Today's topic is something that came to me in August; this idea of why to start your New Year's resolution now. I was going to put it up in August but we're doing it now...better late than never, right?
This came to me because over the past few months, I've learned a lot about myself in the way that I need to function and operate on a daily and weekly basis in order to feel the most successful in my business and in life in general. It's also the best way for me to feel the least stressed out. Of course, starting to run a business is going to have a certain level of stress. I'm not saying I found the cure to not have any stress at all, but there are certain things that I've done and implemented that have really made a big difference. I'll give you some examples but I want you to know that you can apply this concept in whatever way that you want.
What are you really waiting for?
The reason I brought up New Year's resolutions is because I feel like a lot of people make health and fitness goals for the beginning of the year. You know the drill, "I'll just wait and I'll get through Halloween and Thanksgiving.... and Christmas..... and New Years, and THEN I'll start to take care of my body. THEN I'll start to be healthy." That is really common to hear. I know I've done that, and when it comes to business, I feel like sometimes I hear the same thing. "I'll wait the next couple of months at my job and THEN in the New Year, I'll start my practice/business." I think that kind of thinking is really comfortable because it gives you the false sense of having a plan. It also does a disservice to you because the underlying feeling and thought for a lot of people who say that is, "I will be happy when.... I will be satisfied when... I will feel confident when..." It doesn't serve your present self which is really the only thing that you can control, the here and now. If you are constantly telling your present self that you'll be happy when something in the future happens, then what good does that do your current self that needs you to take care of you?
I can understand maybe not feeling ready to pull the trigger right now to start a business entity. However, there are things that you can do to start. There are small things that you can do. Maybe you don't want to see patients yet, so you just file for your business identity. Maybe you don't want to file for your business entities, so you just do research on what kind of entity you need where you're located. Maybe you don't want to look into that yet and you just want to get to know other practice or business owners and learn more about what it is to be an entrepreneur. Maybe you're not even ready to look into that information and that's totally okay too. Just take note of where you're at and then you can figure out one small step in order to move forward.
That's what we're going for with this topic and one of the main takeaways that I want you to think about. Whatever it is that you are thinking, I really want you to ask yourself what you're really waiting for. Is what you're waiting for actually required in order for you to do something or is it just something that you're hoping will give you more confidence, more happiness, less stressed, you won't be as busy, etc? Surprise! You're always going to be busy! Honestly, things are always going to come up, and if you're constantly using that as a crutch, you're going to keep putting off your goals. I really want you to think about what it is that you're ready for. If there is a chance that you could potentially get started now, even in the smallest of ways, that will really serve you in the here and now. That will show your current present self that you trust yourself enough to take action and you're also somebody who makes decisions which is really important when it comes to running a business. You need to be able to be decisive.
"Is there anything that is going to physically, tangibly, legitimately change between now and two months from now that's going to create a huge mega shift in your life that will actually make a difference in starting you on your goals?"
Most of the time nothing crazy is going to change. The only things are maybe moving across the country or having a baby... really big life events! Otherwise, nothing crazy is going to happen.
"Just do it."
Starting now also serves your future self. If you get started now, just imagine where you'll be in the beginning of 2023. Imagine how much further along you'll be if you actually do start now. That is probably the number one thing that I hear from other business and practice owners throughout my entire podcast interview series. I've had people come and we talk about their business journey and experiences, and I'm pretty sure every single guest that I've had, at the end when I ask what advice they might have for somebody who's on the fence about starting a business, literally every single person says "Just do it!" It's so funny and part of me thinks that I should rename the podcast "Just do it"!
The next thing that usually comes up is: "I really wish I would have started this sooner. I should have started this a year ago when I first thought about it." I know that everybody says that so it probably does sound a little a little bit like a broken record when it comes to the entrepreneurial space. Everybody says it and it's hard to really internalize that when you're in the moment, but I promise it's true!
Why add the pressure?
Another thing about resolutions and waiting until New Year's to start on a really big goal and lifestyle change is that it's very absolute. For example, waiting until New Year's to stop drinking alcohol or starting your business, is such a big, immediate commitment. There's a lot of pressure there. When it comes to making lifestyle and business changes, it doesn't have to be so much pressure when you get started. That's a huge reason why you could even start your New Year's resolutions in August or October! Those months are not associated with making a big change and a big commitment, so it's going to be less pressure on you. Adding that internal stress, speaking from experience, is not typically very helpful. There's no need to add that extra pressure when there doesn't really have to be. That's one reason why I don't really love the whole New Year's resolution or "I'll start a business in January". The closer you get to it, the more daunting it becomes. It's looming over you as something that's coming. You end up building it up a lot in your mind.
There are a couple of books that I read this year by the same author, Stephen Guise. The first one is called How to Be an Imperfectionist and the second book is called Mini Habits. That's really the topic that I want to bring up when it comes to resolutions and goal setting. The idea of starting with mini habit. That has completely changed the game for me and made it so much easier for me to work a little bit towards the goals that I have rather than waiting for something and trying to do this really big thing all at one time.
So what are mini habits?
I definitely recommend this book. It's pretty short so I recommend checking it out on Amazon or maybe your library has it. A mini habit is something that the author describes as something so easy that your brain has no choice but to say, "Of course I can do that! It will be so easy to do this tiny little mini habit, it's almost too easy!" I love that because instead of saying, for example, "Tomorrow I'm going to start running five miles every morning." That's a lot!
You could instead start with just putting your running shoes on and that becomes your new mini habit every day. That's all you're required to do and you've met your goal for the day and you've succeeded! I know that probably sounds kind of silly, but it has really helped me build confidence in trusting myself to execute things. I have a ton of ideas and a lot of things that I want to do in the long term, but I definitely have put things off and that can lead to feelings of failure. Employing the use of these mini habits has made a world of difference where I've committed to a daily morning routine that the requirements are so small. It's very easy for me to meet my requirements for the day. I can check everything off and tell myself that I have succeeded. When you start to succeed day after day and you have that feeling of continual success, it's going to radiate into everything else that you are doing in your life. You're also physically working towards a goal!
My mini habits
At the beginning of August I started a morning routine because I knew that if I did something every morning that was just for myself and had quiet time, it would help me start my day without feeling crazy and super stressed out. I started committing to reading for five minutes every morning. I would set a timer for five minutes on my watch and I would read. There were no requirements on the book. I could read whatever I wanted. I just had to read for five minutes. Once I hit the five minute mark I could stop and I was done for the day. I had succeeded and met my goal. Overall I was working towards finishing a book which is not something I do very often! I will usually make it through like 1/2 - 3/4 of a book and then decide that I'm ready to move on to another one. As I started doing that, I started finishing books and getting all the information or the entire story which is great! In the five minutes that I was reading I was really present in what I was doing. I was letting myself practice mindfulness through reading and it's led me to now reading about 10 minutes. I still set a timer and if I want to stop at 10 minutes I will or I'm allowed to keep going, but the minimum requirement is just 10 minutes.
Then the other one that is now a non-negotiable for my mental health is journaling. For me, I've gone back and forth journaling or writing in a diary my entire life. I'll do it for three days in a row and then I'll stop for three months...oops. Even though I knew it was helpful for me, there was always a lot of pressure surrounding it, so I started doing it with mini habits. Again, I started setting a timer for two minutes and now I do five minutes. The only requirement is that I write in my journal, it doesn't matter what I write, (literally a stream of consciousness). Sometimes I remember different tasks I need to do and I'll write those in my journal, sometimes I talk about feelings or thoughts, sometimes I pat myself on the back, or I talk about the good or bad things that happened that week. That's really helped me create a lot more brain space throughout the day because I'm not carrying all of those thoughts, feelings, and possible tasks with me in my brain. They're written down somewhere and it's only five minutes. If I want to keep going I can, but I only have to commit to five minutes in the morning and then I can move on.
The author talks about how he wanted to get into working out three times a week, so his minimal commitment was doing one push-up every day. It's something so small that it almost sounds silly, ("Duh! I can do one push-up!") Over the time span of 24 hours it becomes so easy to start taking steps and moving forward.
Time to Self-Assess!
I want you to think about whatever you have for your goals right now. Whether it's business related, practice related, lifestyle, something totally different, whatever goals you're thinking about doing. If you feel yourself saying, "I'm going to wait until X,Y, & Z in order to start", figure out if that's actually true that you need to wait until then. If not, what is the smallest commitment that you could possibly take to move towards that goal? Maybe you come up with something and ask yourself if you can break it down into something even smaller. Even any self-care stuff. Let's say you want to start meditating. Start by telling yourself that you'll meditate for one minute every day. You can probably do that (or maybe even 30 seconds), and it will really help carry you forward and succeed. That positive experience is going to promote continued execution in all other areas of your life. Then, instead of waiting until New Year's you will actually be more in towards your goal than you would if you were to wait until New Year's!
Start setting your New Year's resolutions today! What is going to be YOUR new mini habit? If you need help figuring out what your next mini step should be for your business, set up a call with me and we can figure that out together.
Listen to this episode on my podcast!