Festive recharge – five simple resolutions to help your business bound into 2018

Love to charge into 2018 with energy and a fool-proof plan of attack? Here are five business resolutions you can get started on over the festive break. 

Apparently, we can blame the ancient Babylonians for our annual pursuit of self-improvement at New Year. They would kick off their celebrations by making promises to get on the right side of their gods – and presumably the prospect of being smote resulted in a better follow-through rate than we manage in modern times.

(Maybe I’d get better run splits if pressured by a little godly vengeance…)

But while I don’t personally believe in the effectiveness of a list of grand resolutions, the cusp of new year is a good time for reflection; and an opportunity to make some small changes which might just combine to make a big difference.

And this year, I’ve resolved to concentrate my festive musings on my business.

Five simple resolutions to help your business bound into 2018

These are the five simple steps I’m planning to take towards starting 2018 with renewed energy and focus – why not join me?

1) Celebrate your 2017 wins

Start by making a list of all the things you’ve done this year that you’re proud of. Even if they seem tiny and inconsequential at first, just jot them down. Once you’re on a roll, you’ll remember lots of things you’ve forgotten – life lessons, business lessons, new skills and abilities, times you’ve come out of your comfort zone…

With them all in front of you, look at all that new knowledge, all those new skills. See just how far you’ve come. And now you’re in the right analytical mindset, just have a quick think about how all those new skills can be put to good use to benefit your business – and your clients.

2) Shake off the comparison mindset

Recently, Talented Ladies Club published this article on business comparisonitis. In it, Hannah Martin talks about how detrimental it is to get into the habit of unfavourably comparing your progress with that of others.

And as a relative newbie to flying solo in business, it really resonated with me.

I found myself being slowly dragged into the comparison trap during my market research phase. But while it’s only natural to start analysing what you think competitors are doing better than you, it’s crucial to step away before it becomes self-sabotage, draining your focus and your motivation.

Basically, they’re not you. They have different skillsets, different strengths, a different background. You’re awesome. But if you spend your time trying to emulate them and their awesomeness, you’ll lose sight of your own strengths.

So take note of best practice, remember you’re looking at what they’re choosing to put out there and own your own awesome.

3) Dream big, work towards small wins

The problem with New Year resolutions is the tiny amount of them that go fulfilled – dismal research findings show that less than 10% of people actually achieve their goals.

The trick is to be realistic. You’ve got the big dream – you need to chunk it down into the small wins.

Many of us are familiar with the concept of setting SMART goals, using objectives which are:

  • Specific.
  • Measurable.
  • Attainable.
  • Relevant.
  • Time-sensitive.

As an example, let’s pretend you’re looking to take on some extra project work, and have decided to offer your services through a freelancing site. Your SMART goal could be:

“I want to take on 3 extra projects (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic)… by the end of next month (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-sensitive)… by offering support services through a freelancing site (specific, attainable, realistic).”

This year, why not pick three small wins for each of the first three months, and apply the SMART framework to them? Then, instead of hitting February overwhelmed and demotivated, you can treat each small win as a pat on the back.

And if it works for you? You could repeat the process on an quarterly basis – that would be 36 SMART wins to be proud of this time next year.

See? I said you were awesome.

4) Plan ahead

Best not to do this one on a surfeit of mince pies and mulled wine but… in that bit between Christmas and New Year when the novelty of constant family time has worn slightly thinner and you’re starting to itch for a return to normality, take an hour or so out to plug in your brain and get a plan of attack for your first week back.

What’s your first job? Who are you going to connect with? What will you blog about? Can you get your basic social media content scheduled and ready to go?

Whatever you think will help ease your first day back. Just think how smug you’ll feel knowing you can hit the ground running.

5) Challenge yourself

Over 100 years ago, psychologists Robert M Yerkes and John D Dodson defined the concept of a person’s comfort zone. They explained that keeping within comfortable parameters equalled a steady level of performance.

But they also found that, when we step outside that zone and push our anxiety levels a little higher – not too much, just beyond our norms – there are a whole raft of benefits, including increases to confidence, productivity and creativity.

So this year, why not choose one thing outside your normal boundaries, and get it ticked off your “no way” list? Even if you start with the easiest thing you can think of, that ounce of extra confidence could be used to tackle another boundary, then another and another…

Give yourself a head start for 2018

There we have it – five simple ways to recharge yourself and your business over the festive period.

You’ll notice I’ve steered away from talk of taxes, mainly because it’s the least festive thing I could think of. But I’ll just put it out here, just in case.

And if it’s bad – if there’s a pile of receipts tottering menacingly in a corner – allocate an hour in the first week of January to hire a VA or bookkeeper to take it away and give it back organised and sparkly.

Wishing everyone a fantastic Christmas and an amazing 2018 ahead of them!

Lucie Gill is the owner of LVGVirtual, where she gives business owners support and guidance on their communications, financial and company administration and productivity. Proud mum to one beautiful girl, she’s based near Leeds. You can find her on Twitter.

Photo by Annie Spratt