 3: The Journey Mindset and the Consistency Mindset

In 2010 I hit my first business peak, and it still gives me chills to think about it. Just a year prior, in 2009, the economy had tanked, and everything looked grim and surrounded by scarcity. I was single, living in a low-end condo with no couch or TV, just a dining table and a furnished bedroom and office. Every penny I made went into the business. But I did four things right in 2009: I stayed in business – kept coaching and building my network, finished and self-published my book, I joined an online dating service, and I made a trip to the UK before Christmas to meet Nick Cann, the CEO of the UK’s Institute for Financial Planners (IFP) in London.

The following year these seeds (plus some I’d been watering for a few years) blossomed, and I had a week-long speaking tour across Louisiana (home of the best food in the US in my opinion); I spoke at the annual IFP Conference in Wales, the Million Dollar Round Table in Vancouver, met someone there who invited me to speak in Dubai that October, spent two weeks in the summer in the UK where I had some unforgettable workshops including at Britain’s oldest inhabited castle (and haunted if you ask me), introduced my girlfriend to my family, helped my brother in law out for a few days when my sister was unwell, got engaged at the Grand Canyon and made by far my highest income to date.

It went so well that I was breathless and felt it greedy to want more. I didn’t know where to go next! And gradually, some of my best habits started to wane as I subconsciously wondered if I deserved so much success. I didn’t notice any of this happening.

Two other mindsets I wish I had understood and applied were the Journey Mindset and the Consistency Mindset. One Hit Wonders don’t know about this either. Some child actors don’t know about them nor do some athletes who achieve remarkable things at young ages. I’d had plenty of adversity before 2010 but the year was so overwhelmingly amazing that I didn’t know how to follow it and I didn’t understand the Journey Mindset that says:

Life is a journey: you have to think about your life as going to the ‘gym’ forever – not just to have consistently good health but to pursue strong long-term habits in all areas of your life. This mindset will help you recover quicker from inevitable setbacks and life quakes and help you sustain and build on your successes.

And many of those habits can get, well, monotonous. Think about it: have you ever heard an Olympic athlete or your favorite sports star say: “What I love most about my sport isn’t the thrill of the big game, the millions of dollars I make, the fame, the attention, and the lucrative advertising deals; what I love most is how exciting my practice drills are – how every day as a (fill in the blank sport/position), I get to practice exactly the same (fill in the blank sport/position) day-in, day-out, from dawn to dusk just as I have ever since I started playing when I was 5!”

What you have to come to terms with is the routine (i.e., often dull) nature of your powerful, productive habits.

You have to go to the gym forever if you want to mine your gold to the best of your ability.

Do your best to focus mentally on the outstanding outcomes you get from doing the right thing day in and day out whether you feel like it or not. These reminders are really important because it isn’t easy to show up almost every day.

The mindsets that help you do this are the Half Marathon Mindset, the Journey Mindset, and the Consistency Mindset because, for most of us, running 13.1 miles would take a lot of small, consistent actions done repeatedly over a long period of time before we’d be able to accomplish this. And the journey of life is, hopefully, a long and rewarding one.

(BTW: If you’re the rare bird who can run a half marathon handily, feel free to call it something else, such as the Master Chef Mindset or the Guitar Great Mindset – something that would require a lot of effort for you to achieve.)

The Consistency Mindset is you becoming the type of person who is increasingly consistent – someone who shows up whether she or he feels like it.

The only way to prove this to your brain is to do it – to take consistent action and become a consistent person.

This is where you go from:
The THOUGHTS (I am becoming increasingly consistent)
And feelings (I feel good when I am consistent)
To the (consistent) ACTIONs that get you
The RESULTS (whatever success looks like for you)

As you start to believe increasingly, over time, that you are consistent, you are going to take action that is congruent to this – you are going to do the right things week-in and week-out most of the time. I know this sounds easy enough, but until I taught this explicitly, I found 85% people were not consistent. Inconsistency is many people’s biggest problem to getting the results they want in most areas of their life and I’m sure you see this with some of the people in your life too. Most of us don’t have a knowing problem; we have a doing problem.

What should you be consistent about? Developing more productive habits ever.

The moral of the story is that if you want this to be an outstanding year, you must have a mindset that reminds you to stay in the race and be consistent!

From a practical standpoint:
a) Keep the mindsets in writing and highly visible. The Half Marathon Mindset is printed at the top of my daily Habit Tracker.
b) Set calendar reminders for future months to check in with yourself and ask:
Am I still in the race on this January goal?
How consistent am I with the actions I need to take?

It’s easy to be nonchalant about this now or in early January, but in mid-March? August? Early November? No offense, it must be human nature, but this is where most of us struggle and fail. I don’t want this to happen to you. Reading this article and ‘knowing’ this is not enough. Your brain needs frequent reminders: ‘These actions may not be exciting, but they will get me some exciting results once they become habits and I do them long enough.’

To a prosperous and purposeful 2023!
Matt Anderson
Founder & President
Matt Anderson International
1177 Oak Ridge Drive, Glencoe, IL 60022, USA
Phone: +001 (312) 622-3121