The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a best-selling book by Stephen Covey which was released in 1998. Covey’s habits, based on what he calls the ‘character ethic,’ have been used by millions of people in all walks of life to achieve their goals.
In this article, we apply Covey’s 7 Habits inside the ring as we discover how they can make you a highly effective contender. Following the 7 Habits will make you a more focused, effective, and well-rounded person both in and out of the ring.
Habit One: Be Proactive
The first of Covey’s habits pertains to the things that we have control over. In his book, he writes, “Proactive people work on things they can do something about.” He reminds us that our life doesn’t just happen. It is the product of hundreds of small decisions we make every day. To produce positive results, we need to take control of our lives by making everyday decisions that move us closer toward our goals.
For a contender that means taking control of your physical self by sticking to a regular training regimen, maintaining the daily grind of working out, and giving your best in every single workout.
Here are three tips to help you to apply this habit:
- Add workout reminders to your phone.
- Schedule your workout as if it’s an unbreakable appointment.
- Leave your phone in your gym bag and keep your mind in your workout.
By proactively hitting the gym day in and day out, you will be doing the groundwork that will prepare you to perform at your best inside the ring.
Habit Two: Begin With the End In Mind
The second habit is all about the imagination, it encourages us to visualize the outcome of our goals. Covey based this principle on the idea that everything is created twice: First we create in our minds, then we follow through with our physical actions.
Beginning with the end in mind has helped Muhammad Ali predict the round in which he would knock out his opponent. Ali was then able to follow through and make his prediction a reality. This form of visualization also inspired Arnold Schwarzenegger to phone his mother three days before the 1975 Mr. Olympia competition took place and tell her that he’d already won. Arnold then went on to win Mr. Olympia as he had said.
Creating a Vision
Mentally rehearse your workout as you warm up. Visualize yourself nailing every set, hitting new personal records, and using perfect form. Focus on the feeling you have at the end of the session when you know that you have just experienced a killer workout.
Before you step into the ring, visualize yourself being victorious. Run through your performance, seeing yourself connecting with perfect combinations, fast footwork, and effortless rounds.
You should use the second principle as the motivation to create your personal mission statement. That statement will commit to paper what you are committed to doing over a set timeframe. Bruce Lee was a strong believer in personal mission statements. Here is what he wrote in January of 1969:
“I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return, I will give the most exciting performances and render the best quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970, I will achieve world fame, and from then onward till the end of 1980, I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.”
Now, that is specific! With this end in mind, Bruce was able to achieve amazing success. By starting with the end in mind, so can you.
Three Steps to Visualizing Success
- Mentally rehearse your workout before you get to the gym.
- Expect that this will be the best workout of your life.
- Create a specific mission statement that gives clarity to your goals.
Habit Three: Put First Things First
The third habit is all about prioritizing. Following this habit, you organize and manage your time by your priorities. Those priorities are the things that lead directly to the fulfillment of your mission statement.
As a contender, you need to keep prioritizing those things that are directly related to your goals. This means that you won’t jeopardize your goals by indulging in junk food, alcohol, or drugs. You won’t give in to ‘mind over mattress’ syndrome early in the morning and hit “snooze,” missing out on your training session. You also won’t cruise through your workouts on autopilot because you’ve had a long day.
Putting first things first is, ultimately, about having the self-discipline to follow a lifestyle that promotes the pursuit of your goals.
Habit Four: Think Win-Win
Habit four is about developing a cooperative rather than a competitive mindset and seeks mutual benefit, rather than a win-lose outcome. It requires three key character traits:
- Abundance mentality.
As a contender, your goal is to defeat your opponent. Realize, though, that your opponent is making you better. The challenge that he presents is forcing you to be better, just as you are forcing him to be better. So, respect and appreciate your opponent, but when the bell rings, focus on knocking him down!
Thinking win-win is also about beating yourself. In the studio, you are your main competition. Strive to be better, stronger, and faster than you were last time you stepped into the gym.
Habit Five: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Habit Five is all about communication and involves listening to understand the needs and desires of others. When you do listen, you show the person that you care. Remember, people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.
All of this might not seem very relatable to the ring. While we may not do a lot of listening as a contender, there is a valuable lesson here. You need to analyze your opponent to understand his strengths and weaknesses.
Again, we can learn a lesson from the greatest contender of them all. Behind all of the bluster and trash talk, Muhammad Ali would spend hour after hour before a fight going over the tapes of his opponent’s previous fights. Ali knew exactly what he had to do to counter his opponent’s strengths and exploit his weaknesses before stepping into the ring.
Effective communication with your Gloveworx coach is critical to your success as you work together to realize your goals. Work hard to listen without prejudice to what your coach is telling you. Instead of listening, we often think of defenses for our actions to counter what the other person is saying. This behavior does not help create a growth mindset.
Habit Six: Synergize
The sixth habit focuses on teamwork, which is the ability to work cooperatively with other people to bring about faster results. This habit requires open-mindedness, humility, and valuing differences.
As a contender, you need to synergize with your Gloveworx coach. Be open-minded rather than defensive. View their constructive advice as valuable guidance rather than an insult. Seek the knowledge and experience that they possess, knowing that it can get you to your goal faster.
Do what you can to make yourself coachable. Come to each session with a willingness to seek out, absorb, and apply the knowledge and experience that your coach has to share with you. Ask questions and listen carefully to the answers. Be honest with your coach. If you have been struggling with your plan, let your coach know about it.
Habit Seven: Sharpen the Saw
Sharpening the saw is all about maintaining optimum holistic well-being. It involves having a balanced program that addresses the four key areas of your life:
- Social / Emotional.
Focusing on any one of these to the exclusion of the others is unhealthy. That means that you don’t want to become a gym addict while sacrificing your social, mental, and spiritual existence. Catering to all four areas takes planning, but it will make you a more well-rounded, interesting, and satisfied person.
To ensure that you are staying balanced between each area, schedule time into your planner at the start of each month before your schedule gets filled up with unproductive tasks.
Sharpening the saw is also about analyzing your performance. If possible, watch video footage of yourself in the ring. Look at what you did well and what you can improve upon, then work out a training strategy to address your weaknesses.
Bringing It All Together
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Contenders will make you a better boxer and a well-rounded person. Apply these strategies consistently, and you will Become Unstoppable as you reach out for, and take control of, your destiny. Book your Gloveworx session now.