A habit is something you do regularly that you often don’t think about, like brushing your teeth straight after getting out of the shower. You do it automatically, you don’t think ‘now I will brush my teeth,’ you just do it.
We love these sorts of autopilot things as we don’t spend ages thinking about them - we just do them automatically!
It’s happened this way because you’ve spent years brushing your teeth straight after getting out of the shower, and it would actually take more effort now to stop yourself from brushing your teeth than it does to continue with your habit.
Thankfully, we have amazing habit forming abilities that can either enhance or hinder our life
We can also tap into and use our habit forming abilities to help us grow our business and make positive impacts to our lives. So just like brushing your teeth, your new positive, business-growing habits become second nature and so beneficial you’ll wonder how you coped without them!
1. Create a structure / routine
New positive habits are created more easily if we establish a structure to them. For example, set up a positive morning routine, and if we set a time for it, it will make it easier to follow and stick to.
Having a positive morning routine helps to set the tone of the day, giving us better control over our schedule rather than our schedule controlling us. Sounds good hey?!
Everyone's morning routine will look different and you need to set up yours to suit you, but here are a few suggestions to put on your routine that can greatly improve your mindset, and afterall, a positive mindset is key to growing your business.
Learning to meditate, or even spending 5-10 minutes in silence, every morning, before the day begins, can help to calm the mind and emotions, giving us a clearer view of the day ahead. With a calm mind we’re able to make better decisions and deal with tricky situations better, perfect for business growing, right?
‘Exercising’ in the morning not only helps put the body into fat burning mode, it also creates spikes of happy hormones that help to keep our mood lifted throughout the day. When we say ‘exercising, this doesn’t have to mean puffed out of breath to within an inch of your sweaty armpits!! You don’t have to go for a run ….. 15 mins of yoga stretches, a 20 minute walk around the block with the dog or your partner, these will also help boost the happy hormones and get the blood, and oxygen, moving a bit faster around the body. Who doesn’t want a body full of happy hormones before they spend the day working on their business?
It takes 21 days to create a new habit and between 66 - 180 days for a new habit to go to the part of the brain that turn our routines into habits. Try spending the next 2 months meditating and exercising before your day starts and then you can look back and see what benefits you experience.
2. Set up your environment
A key to creating a new habit is to set the right environment that will trigger a response in your brain making you start the new habit you want to create.
For example, you decide you want to start your day going for a walk around the block, if you set your trainers and exercise clothes by the bed, so that the first thing you see when you wake up are your walking clothes, then you’re more likely to get up, put them on, and head out of the door.
Setting your environment to trigger your brain to think of the new habit, every night before bed, means that when you wake up you’re instantly triggered by your surroundings, you’re more likely to take action.
Maybe you want to read something positive to help you get into a good mood before your first client shows up. You could leave an inspiring book in your workplace so it’s the first thing you see when you start work, reminding you to read a page before your first client.
Or put up positive affirmations on the walls, so they’re the first thing you spot when you open the door, reminding you to take a moment to pause and breathe before your first appointment of the day.
Perhaps you want to make sure your business admin is always up to date. If you use Pocket PA, you could have your home browser set to always open on your Pocket PA dashboard, after each client, spend 60 seconds updating the details before your next client. Meaning you’ll always be on top of your admin and when it comes to tax return time, the 60 seconds you spend updating after each client will pay off when your tax return only takes you minutes to complete.
Sit and decide what positive habits you want to create and look at your surroundings to decide what you can add or change to trigger your new habit.
3. Start with one habit
It’s easy to become overwhelmed when wanting to create new habits to improve our lives and businesses, but don’t try to change too many things at once. When something becomes big and overwhelming, or too much effort is required to change, it’s easier to give up.
Habits are better formed when it’s easy, so make your new habits easy to start. Choose one habit at a time, trying to start too many habits at one time isn’t easy.
Maybe you want to get into the habit of sending reminders to your clients 48 hours before their appointments. If you use Pocket PA, you can schedule the software to do that for you so you don’t even have to do that task yourself!.
Maybe you want to get into the habit of posting an inspiring post on your social media before your work day begins, get into the habit of creating your inspiring post before trying to add another new habit.
Perhaps you want to make it a habit to learn something new every day. You could get into the habit of listening to a podcast while you walk the dog, or on your lunch break, or drive home each evening.
Decide what podcast episode you want to learn from the night before and download it to your phone or device. Put your headphones in your bag. When it’s time for your lunch hour or dog walk, or whatever time you’ve allowed yourself to listen, your podcast is ready for you to learn from without any effort.
4. Stay motivated
Positive things become habits when people stay motivated in creating the habits. How can you stay motivated in keeping your habits?
Can you post about the benefits you’re experiencing? Tell friends and/or clients about them? Can you track how you’re feeling and become conscious about the improvements? Would keeping a journal/diary work for you?
How about having an accountability buddy - someone you can chat things through with who may be in a similar spot to you so you can keep each other on track and aligned.
Perhaps listen to motivational videos on YouTube or podcasts. Whatever helps you to stay motivated is key and will be different for everyone. Find what works for you and stick with it.
Writing a to-do list and ticking off the items creates a surge of dopamine in the brain, and dopamine is a happy hormone, the more items we tick, the more dopamine.
Put some low-hanging, easy, quick things on your to-do list too, that you know you’ll do, and that will give you a boost when you have ticked them off! These extra items help to boost dopamine levels and keep you motivated on your journey to build better habits.
5. Be consistent
Habit-forming is easier with consistency and daily is best.
If you only try to do something once a week, it’s not very likely to become a habit.
Small changes and steps add up, it’s frustrating when we don’t see the benefits straight away, however, even tiny steps get us closer to our goals, we don’t always need to be making big strides.
What things help you keep on track or stick to good habits? We love to hear your stories. Come over to @pocketp.gb on instagram or facebook and let us know your thoughts.
Caro Syson is the Founder of Pocket PA and is passionate about helping small business owners to reach their full potential in the easiest possible way.
Pocket PA is a super easy system to manage your finances, accounts and gets you organised in your business to ensure you love your work and shine your light brightly.