We hear a lot today about being your best, taking care of business, achieving success, and performing at your peak. What we don’t always hear is what it takes to sustain peak performance.

Peak performance is a commitment to your physical, mental, and spiritual being and to your Personal Development and development. Peak performance, in my opinion, is not something you can switch on and off; it is what you commit to and strive for every day. It is not just about business and achieving goals. It is also about balance between work and family, friends and fitness. Finding the right combination for each of us is personal, but I will share with you six characteristics that have worked for me along the way.

Look after Your Health: Diet and Exercise

This is one so many of us take for granted. I know I did for many years. The sad but true reality is that if we don’t have good health, the rest does not really matter because the other steps of peak performance will not fall into place, and we will not have an opportunity to enjoy the rewards.

* See your doctor on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to share personal details. I know that for some of us it is uncomfortable at times, but don’t mess around if something is bothering you. For example, I went recently for a colon cancer examination, not the greatest test to have to go through, but the peace of mind afterward was worth a day of discomfort.

* Watch your diet. Educate yourself on eating right. There are lots of wonderful books out there on the subject, or go and see a qualified dietician if you like. Drink lots of water as well, six to eight glasses a day, at least. You will feel better and healthier for it, and for those of you watching your weight it will definitely take those hunger pains away in the afternoon and late at night.

* Exercise moderately. I have a treadmill in my basement; for years it just sat there and collected dust. Now, I use it three to four times a week for 30–40 minutes, which fits in with my lifestyle and schedule. Do what is right for you. Join a health club, walk, swim, play tennis, or golf. Exercising in moderation is wonderful, not only for the body but also for the mind.
Discipline Yourself to Get up One Hour Earlier

If you can’t do that, strive to get up even 30 minutes earlier than you do now, and invest that time in yourself. I know that is not easy—we all lead such demanding lives and have family obligations. Make that time! Trust me, try it for 30 days, and you will be glad you did. I started this discipline in 1986 after a successful course I went on to overcome my stuttering disability. I had to find the time for doing my speech exercises to keep my fluency. Do I succeed every single day in doing this now, especially with a young family? Not always, but I do as often as I can. I always feel better for it.

Challenge Yourself to Learn

Peak performers constantly challenge themselves in many areas. They regularly read books and listen to motivational or business tapes to stay up to date. They are not afraid to be wrong. They are inquisitive and ask lots of questions. They spend less time watching television and more time educating themselves.

Plan for Peak Performance

Peak performers maximize their time. They prioritize, set goals for themselves, analyze their performance, and constantly ask for feedback. They go the extra mile and are single-minded in their pursuit of excellence and success. They work hard, but they also work smart, and they save and spend quality time with their family and loved ones. Life balance sometimes gets lost with people who are obsessive about success, but I believe it is essential for sustaining peak performance.
Take Quality Time Off

I know that it is not always possible for us to take regular vacations for one reason or another, but at the very least, take a mini-vacation, even a day off devoted solely to something other than work or business. Take a walk in the park or woods near you, and smell that fresh air. Take your children or nieces or nephews to the zoo. Treat yourself every now and then—it does not have to be grand and elaborate. Find what is right for you.

Be Comfortable with Yourself

Peak performers are comfortable with who they are. They know that things will not always go their way, that life is not always easy, and that there will be sacrifices to make. The bottom line is that people who succeed in the business of life know this. They surround themselves with a support system to help them, and they are comfortable enough with who they are to know that ultimately, they will get to where they want to be, and they know what it takes to stay there.

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life”, visit http://www.selfgrowth.com/greatways.html

Author's Bio: 

Charles Marcus is a best-selling author, success strategist, and a highly sought after motivational keynote speaker. He specializes in helping organizations to consistently perform at their highest level and in challenging them to get out of their comfort zones. He works internationally with both corporations and associations. His high-energy, entertaining, and dynamic presentations delight audiences worldwide. For more information on how Charles can impact your organization and on his learning tools, please visit his Web site at http://www.cmarcus.com, or call toll-free at (800) 837–0629.