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I read an article that chronicled how long the average Olympic athlete had prepared for the opportunity to represent their country at The Games.

A study by the National Lottery in London found the following:

* 11 years preparation.

* 10,000 hours of training.

* Training 6 days per week averaging 6 hours per day.

Take an event like the 100-meter sprint and consider that the event lasts approximately 10 seconds however the athletes who make the final would have put in the countless hours, days, months, and years of preparation; an amount of time grossly disproportionate to the actual length of the event.

This makes me wonder why we tend to have little, or no, problem setting a goal and yet the vast majority of people fail because they do not factor in the preparation.

This article is part of a three-part series I am writing on preparing for 2017 so you can have success achieving your goals.

Are you truly interested in achieving your goals?

Then, instead of setting goals that only about 8% of you will achieve (a 2015 study by Go Banking surveyed 5000 people and found that only 8% actually achieve their New Year’s Resolutions) this series will help to prepare you for creating a winning year ahead.

We will focus on getting organized, getting healthy, having the right mindset and most importantly – creating some new habits ahead of the curve. While other people will start the year unprepared, you will already be living into your own version of Olympic fitness, physically and mentally, so that you set yourself up to soar.

With that in mind, let’s get to it.

This week we will focus on the habits that build a winning mindset.

The right mindset is essential when it comes to preparation and is an important part of achieving your goals.

Simply imagining your goal as accomplished is not enough; establishing the habits that support that mindset day in and day out are essential.

Without strong habits, people tend to get off course and thus slide into the 92% that do not achieve what they set out to do.

In 2001 I was already a year into a diagnosis of progressive multiple sclerosis.

I was an up and coming triathlete and had my pro card. I didn’t tell my coach or my agent about the diagnosis.

Instead I continued to train diligently even though I had numbness, tingling, pain and naturally, a significant amount of fatigue.

In my mind, I had already placed top ten in the professional women’s division of an Ironman. The Ironman is a 2.2 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run.

On a training ride, I fell off my bike.

I was in so much pain that I couldn’t even sit in the saddles.

Regardless, I flew across the world with faith that somehow I would do this race. I knew that the MS was progressing rapidly and I might not have another shot.

With a fractured pelvis, I ended up finishing 8th at Ironman Malaysia.

The field was rich with talent and the number one woman in the world showed up.

If I hadn’t spent three years mentally preparing, and developing the right habits, I would never have had that finish.

You have the same capability. You can outwit your greatest obstacles with the right mental preparation and deliberate habits.

With that in mind, let’s get started.

5 Key Habits That Support Achieving Your Goals

1. Let Go of Negative People

The people around us tend to have a massive influence on our mood.

If we are surrounded by negative people, it will be incredibly challenging to become the person we need to be in order to achieve the results we desire.

In preparing for the new year, take a moment to consider who the negative people are in your life and make a decision to stop spending as much time with them.

In my book, The Have It All Woman, I discuss healthy boundaries.

You can love people however it doesn’t mean you have to like them.

You can say to someone who is gossiping or negative, ‘look, I do not feel comfortable talking about people who aren’t here,’ or, ‘let’s change the subject.’

I have one family member who is particularly negative.

Their world is always ‘hard’ and people are always ‘against her.’

When she starts talking about other people, or about a subject that is particularly negative, I gently change the topic or tell her that I am committed to staying positive and could we choose not to talk about that issue.

Over time the people in your life will start to embrace the more positive you.

They may still gossip, and be negative, however they are less likely to do it in your presence.

The big thing with people who gossip to you is that chances are they are also gossiping about you. Never trust a person who is not willing to say the same thing behind someone’s back, to their face.

Anyone I know who has achieved anything is extremely cautious about the people they choose to surround themselves with.

As you pursue your goals, you are going to have moments that shake your belief.

In these times, you will require positive people to uplift you and help you stay on course. As part of your preparation, begin this process now.

2. Commit to 15 Minutes Per Day of Education in Your Desired Field

If you want to become exceptional in any area, commit to learning about it.

For example, if you want to lose weight, then learn about the most effective exercises, the best way to fuel your body and how to align your lifestyle with your goals.

If you have a chosen path in business, or want to advance your career, spend time daily researching your desired occupation.

Amateurs go into their goals without doing any research and find out quickly that they do not know what they are doing.

As part of your preparation, find a qualified source of learning, someone who has been successful in the area that you want to achieve in, and educate yourself.

3. Visualize What You Want

Great athletes visualize the podium long before they get there and so should you. Being in the habit of spending a few moments every day mentally living into the life we want spurs our brain into building creative solutions to achieve exactly what we desire.

Recently, I took the stage at Go Pro, Eric and Marina Worre’s conference for entrepreneurs.

In addition to myself, Sir Richard Branson, Tony Robbins and other notable leaders shared their wisdom and insight in front of an audience 20,000 strong and a representation from 137 countries including those livestreaming in.

Eric shared that he had been asked if he was surprised by the success of the event and he recounted how he had visualized it exactly many years ago.

Part of training for success is mental preparation and one of the most effective things we can ever do is visualize our goals as already being achieved.

4. Have an Exceptional Getting Started Routine

We have all heard the saying, ‘early to bed, early to rise, helps to make a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.’ According to CPA, Tom Corley, who studied the habits of the rich, wealthy people get up earlier and that is the bottom line.

In our home, I like to wake up before five a.m.

The children are still asleep, the house is quiet, and this is my time to pray, meditate, do some daily gratitude with Chris, write, and proactively prepare for the day. These early hours are my most productive.

Getting up early, especially if you are someone who is accustomed to sleeping in, can be challenging at first. I suggest you systematically set your alarm 15 minutes earlier every two days so you can adjust.

It will take time to adapt to your new schedule but why not start now? By the time the New Year comes, you will already be an early riser.

How we start the day generally dictates what kind of day we will have.

If, for example, we wake up, roll over and start scrolling our social media feed and become embroiled in feelings of jealousy, negativity and resentment then we will most likely take those emotions into our day.

My clients, and students, are trained to have a solid getting started routine which includes prayer, meditation, gratitude and exercise.

They are also taught to avoid email, text and social media until they have a clear and grateful mind. When my students live into this routine they report having a much better day.

5. Create a Solid Ending the Day Routine

Average people will end the day once again scrolling social media or watching the news. They wonder why they have difficulty sleeping.

I am a believer of being informed and not inundated. My students are taught to avoid screens for one hour prior to bedtime.

They read fiction, or something inspirational, write out ten items of gratitude and once again take some time in silence to pray and meditate.

Within a few days, I receive reports that their sleep quality improves.

The other thing my students do is write out their intentions for the coming day the night before.

They are also taught to keep a notepad, and pen, beside their bed so that if they do wake up with an idea, or something they remembered they must do, they can write it out quickly and go back to sleep.

Furthermore, finishing the day with journaling is also helpful. Attempting to go to bed with unresolved feelings can impair the quality of sleep.


To help you become more productive and lead a ridiculously fulfilling life.

Susan Sly is a best-selling author, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur.  She specializes in helping individuals, and organizations, become more productive.  She resides in Scottsdale, Arizona with her husband, Chris.  Susan is the mother of four children and loves her life! To connect with Susan, visit


You can have greater results AND better life balance. Get organized now!



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