What successful habits have you developed in your life?

Like it or not, habits are the foundation of our lives. From cleaning your teeth in the morning to getting ready for bed at night, we move from one habit to another throughout the day.

·        If you go running 3 times a week, that’s a habit

·        If you keep up to date with your bookkeeping every month, that’s a habit

·        If you get 8 hours sleep every night, that’s a habit

·        If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, that’s a habit

·        If you write out a task list to complete each day, that’s a habit

·        If you drink 2 litres of water a day, that’s a habit

·        If you wait until the last minute before doing something, that’s a habit

·        If you regularly put off doing tasks, that’s a habit

Not all habits are life affirming and designed to help us move forward, as you can see from the list above. So let’s focus on a few business habits that can reap rewards.

Sit down regularly, at least once a month, and get to know your financial position – in detail.

By understanding where your money is flowing to and from in your business, you can learn how to manage your cashflow better. Turnover is vanity and profit is sanity… but CASH is reality! You don’t have to do the actual bookkeeping yourself, but you do need to know what money is due in, what is due out and when taxes are due for payment. Consistently having your finger on the pulse of your cash will help you make better quality business decisions, quicker.

Eat that frog!

The American writer Mark Twain coined this phrase when describing how to tackle a large task or to deal with something you really don’t want to do! If you make that task the first task of your day, things flow much easier for the rest of the day (if for no other reason than you can stop thinking to yourself “I must deal with X”! This concept was expertly developed by Brian Tracy in his book “Eat That Frog – How to Stop Procrastinating”

Network daily

Spending time each and every day to grow your network is time well spent. You’ll learn a lot, you’ll make unexpected sales and you’ll have plenty of people who can help you if things become challenging.

And now that we’ve looked at some business habits, let’s look at some personal habits that will help you as well.

Switch off your phone and email at least an hour before you go to bed

If you’ve ever woken up at 3am with your inbox swirling through your head, you’ll know why I recommend following this step. In order to sleep well, you have to allow your mind to relax, and you can’t do that with notifications pinging in left, right and centre!

Make family time, family time

If you plan to spend time with your family, then make sure that it’s not just your body that’s there. No one wants to spend time with someone who thinks that their phone/computer/car is more important than they are. So show people you value them by being present in all ways and practising mindfulness is a great habit for improving focus and concentration on the now.

Practice kindness whenever you can

A genuine smile, holding open the door for someone, giving someone a compliment – simple things to do that can make someone stop for a moment and realise that they matter. As the saying goes, about the only thing lost by kindness is a seat on a crowded bus!

So now we’ve had a quick look at some useful habits, the next question to answer is are there any habits that will help you in both your professional AND your personal life?

Yes, is the short answer! Let’s have a quick look at what they might be.

Sleep

Getting the right amount of quality sleep for you is vital – when you have a good night’s sleep, you are able to do so much more, whether that’s working in the office, or looking after the kids at home. And remember that everyone needs different amounts of sleep – some people need 8 hours, some 9, some 5. Find what works for you! Modern gadgets like Fitbit provide great insight into our sleep habits and how to improve them.

Eating well

Good nutrition is vital for the health of your body – garbage in, garbage out as they say. Taking the time to eat properly helps you focus more easily as your body is comfortable and works exactly as you want it to.

Stay hydrated

Not everyone loves drinking plain water, but it’s vital for the good functioning of your brain to stay hydrated properly. Caffeine is not just a stimulant, it also acts as a diuretic, depriving your brain of fluid while sending your heart rate up, a recipe for slumps in energy during the day, ruining your focus. So reduce it from your fluid intake, and increase the amount of fresh fruit juice, water (maybe with a slice of lemon) or herbal tea that you drink.

Of course, the time most people associate with changing habits is January where we call them New Year’s Resolutions. And if you get to the 10th of January with all your good intentions intact, you’ll be a rare individual indeed!

Creating new positive habits can be done at any time of year and in my experience working with my clients, it’s the action of replacing a bad habit with a good one that ensures the new, positive habit remains in place. Remember, willpower and determination will only carry you so far, so here’s 5 handy tips for cementing those new habits into your life.

1. Commit to Thirty Days – Three to four weeks is all the time you need to make a habit automatic. If you can make it through the initial conditioning phase, it becomes much easier to sustain.

2. Make it Daily – Consistency is critical if you want to make a habit stick. If you want to start exercising, do that walk, run or cycle every day for your first thirty days.

3. Start Simple – Don’t try to completely change your life in one day. It is easy to get over-motivated and take on too much. If you wanted to study two hours a day, first make the habit for thirty minutes, do it, and build on that.

4. Remind Yourself – Around two weeks into your commitment it can be easy to forget. Place reminders to execute your habit each day or you might miss a few days.

5. Stay Consistent – The more consistent your habit the easier it will be to stick. If you want to start exercising, try going at the same time, to the same place for your thirty days. When cues like time of day, place and circumstances are the same in each case it is easier to stick. Once the habit’s establish you can then vary it for a bit more interest.

One final thought, somehow the act of telling another person that you are going to accomplish something or change something for the better and that you’re going to do it by a certain date, or for a certain number of repetitions, makes you create the time to do it, so get yourself an accountability buddy.

By having regular check ins together, it makes sure that you really do build that new habit into your life.

One of my favourite habits is the exercise I do every day, what habits have you got that you’re proud of? What habits would you like to change?

#businesscoaching #selfdevelopment #smallbusiness #positivehabits

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