People routinely make New Year’s resolutions, and just as routinely break them before January is over.
How can you make resolutions for your startup or small business that you can actually stick with?
Some resolutions are one-shots: this will be the year you lose 20 pounds, finally get the new website up, or find new office space.
But other resolutions involve habits you need to make or break: more exercising, less procrastinating, or writing a blog every week.
To help yourself make or break habits, it’s helpful to know how habits work and how you can use them to your advantage. For example, check out Gretchen Rubin’s new book Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives.
5 Ways to Make Keeping Your Resolutions Easier
1. Start with January
It’s intimidating to feel like you need to commit to new behavior for an entire year. But if you just commit for a month at a time, you can establish good habits and then “renew” that commitment for each month.
You can break it down even more: commit to a new habit for just this week or just today.
2. Eat a Frog
“Eat a frog” is a metaphor for tackling the most challenging or unpleasant task on your list first thing in the morning, and/or first thing on Monday. Some of the most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs in the world recommend not even opening your email for the first couple of hours of the day. Complete your urgent and/or important tasks first, and then you can respond to email.
To learn more, read Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time by Brian Tracy.
3. Make an Appointment with Yourself
If you want to get something done, it’s more likely to happen if you make an appointment with yourself and block out the time in your calendar.
For example, you could decide that every Tuesday at 10:30 you’re going to take a colleague or business contact out for coffee. Or you could decide that the last Friday of the month at 3 p.m. is when you set goals for the month to come. Or on the 15th you’re going to set aside the whole afternoon to plan the new website.
To learn more about how to block out time in your day or week for tasks that are important but not necessarily urgent, read the classic time management book First Things First by Stephen R. Covey.
4. Multi-Task the Right Way
The wrong way to multitask is to switch from task to task so you can’t properly concentrate on anything.
The right way to multitask is to use downtime rather than waste it. Also, it’s easier to keep your resolutions if you can slot them into otherwise-wasted time.
Every day involves a certain amount of time that’s neither productive nor leisure: commuting to and from work, waiting in line at the bank, waiting on hold for tech support, waiting for your lunch appointment to show up, etc.
You could spend this time listening to the radio or compulsively scrolling through your Facebook or Twitter feeds. But you could also put the time to better use in one of the following ways:
- Listen to a business-related book on Audible. The books mentioned above are all available in audio versions, and you can also check out inspirational best-sellers like The School of Greatness: A Real-World Guide to Living Bigger, Loving Deeper, and Leaving a Legacy or the 20-Minute Manager series from the Harvard Business Review.
- Follow a business-related podcast. You can find lists of suggestions on Fast Company and Inc.
5. Understand Your Contracts before You Sign Them
This can be the year that you actually understand your contracts BEFORE you sign them. Instead of allocating a whole precious hour to reviewing a contract, why not do the same review in 15 minutes?
The LawGeex tool can tell you what’s common, uncommon, and missing in your contract and explain confusing legal language – empowering you to make smarter business decisions and have more informed conversations with the other party or your own lawyer. Get in the habit of using it every time you’re presented with a contract to sign and improve both the speed and quality of your review.
Simply upload your contract at www.lawgeex.com for a fast review of your contract.
The information and materials in this blog are provided for general informational purposes only and are not intended to be legal advice.