Have you ever felt that your life had no purpose? Maybe you were drifting? Especially when you were an adolescent?
Jack, a talented sportsman, Sarah, revealing signs of antisocial behaviour, Mike, disengaging from school, Kelly, feeling overwhelmed with life’s challenges and Anne, facing the real prospect of failing, were young people I worked with over a period of time, encouraging them to become the best they can be.
Although these are not their real names, each one of them made significant choices and now some years later, to the best of my knowledge, they are all achieving great things, because each of them followed the overwhelming majority of the 10 Habits to Become the Best You can Be.The 10 Habits were developed over many years of coaching and mentoring young people.
When a young person feels unconditionally cared for, that their opinions are listened to and valued and they begin to start seeing some meaning and purpose in their lives, they are well on the way to becoming the best they can be.
These 10 Habits to Become the Best You can Be will provide young people with important choices. When they have a significant adult walking alongside them – a parent, teacher, coach, volunteer adult mentor – as they choose their future pathway, more often than not you will witness significant, positive developments occurring, as well as the emergence of a more resilient person able to bounce back in challenging times.
1. Surround myself with positive friends and be a positive person of influence, becoming a great listener, respecting the viewpoints of others and a team player.
2. Follow a hobby or interest during the next 30 days. Listen to Music; study Art or Photography; take up reading; Dance, skateboard, try a new sport, create or develop something new …. broaden my interests; show a spirit of curiosity and inquiry.
3. Exercise at least 30 minutes every second day – at least 2.5 hours a week. Exercise is exceptionally good for my positive brain development.
4. Spend at least 10 minutes a day quietly reflecting on my life and purpose as I follow my passion/s.
5. Have at least nine hours of sleep every night, as sleep helps the brain consolidate memory and learning, helps my diet and also helps me to manage my stress better.
6. Join a youth, cultural or community club, so I learn how to appreciate, respect and tolerate different people and cultures.
7. Seek three adults I trust with my life (in addition to my parents), and stay in touch with them as they become my wise guides on the side, my non-judgmental Cheerleaders.
8. Give priority in my life to my school subjects or work (career journey), seeking to be innovative and creative, unafraid to step out of my comfort zone; willing to learn from those who have travelled before me – read history and great novels to improve my understanding of different thinkers and cultures; develop a strong work ethic.
9. Set myself specific, measurable, intentional, limited, extending (taking me out of my comfort zone), realistic goals that I know I can achieve using short and small action steps as I chase my dreams, supported by my Cheerleaders.
10. Be myself. I am unique. I can have fun. I shall do nothing that could possibly be life-threatening, though I know it’s okay to risk failure on my life journey of self-discovery and self-empowerment, as those experiences are an important part of my self-discovery and self-empowerment journey.
Lauren, a 10-year-old student, offers some wise words:
“Believing is a word that means thinking you can. If you fail to succeed, try, try again. Achieving is a word that means reaching your goal. But you must believe and look deep in your soul.”
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in Australia and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can see his short daily mentoring tips on Twitter @million2016coxy or on Facebook (where you are able to join a closed mentoring group) or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website Robin’s free Mentoring Matters daily podcasts (each podcast between 1.5 and 3 minutes), containing hundreds of tips for anyone working with young people, are available here.