The New Year is almost upon us. Many small businesses are wrapping up their year as they wrap Christmas and Hanukah gifts. Some entrepreneurs are feeling a sense of achievement along with the goodwill and peace this time of year evokes. Others are feeling a combination of relief and hope as they close out a tough year while anticipating how to make next year better than this one. We are setting goals and resolutions for the New Year, our fresh new calendars are out and we’re marking deadlines for new goals.
While you have that calendar out, try adding a few of the following items to grow your business while strengthening your personal health and vitality.
1. Vacation: Not only is it important to schedule breaks away from your business but studies have shown that just the act of planning a vacation brings happiness from the anticipation. As an entrepreneur the year will fly by regardless and if you don’t mark your calendar in advance, “something will come up” preventing you from following through. Can’t afford long exotic vacations? Book a few long weekends to your schedule.
2. Reflection : It’s not enough to simply measure your year by dates and projects achieved. Quiet time to reflect on your personal and business growth, acknowledge your achievements, and refresh your soul provide perspective and an energetic strength you need for the next leg of your business journey. I personally need a few days of quiet reflection every few months but suggest you start with a day or two every quarter or six months. Once you get started, you’ll be addicted to how good you feel during and after.
3. Personal Care: My guess is the perennial favorites of exercise and healthy eating are already on your list of goals for the coming year – they are on my list! How about scheduling some other activities to take care of your body and soul? Schedule spa appointments for the next few months. If you find a massage relaxing, make the call and schedule a standing appointment for the year.
4. Relationships: As you look back on this year, are there some people you wish you’d made more time for in your life? Whether personal or professional relationships, we often put those to the back burner while building a business. Choose one day a week to lunch with colleagues. Pick one weekend a month to dinner with old friend…it’s a start and may lead to new traditions.
5. Giving back Time. Every year you talk about volunteering and then don’t have time when the opportunities present themselves. Start with one day. Pick a cause. Pick up the phone and offer your help.
6. Fun: When was the last time you indulged your hobby? Hobbies have been proven to relieve stress and entrepreneurs certainly need that! You love to fish but haven’t been in a few seasons? Or you love the theatre and concerts? Check out the schedule for your local area and mark your calendar in advance. Or perhaps it’s time to pursue a new hobby? Schedule a class or pick up a book on the topic. Gardening is a great stress reliving activity for me and I enjoy planning for the coming year as much as I enjoy harvesting the cutting garden and eating fresh vegetables.
7. Big Picture Time: It’s easy to get caught up in the day to day details and looming deadlines, losing sight of our long-term vision. Schedule time to review your long-term business vision and your life vision. Spending time with your vision leads to clarity of purpose. Clarity feeds confidence and passion, two critical components of success.
8. Personal Development: Think about the skills you want to develop in the coming year. Look to the list above along with your goals for the coming year to identify some ideas. With all the training options available these days whether online or in a traditional classroom, there is an option for every schedule and no excuse for not investing in your own personal learning.
9. Team Building Activities: Some of the above activities can be combined with team-building activities as a way to strengthen bonds and improve overall team performance. Invest in a facilitator to enable you to be an active participant with the team and to encourage open dialogue for best results. Schedule a team party or team picnic. Plan a community volunteer day.
Some may resist the items on this list, perceiving the list as unproductive or “soft skills” – expect resistance from those who are focused on goals alone. But these softer skills and activities essential to running a business all contribute to your health, a clear mind, reduced stress and the positive mindset needed to run a business.
Small steps to a Better than Ever Business…
Grab your calendar and start with 2-3 items from the above list. Just the simple act of scheduling an activity increases the odds of your success. Does it make you feel enthusiastic about the coming year? If these items are a challenge for you or you feel resistance, invest in a coach or join a mastermind team to keep you accountable in the coming year. This time next year, you’ll look back with gratitude because you built habits of vitality and passion into your calendar. Cheers!