Honoring Yourself To Grow Your Business, Art and Life
As small business owners and creatives, we’re often so busy that the thought of doing one more thing seems impossible or like a terrible burden. There is so much to learn and practice to be on top of our game and cultivate our craft that there’s rarely much time or energy remaining to develop ourselves. Yet, optimizing ourselves and minimizing our tendency to procrastinate can be the deciding factor in the outcome and success of our project, business or art. Honoring yourself first leads to growth.
It’s true. Honing your productivity and improving problem areas in our lives can result in more time and energy available for your project and enjoying your life.
Yeah, but that adds another item to my already overwhelming list.
Keep It Small
One key to honoring yourself is to start small and keep it small. This allows you to be consistent, and it takes you off the roller coaster of self improvement. You know that roller coaster—the one annually exemplified by our New Year’s Resolutions. According to US News, 80% of them fail by February.
Making large, grand improvements can be inspirational. Lose 20 pounds, get out of debt, meditate 20 minutes every day, and eliminate sugar from your diet – these bring forth images of a new you, one that is so much better. But we all know how this story ends. You dash after the magic bullet like a rabbit, and after missing your goal a few times, you’re even worse off than before you started. You still have that weight and debt, plus you’re distracted and eating cupcakes. You’re procrastinating on doing the things that would lead to reaching your goals. But now you have also failed at changing those things. You’ve created more barriers to trying again and are left feeling discouraged.
Even if you do achieve these S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound) and succeed in losing those 20 pounds by summer or reducing your debt by 30% over the next quarter, you are set up to backslide if you haven’t set up replacement goals. Napoleon warned: “The greatest danger occurs at the moment of victory.”
The Kaizen Effect can counteract backsliding. Most often used as a business philosophy, it applies equally well to running our lives. Essentially, this Japanese word refers to continual small improvement. Rather than seeing your desired improvements as goals, view them as a process.
Consider your self-improvements as a process. This requires you to look into how that practice can be sustainable. To lose 20 pounds, for example, you must look at what that might require – such as declining second helpings, switching from sodas to sparkling water, and walking for five minutes after dinner. To reduce your debt, you might cut back on small spending such as dinners out. If you want to regularly meditate, then start with only five minutes or even 3. Rather than starting a strict diet, try eliminating only one type of food at a time.
By making small improvements on a daily basis, you will build up habits that can help you sustain them. Though your daily improvement is small, you’ll likely see better results by the end of the year than you would by going after large goals. Just as working out regularly strengthens your muscles, practicing these quick and easy disciplines builds your willpower and capacity for personal success.
Honoring Yourself in a Sustainable Way
Small and continuous improvements work well for me, but it becomes even more sustainable when I give myself some time off. Depending on whether you’re a moderator or an abstainer, giving yourself a small break from your discipline can make the habit even more solid.
Gretchen Rubin recognizes the different kinds of people in relation to temptation in her book, Happier at Home. She likens herself to Samuel Johnson who said: “Abstinence is as easy to me as temperance would be difficult.” Moderating or abstaining can be equally effective as long as you’ve recognized which one you are and set up your improvement process to reflect that. Gretchen offers readers the ability to determine if they are an abstainer or a moderator on her blog.
Honoring yourself through personal development practices is key to growing your business, art and life. That is what I want for you – to honor your passions and needs.
If procrastination is getting in the way of the life you want and you’re ready to take charge over how you spend your time, you may be ready to take the next step. My online course, Transform Your Procrastination, was designed for exactly that support. Spread out over 20 weeks, you only invest one to two hours per week over a time period that’s long enough to cement your chosen and adapted practices. Throughout the course and beyond I will coach and guide you in the Transformation Community Forum.