At the beginning of this year, as I do every year, I set my self a number of goals, for my business and for myself.
I have just completed one of those goals (3 months early!) and wanted to share the process with you.
One of my goals was to cycle 50 miles a week (4 sessions per week of 12.5 miles per session) which would make up 2500 miles in a year. That’s cycling from Cardiff to Athens ….!
Having run my own successful business for 20 years, one of my biggest jumps forward was when I deliberately started to work on developing better habits.
I know, easier said than done, but it’s HUGE…
Whether it’s a morning routine, eating better or working ON your business (not in it), better habits help to stay focused and be much more intentional about what you are doing.
“Small actions, done consistently, deliver massive results.”
Creating a habit of doing small things every day makes a massive difference over time and eventually becomes second nature.
The same goes for your business.
Building your business is a marathon not a sprint, so it is incredibly important to build a strong foundation of great habits first so that this gives you the fuel and motivation you need to achieve your long term goals. Whatever they may be.
5 habits every business owner needs for success.
Let me lay it out for you plain and simple: to succeed in business, you need to build healthy habits.
You see, our actions are based on habit, not logic. In fact, most of what we do every single day feels like a decision we are actively making, but the truth is….. it’s a HABIT.
What we do, how we react, even how we think about things… HABIT.
So, if we want to change our results, we need to break these bad habits. We need to act differently and force the change otherwise we are wired to do the same thing over and over again. If we carrying on doing what we always do, then our results will always stay the same.
It’s by no means easy to start to do this but once you do…. well, making changes becomes a habit too.
The habits you form around your business have the power to make or break your success. This makes it so important to cultivate healthy habits that will allow you to be more productive, focused, goal-oriented and driven when it comes to building your business.
Although some habits may seem small and minute, consistently working on these actions will allow you to start doing them instinctively and drive your business to greater heights… without even thinking about it!
So what habits do you need to be successful?
1) Become Goal-Orientated
Setting Goals is absolutely crucial. When you set goals you always know what you are working towards. You always have a direction to follow instead of firefighting or moving aimlessly through the weeks and hoping for the right results.
Goals help align your vision with reality and give you the path to follow to achieve them.
Having a long term overarching goal for your business is important but it’s essential to have bite-sized goals too; steps that build to the end result but in a way that you can focus on creating daily habits to move forward.
Bringing it back to my yearly goal, my larger, overarching goal for myself was to improve my health, my fitness and my energy levels.
As one part of that broader goal, I wanted to cycle 2500 miles this year.
That then broke down to smaller bite-sized goals which were 4 sessions a week (12.5 miles per 40-minute session).
This helped me stay on track because now my focus was getting 50 miles done in a week and nothing else. If I just had the larger goal of 2,500 miles to do, it would have been very easy to hide under my covers and do nothing at all!
When it comes to creating a habit of setting goals, the most important thing you can do is write them down. That activates your subconscious mind which means that you are much more likely to focus on the right activities and to get them done.
Next, the most important things is to make sure that they are SMART goals. Being realistic is an essential one for me and that’s why I break them down into smaller, more manageable chunks to prevent me from becoming overwhelmed.
If you are interested in getting more details on how to create SMART goals then let me know.
2) Remove Road Blocks
While habits are your biggest friend, they are also your biggest enemy. Why? Because habits are ingrained in us from a very young age; they become our default which is really powerful and difficult to change. When those habits are also the bad kind, then trying to create new good ones is even more of a challenge.
The good news though is that it isn’t impossible to change them, you just have to be strict and consistent with yourself. So what’s the best way to do this?
Take a look at your goals and think about the things that may trip you up along the way, the things that will deflect your course or stop you outright. Once you’ve done this, you can then deal with them upfront.
Maybe time is an issue for you, getting caught up in the day to day activity of just reacting. Well, what time of day will work better for you to take action? Early morning maybe? If it is, then make sure you do your must-do activities first thing or maybe your best time is during lunch, when you have a moment to think. Find out what works for you and start to do it consistently.
Knowledge may be a roadblock, do you need to learn something new to keep you on track or do you have all the resources or equipment you need?
The point I’m making here is to look at what will stop you achieving your goal and knock down those walls in advance. If you do this then you’re setting yourself up for success rather than failure.
I know from years of experience that being a member of a gym doesn’t create a habit for me of going to the gym. Buying a road bike didn’t do it for me either as I always found an excuse not to go out on it. So what did I do? I found what did work for me. To achieve my regular cycling goal, I invested in a static, LifeFitness bike and joined Zwift, a virtual cycling platform to maintain my interest levels.
As I said, you have to find what works for you.
3) Intentional Action
Making time to work on your goals is a crucial habit to form. I’ve said it already but I think it’s worth repeating, “small actions, done consistently, deliver massive results.”
If you don’t intentionally carve out time to work on your business and on your goals, then achieving the results will never be a reality.
So how do you do it? How do you make time in the day?
Time-blocking is a great way to create this habit. We can all get lost in our business; we’ve all got so much on our plates, but the truth is we can find the time if we really want to, especially when making this time will save so much in the long run.
Start by blocking out time to do the activity that will help you to achieve what you want. 30 minutes a day will make all the difference and I’m sure if you honestly looked at where your time is being spent, you can find that time to spare.
30-minutes a day, every workday adds up to 10 hours a month working on an activity that’s deliberately designed to move your business towards your goal. And that’s a minimum. Often, starting is the hardest part but once you get into it, you’re flying. Even if you don’t though, you have that 10 hours working on valuable activities that you wouldn’t have spent on it before.
This tip is crucial if you want to form successful habits because when you put it in your work schedule or block it out in the diary, you are much more likely to get it done. It’s exactly the same as scheduling all of your meetings or calls in your diary. When they are booked in, you will not miss them.
At the beginning of the year, I had to do my cycling first thing in the morning as soon as I woke up. I would intentionally block out the days I would get up early and jump on the bike to then have time to get into work and start the day. Now I’m working from home, it doesn’t have to be 6:30 am but I still book it in my diary so I know what days and time I have it planned for. If I don’t, I end up thinking about it all day but not actually getting it done (as you can imagine, that doesn’t do wonders for my productivity!).
4) Practice Consistency
While we can do anything for our business once or twice, being consistent with the work you put in and taking regular action is one of the most important habits you can have.
The truth is, doing something once won’t really have an effect on the end result. Do one social media post, make one cold call, send one introduction e-mail, write one article, cycle once for 12 miles…..the real power comes from doing it consistently, over and over again. Why? Because consistency drives results.
Whatever your goals and action points, you will need a system to achieve them and that’s where consistency comes in. By practising the methods you’re using and applying them to your business over and over again, you will be far more likely to develop great habits and achieve your goals.
To develop any kind of skill, practice really does make perfect. By doing something consistently, it not only becomes so much easier as you become more proficient but you also become more efficient too.
When I started my sessions on the bike, I was only able to do 12.5 miles in 40 minutes. I didn’t enjoy it and every minute was a drag. I stuck at it though and over time, it became easier. Over time, and with consistent effort every session for 9 months, I now do around an hour each session because I’m just fitter and my average speed has risen from 18 miles/hour to over 22 miles/hour. That’s 25% faster!
Imagine what impact you could have on your business if it was 25% more efficient?
5) Measure Progress
When you set goals, remove obstacles, take intentional action, and focus on consistency, the final step is to measure your progress. How else can you know how far away you are from reaching your overall goal?
We’ve all heard the saying, “What gets measured gets done” and that is very true. Regular measurement and reporting keeps you focused on both the activity and the end goal because you can use that information to make decisions that improve your results.
If you track your goals, you’ll also be able to see what may not be working the way you hoped. This gives you the chance to change your plan of attack and get back on to the road of success sooner rather than later.
Measurement keeps you on top of the steps and actions you are taking but also agile enough to adapt if the results are not what you expected.
I created a simple excel document to track my training sessions. For me, my goal was just getting the miles done. It was just a number each week- 50 miles – and if I fell behind my weekly target, I would have to do a longer ride on the weekend to catch. By tracking this, it gave me the motivation and determination to not fall behind. It pushed me to keep going on the days where I really didn’t want to. Although we set ourselves goals with the best intentions, things don’t always go to plan and this is what measuring and tracking your progress does – it keeps you on track and moving forward.
Now, this new HABIT has been fixed into my routine and my days. It’s the first thing I plan in my week. It’s the first batch of time I block out. If something else comes up that is essential then I can still move that block of time to somewhere else in that day.
Creating this new habit also had so many extra side benefits that I didn’t expect.
– I got fitter.
– I got faster.
– I got thinner (lost a stone and a half so far).
– I got more energy and I’m more productive in work.
– I got happier, I really look forward to it now.
– I achieved in 9 months what I had planned for 12!
By creating great habits in your business, not only will you hit your goals and change your results directly, but you also don’t know what extra side benefits you’ll achieve along the way!
I do hope that this has been of interest and you can implement these tips within your business to make some positive change. I would love to hear about any success you have through forming new habits.
If you would like to have a chat about working with me as a coach to implement this and many other business-changing activities, then let’s grab a virtual coffee and have a zoom chat.