Business development 25 February 2016

Fourways to keep on track with your business resolutions this spring

New year's resolutions are easy to make,  but often hard to keep
New year’s resolutions are easy to make, but often hard to keep
So if you’re already struggling to keep your resolutions, how can you ensure that you stay on track with them? Matt Perkins, head of SME engagement at FreeAgent, gives his top tips for successfully keeping your business resolutions.

New year’s resolutions are a great way to focus your attention on trying to run a better business, but they can also be incredibly hard to maintain when the January honeymoon period is over. That’s because once the reality of day-to-day work kicks in and the initial optimism of making a fresh start begins to fade it’s difficult to maintain your focus on all those new, and potentially daunting, goals you’ve set yourself.

Think small not big

You may think that achieving a big goal like being more productive or creative requires an equally large change in your behaviour, but that’s not necessarily the case. Psychology studies actually suggest that when faced with big? projects, were actually less likely to complete them because they appear to be too hard.

Therefore the key is to start small and establish new habits that are so tiny they seem trivial, so youll be more likely to accept them into your routine. Therefore if you set yourself a far-reaching new year’s resolution such as I will be more organised with my work, try replacing this with smaller goals instead for example, I will spend five minutes every morning tidying up my emails? and build these up into your routine over time.

Break your old habit loop (and create a new one)

it’s very easy to find yourself falling into a bad habit loop. That’s because our behaviour tends to be shaped by whether we perceive any reward from our behaviour and bad habits such as hitting the snooze button on your alarm or compulsively checking your email give us a rush of relief that encourages us to keep performing these actions.

The good news is that if you identify the reward? that you get for your behaviour youll find it easier to find what triggers your habit and, ultimately, be able to hack the loop. Then it’s just a question of replacing your bad? routine with a good? one that gives you the same perceived reward, and you should find it easier to make a lasting change.

don’t rely on motivation to complete your goals

Motivation can be a powerful force for getting things done, but it can also undermine all of your efforts too. That’s because it’s easy to succumb to desire (i.e. your wider hopes and dreams), and that can drive you into a frenzy if you’re trying to solve multiple problems or one gigantic, far-reaching issue all at once.

Instead of trying to motivate yourself towards huge goals, it’s much better to implement tiny, repeatable habits which can trick your brain into changing its behaviour gradually and remove the need for motivation altogether. Remember, it’s far more beneficial to introduce something small and manageable into your routine than something you need to psyche yourself up to tackle.

don’t worry if you get off track just keep going

Rome wasnt built in a day, and achieving your resolutions won’t necessarily be a smooth process. Youll face hurdles along the way, but the key thing is to keep trying and not to get too demoralised if you fail.