Let’s Tackle 2021: 8 New Year’s Resolutions for Every Entrepreneur
Let’s Tackle 2021:
8 New Year’s Resolutions for Every Entrepreneur
Welcome to a whole new year––the madness of 2020 is now behind us! Or is it? Although it’s just a turn of the calendar, many of us are hoping that the world will reset itself now that January is before us and 2020 lies in the wake. But as we know, disaster and blessing have their own somewhat random schedules.
A change in date is useful in that it can help us clear our heads and straighten out our priorities. That’s where New Year’s resolutions come in handy. Making a psychological shift between old and new can position us in a more productive space in which to tackle the upcoming months, whatever they bring.
We’ve been entrepreneurs for a while now. As Shopify partners and ecommerce website specialists, we’ve had to learn a lot of hard lessons about success, productivity, and of course––failure. So the eight suggestions below are useful strategies that we’ve personally integrated into our own lives to meet the New Year and create healthier, more productive habits.
A little health in the mind and body go a long way in our attempts to face challenges and move onward and upward, in all aspects of our lives.
Consistency Vs. Commitment: Know The Difference
Let’s start by unpacking these terms.
Consistency: “conformity in the application of something, typically that which is necessary for the sake of logic, accuracy, or fairness.”
Commitment: “an agreement or pledge to do something in the future.”
When we practice both consistency and commitment in our actions, we have a winning combination that doesn’t just shoot for the moon, it lands us there. Unfortunately, what usually ends up happening is that we get completely attached to being consistent without the necessary foundation of an honest, authentic commitment to a goal.
The commitment is the long-view. Consistency involves those little steps to honour our commitments. Without an honest, authentic, thoughtful commitment, we start to begrudge those little actions, and they eventually become shallow, watered-down versions of what they could be if our commitment was strong enough.
The definition of consistency itself speaks volumes. Conformity denotes a certain kind of compliance to rules. While rules are necessary for guiding our behaviour and helping us achieve what we otherwise couldn’t without them, rules without any meaning become pointless and easy to break.
Besides, we are not machines. We are human beings with fluid thoughts, moods, and physiological requirements from one day to the next. Optimal health involves listening to your body’s voice, which is distinct from the commands of your mind that seeks to dominate your day-to-day experience.
You don’t need to completely kick consistency out of your life. Instead, commit yourself to being your best and most productive self every day, acknowledging that it will change from one day to the next.
Wake Up At The Same Time Every Day & Eat A Good Breakfast
We’re not going to suggest that you get eight hours of sleep every night or go to sleep before midnight. The reality is that everyone has different rest requirements. Some people do fine on 6 hours of sleep a night. Others, like Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey, need 9 hours to be a friendly, functioning human being (see his book in resources).
In his best-selling book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote To Chaos (see resources), clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson recommends waking up at the same time every morning and starting the day with a fat and protein-heavy breakfast (and yes that means bacon and eggs are on the menu!). Both things support your body’s insulin needs and create a rhythm that informs the entire rest of your day to help to reduce stress. He writes, "I have had many clients whose anxiety was reduced to subclinical levels merely because they started to sleep on a predictable schedule and eat breakfast.”
Set Reasonable Deadlines
This is more or less difficult to achieve depending on the nature of your business and clientele. Whether your business is B2B, B2C, or a blend of both, deadlines are a daily dance. Are you naturally inclined to over-promise and thus, wear yourself out? Or do you underestimate your capacity to deliver and set deadlines that are too generous with your own time, resulting in procrastination? Like I said, it’s a dance.
The critical piece here is knowing, understanding, and working with your own rhythm. How do you like to work? If you’re a mobile worker, what environment best serves you? What distracts you? When are you most likely to procrastinate? This database of information on your own functioning can inform productive, more efficient work habits if you analyse them appropriately and make the necessary adjustments. Only then can you begin to set deadlines that are reasonable for your unique rhythm and satisfy the demands of your clients and business goals.
Record Your Ideas
Do you ever have those mornings where you wake up gung-ho to make the world a better place, and take your business to the next level? If you’re one of those people that wake up with a tempest of ideas in your mind, we recommend two critical moves to direct that energy into positive outcomes.
One, reduce your coffee intake. Caffeine revs up the nervous system and can make sitting down and getting focused enough to translate your ideas into communicative form difficult. An overstimulated mind is ineffective. It peaks quickly but tires and crashes fast. If you ever experience the deer-in-headlights syndrome where your brain seems to cease functioning and your body feels immobile, this may be a symptom of coffee or sugar overload.
Two, write your ideas down as they come to you, in free-flow form, and save the organising for later. You may also choose to dictate your ideas to a voice-to-text app if that’s easier for you. Documenting your thoughts as they come out is the first step in realising your big new ideas. Revisit those notes later in the day––this is an essential step to avoid overwhelm and suss out which ideas are fertile enough to grow.
Do Warren Buffett’s 5/25 Rule
We highly recommend this strategy for acknowledging all the things you want to do, either in business or your personal life, and cherry-picking the top five that make the most sense to tackle now. This three-step productivity strategy goes like this:
- Make a list of your top 25 goals.
- Select the five goals that are most important to you and label them “urgent.” These goals become your top priorities.
- Ditch the remaining 20 goals. Don’t label them second in priority sequence. Put them away and focus only on the top five.
The reason for putting the remaining 20 out of your mind is that they rob you of the energy and focus required to meet your high-priority goals. It creates a system overload and ensuing crash trying to give our attention to 25 different goals, so don’t. Let yourself off the hook (it’s a paradoxical form of self-discipline).
Revisit Abandoned Projects
Maybe these are the 20 lower-priority goals from your 5/25 list. Maybe they are projects you elected to start at the turn of 2020 before s**t hit the fan. Most likely, they are tiny green shoots that have come up over the years as you forge ahead with business.
Those backburner projects need a little visit from time to time. If not to resuscitate then to lay to rest permanently. It’s a bit like adapting a bucket list to keep it conducive to your ever-present and changing life. Take an hour this week (that’s it!) and explore those past projects to see if there’s anything viable or desirable there.
Improve Your Health
There’s always room for this one, and it’s probably the one you least want to read. Or maybe, you’re super health-conscious and always looking for ways to boost your health, energy, and focus.
First of all, let’s define health as an overall state of wellness. That means you eat well, exercise regularly, sleep, socialise, work productively, and take time to do the things you love. It sounds easy enough, right? But a balanced approach to life is often more difficult to achieve than one that involves either being very strict with yourself or allowing yourself to tread through life off the rails, giving into every indulgence.
The Buddhists call this balanced approach the Middle Way. It requires both self-compassion and self-discipline and a clear understanding of how to recognise and practice both. If you’re a chronic overworker, a balanced approach may require you to schedule rest and relaxation time. If you’re a regular procrastinator, you may need to eliminate distractions and create a realistic timeline for meeting your deadlines.
Read Every Day
One of my writer friends swears that there are two things needed to become a good writer: a notebook and pen and a library card. I didn’t bother correcting her on the simple arithmetic error, she’s a writer after all, not a numbers gal. But she makes a good point. If you’re in the business of words, then it makes sense to stay very close to them.
But daily reading has massive benefits for everyone, not just writers. We’re talking about reading books and articles by the way, not Facebook posts. Reading exercises your mind. It fires up rusty neurons and forms new connections in the brain. It keeps ideas from atrophying. It increases your vocabulary and knowledge about the world or a specific topic. Taking advice from Mr. Buffett again here––he spends the majority of his awake time reading an average of 500 pages per day and suggests that anyone hoping to achieve his success should do the same.
Ahem. Well, let’s stay realistic here too, and on the middle path! Even 30 minutes a day will have a positive benefit. The most important part is to choose reading material that is personally interesting to you and challenges you to think a little.
Before We Go: Balance
We’d like to offer the following thought: balance happens along a continuum that is not sensitive to time. That is, the scales don’t have to match every day or even every week. The point is that when you look at the big picture, you can see Moderation as one of the primary players in the game of Life. Slacking off for a couple of days because you need to rest offsets the days when you burn the midnight oil, provided you’re listening to the health needs of your body and honouring your goals.
If you find you’re spending too much time trying to tackle things that are either too complex or steal the time you need for other more pressing matters, consider contracting out certain projects.
As Shopify experts, we’ve helped a lot of entrepreneurs eliminate frustration and free up time to focus on more critical projects by taking care of the small stuff (that still requires time and expert attention). If this sounds like something that would help you reach your business goals, give us a call and we’ll tell you more about it. Your initial consultation with us is free.
Matthew McConaughey (2020). Greenlights.
Jordan Peterson (2018). 12 Rules For Life: An Antidote To Chaos.
December 28, 2020