I was doing some thinking the other day about habits. Good habits and bad habits. And how much they dictate our everyday lives. I’m a big believer that there’s a common thread connecting all aspects of our live. So when I’m thinking about something, or especially when I learn a lesson, I always see how it translates to other areas of my life. The lessons I learn through martial arts, for example, almost always translate over to my every day life. And those lessons definitely translate over to my professional life and what I’m trying to accomplish with my business. Life is great teacher after all, if we’ll pay attention.
I used to try to grow my business by sheer will power. I’d come across an idea or product that seemed like the holy grail, and I’d just attack it. Those first few days, I’d be working all day and into the night. Going off pure adrenaline and determination. Eventually, that initial period of excitement would wear off. And I’d wake up dreading going to work because I was mentally exhausted. And also because in the back of my mind, I wouldn’t know where I was going with all of this. I had jumped in without a gameplan. Without a BUSINESS plan.
But I’d keep at it. I’d maximize my will power and keep pushing and pushing. And pushing. Sometimes I’d see some results, and that would give me a little boost. More often, I wouldn’t. But I’d keep pushing, hoping something would happen.
I think about it now, and I just shake my head. I want to travel back to the past, grab myselp and yell ‘STOP! What are you doing??‘ Seriously, I’d ask myself ‘What are you doing?‘ Literally. What’s the plan here? You can’t just will something to happen. Will power is a great tool. And mental and emotional strength, for sure. But what’s the plan??
We have to figure out where we want to get to first. ‘What is my goal?’ I asked myself. When I figured out what I wanted, and a time frame to go with it, I had a good start. Once I knew what I wanted – and I don’t mean a dollar figure. You need to be more clear then that – I was able to figure out what I needed to do to get to that point. Then I broke it down and broke it down until I had daily and weekly tasks and benchmarks.
Once I had created a daily list of things to do, I no longer needed to tap into my will power. I’d just start everyday by looking at what I had written down on my calendar for that day. Done. No thinking required. I can save my willpower for when I’ll really need to use it.
I had created structure for myself. The same way we all have our morning routines – wake up, shower, brush your teeth, get dressed, eat breakfast, head to work. Maybe yours is a little different, but most likely it’s the same routine each morning. The things that we have to do every day have been structured into a routine and time frame. I wake up at 7 to start work at 8, and everyday my morning stuff gets done in the same order in that one hour time frame. Structure.
What would my day look like if I just woke up each morning at random times? And every morning, I’d lay there thinking about whether or not I should shower first.
Or at all.
Or if I should brush my teeth first.
Or maybe walk the dog first.
Serious athletes structure their training and nutrition, so they can excel at their profession. To keep a home clean and tidy requires a structured cleaning schedule. To grow your business and reach your goals requires the same structure. It makes the hard things easy because you don’t have to think about it as much. And it makes the easy things (like procrastination) hard because, again, you don’t have to think about it as much.
My advice to my younger self would be to look at what he’s doing. Write down what he does on a daily basis. It’ll probably be all over the place. I’d tell him to structure his schedule. Figure out his long term goal and drill it down to monthly and weekly goals. Then structure that into daily assignments. And keep it consistent each week. If doing the same thing over and over feels boring, then good. That’s called developing a habit. A good habit.
‘I’m not going to be successful if you keep changing things up everyday just to keep it interesting. Figure out what works and stick to it.’ That’s what I’d say to him.
To Your Success,