It's that time of the year where we spend our days and nights frequently caught up in reflection. And rightfully so, you can't properly move forward until you properly deal with the past.

With that said, as I began planning my upcoming year, one thing I notice is that my wins or losses from this year never stemmed from large and challenging habits.

Instead, my wins and losses for the year came down to small habits that when repeatedly executed over time led to monumental results. As you're reviewing this year and looking ahead to 2018, commit to these five small habits to have a more productive and healthier year.

1. Let go of the excuses.

Excuses sound best to those who make them. And I'll be honest, I still made my fair share of excuses this year.

It's tempting to find external fault for our shortcomings but this isn't serving us at all because we're preventing ourselves from growing into the best possible version of ourselves. If you want to become the best possible leader, runner, or writer--it starts with taking 100 percent ownership of everything in your life.

Review some of the goals and habits you fell short on. Once you unravel the surface level answers for why it didn't get happen, you'll most likely come to the conclusion that it wasn't a big enough priority.

2. No more rationalizing poor choices.

Many of us (both of my hands are up) don't like admitting when something about our belief systems is flawed. To protect our ego, we'll justify and favorably spin the story to make our choices seem okay.

Our brains work hard to preserve our self-image and support our specific attitudes about life even when evidence is thin.

It's easy to rationalize why you didn't make your sales call quota, fell short on your content creation goals, and fell short of your fitness goals.

Rationalizing happens often times due to fear, anxiety, or insecurity. These disempowering emotions steer your actions in a direction that doesn't lead to your desired results.

The simplest way to handle this rationalization is to simply slow down and observe your own decision making. When you're about to take action on something, notice what's going on in your head and body.

Tempted to cut the sales calls short? Is it because you're feeling fear and discomfort? Or is it due to self-doubt?

3. More doing, less dreaming.

Vision boards will only take you so far. Results can only manifest if you're actually on the playing field.

Strategy and planning are critical to success, but don't get stuck in "planning mode." No marketing plan or fitness plan was perfect in its first iteration. Testing is important because you get quicker feedback which leads to quicker improvement and results.

4. Create a strong support network.

My biggest "aha-moment" this year was realizing how beneficial it is to truly have a group of people in your corner. I've normally been a lone wolf who doesn't like to ask for help or support.

However, I realized when acting like that, I'm wasting a lot of time and lessening my chances of actually succeeding with my goal. When you have a supportive network behind you, there will be people to motivate you on days where you don't want to work along with people to compensate for your weaknesses.

Most importantly, having the right network is important because you'll have a group of people who understand how difficult the journey to building a profitable business or healthy body can be.

As a way to get started with this, write out three to five people who would be ideal candidates for your support network.

5. Make time for your health.

"I'm a busy person. I don't have time to eat right and get to the gym" is a common sentence I hear from people.

People know by now that exercising and eating healthy improves productivity and overall well being among many other traits.

With that said, the most important trait needed for improving your health is to start making time for it. When you're busy, it's vital to have a plan to get it done.

Getting in shape and improving your health biomarkers won't happen by accident (same with improving your business).

It's important to realize that no one will grant you time. You have to take that time and then guard it. Start making time for your health by scheduling exercise sessions just as you schedule doctor appointments and work meetings.

Published on: Dec 21, 2017