As we prepare to close out 2014 and begin 2015, most of us are starting to think about new year’s resolutions. 2014 is nearly gone and we get a fresh clean slate in 2015. It is a good time to step back from your business and re-assess: How did you do this year? Did you hit your profit and revenue goals? Did you execute against your strategic plan? Did you have a strategic plan? It’s so easy to get so caught up in the day to day activities of running a business only to find yourself at the end of yet another year. Those goals you laid out…still untouched. Those aspirations you had for what life would look like…still aspirations. You can vow that next year will be different, but studies show that if you don’t DO something different, build new habits into your schedule and routine, that within a few short weeks – it will be back to ‘business as usual’.
So let’s agree to make 2015 different.
Building a Sustainable Habit
To build a sustainable habit, there are several factors that need to be addressed. You must:
- Identify your new habit. Duh… but without this critical step, you won’t build one. Let’s agree to spend just 15 minutes each day week working ON your business. That’s less than 5% of your day. Surely you can carve that out in order to build profit, revenue and value into your organization.
- Have an emotionally compelling reason to build the habit. Building a new habit is hard. If there is no emotionally compelling reason, you won’t stick with it. My emotionally compelling reason to do a daily business review is that it will ensure I invest in and on my business. Fifteen minutes each day, 5 days each week gives me over 60 hours/year to focus on my business. That’s a week and a half each year. I think that’s a terrific investment, but if I don’t build the habit, at best I do it in spurts.
- Find a natural time in your daily routine to add your habit that triggers you to do the habit. I add daily business focus to my daily routine right after I brush my teeth every morning. Brushing my teeth becomes a cue to do the new behavior.
- Determine how you are going to do the new habit. What exactly will it look like, feel like? I start with a review of my overall goals for the year, then my goals for the week that feed that. Then I put some time into moving one focus area forward. It could be building an action plan, organizing a meeting, mapping out a new strategy, etc…
- Identify a place to do the new habit. If you are starting a daily business review, where will you sit? Setting a location ensures a place for your habit, and when you are in the destination, you are more likely to trigger the habit. I carved out a space in my home office to do my daily business review. When I look at the space, I am reminded of the value of that activity.
- Set up the tools you will need to do your new habit and set them up in the place you will do the habit. What will you need at your fingertips? For my business review, I need my business goals and priorities, and my weekly work plan. I also need my laptop, journal, pens, and stickies. As I am focused ON the business, I recognize additional activities that need to be done IN the business so I keep stickies handy to jot them down. That helps me stay focused.
- Imagine yourself doing it right. Walk yourself through mentally how you look, feel when you are doing it well. I imagine myself sitting at my home office desk doing good quality thinking and planning and starting my day with a focus and intentionality I can be proud of.
- Find a habit-forming partner who will do this process with you. Their new habit may be different than yours, but the accountability and support of having a buddy who is as committed to implementing their new habit as you are to implementing yours can further enhance your likelihood of making it stick.
What one new habit can revolutionize your business?
Take 15 minutes today to figure out what new habit you can build into your routine that will make 2015 a breakthrough year for you and your company, then go through these steps and design your new habit forming system.
May you have a joyful and prosperous 2015.