We are at the top of a brand new year. This is a time for reflection and a time when people vow to rid themselves of old bad habits, adopt news ones and turn their lives around.
A lot of these “New Year, New You” resolutions have to do with things like weight loss, giving up smoking or some other vice or making another personal change.
People in business and who work for themselves or who are StartUp Founders trying to build a new venture, grow, scale and expand an existing project or just pivot and start a new chapter and financial path for themselves and their families are also vowing to change.
I thought about changes I’ve made in the past and some I plan to make or try to recommit to and came up with a list of 6 rules that every entrepreneur (or anyone in commerce) should abide by in order to have a successful year.
Change 1: Become More Confident in What You’re Building and Don’t let Naysayers and Doubters Cause you to Second Guess Yourself
Often times, we let our confidence get shaken by naysayers, doubters and others who do not believe in the direction we are taking. They have an opinion and judge our movements yet really have little to no stake in our lives and in the outcome of our personal decisions. Yet, we hold their opinions too highly and let them get into our head space and shake our resolve.
They can do this easily because, often we are uncertain about our movements in the first place. We operate on hope, prayer, desire and times, aspirations and that fragility of our situation makes us vulnerable to the words of others.
You can easily set yourself up to react better to unsolicited feedback from people who you’re sure are not interested in your well-being and success. Jot down daily or weekly affirmations, perhaps, meditate and/or review and re-commitment to your goals. These activities will boost your surety and self-confidence. When you feel more comfortable and dedicated with your decisions, you will not be easily swayed.
The voice of outsiders will have less effect on you, unless the comment or criticism is constructive and coming from a place of love.
Change 2: Streamline and simply your life
Right now, you are probably balancing many obligations, priorities and projects. Each require 100% of your focus, time and dedication, but as you know that is impossible because there are only 24 hours in a day, and a chunk of that time is spent, sleeping, in transit, transitioning from one activity to the next and engaging in non-productive activities like goofing off on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat or some other social media platform.
What happens when you spread yourself too thin is that you accomplish little and only achieve partial progress or success. In 2017, make a list of all the things you have on your plate and make a decision to shelve some for later. Whatever you value most, which earns you the most money or fulfillment, or brings you the best return on your investment in time, select that to rank on top. Select no more than two and then re-assign and shift the time you spend on the other less valuable tasks, projects, interests to the time allotment for top ones. You’ll have more time to focus on what matters most, literally.
You will become more fulfilled when you soon start to benefit from the fruits of total and complete dedication. Perhaps, you will be able to earn more money, attract more audiences, book more gigs, grow a more fulfilling relationship with someone or get a more enriching experience than before when you were half-stepping.
As time goes on, and you find yourself in the position to take on something new, you can revisit your list of B and C items and promote one or two of those projects to the A-list and start investing more in them until they too become valuable and rewarding.
Simplifying your life will also ease your tension and stress levels because when we are carrying too much baggage around, we cripple from the weight and slouch. Our brains will always be foggy. Even meditation and prayer will be hampered because they will be competing with too many things.
Change 3: Celebrate Your Little Victories All Year Long
“Stop and smell the roses” is an archaic saying but it really does apply more than ever in this new digital millennium age we are all living in.
Last year was very challenging for me because I had a series of disappointments, losses and other distressing things happen. Like many people, I wrote off 2016 and a terrible year. But in 2016, I had plenty tiny wins as well: I had record ebook and affiliate sales, I had a blog post go viral that was also tweeted out by the White House, I launched a well received online school and enrolled over 100 students, I opened an ecommerce store that performed well, had a record number of unsolicited sponsored post offers and I closed on several digital strategist consulting contracts. My most popular blog received several awards and recognition. I was able to oversee some successful experiences with my children which also brought me fulfillment and closer to them. I also continue to be in good health and have all of my immediate family member well and with me, which is very important considering that a lot of close friends experienced losses in family members whom I might take for granted. And at the end of the year, I scored a sponsored trip to my husband’s native Trinidad and Tobago for the entire family! You can’t beat that for a top off of a rocky year.
Taking time to really relish and celebrate miniature successes and wins is essential. Treat yourself to lunch, a drink or dessert, a facial or massage, a shopping trip or some other valuable reward as a pat in the back. The positive experience from these treats will color the year with bright spots so even in the down times, you may remember that an uptime was not far long ago and many more ups are on the horizon and will come.
It doesn’t even have to be an expensive treat. For me, a good venti cup of coffee provides enough of a high and lift to elevate my mood.
Change 4: Stop Being too Wedded and Committed to Unsuccessful Projects or relationships
When we invest a lot of time, money and energy into something, whether a relationship, a business venture or some other interest, we are reluctant to abandon it/them. We cling on for way longer than necessary and we do so in the face of many signs, signals and hints that it may be time to hang it up and move forward.
Each additional hour, day, week or month spent nurturing something that is going nowhere takes away from a more deserving source for our energy and resources.
To ease out of an uncomfortable situation, perhaps tell yourself you are putting it on a shelf to return to later. Heed to lesson 2 about re-prioritizing and simplifying our lives. Maybe, if you feel like you aren’t totally abandoning a former passion or venture, you may be more willing to put it on ice.
The time apart or away from it may actually be good because during the break, you may realize you don’t want to return to it at all or you may discover a way to augment, improve or better service it.
Also, in freeing up your time, you may not want to insert another priority in its place but maybe leave that space in your schedule open for mediation, prayer, reflection or a physical fitness activity, music or some other source of a mental break.
The anxiety of letting go will soon be replaced with the relief and unweighted burden of knowing you were chasing a dead or dying dream.
Change 5: Surround Yourself with More People Who Get You and Associate Less with Those Who Don’t
You will always have family and friends who are supportive of you, but there will be others in your life or social circles who don’t get it, don’t want to get it and will constantly question your moves. Some will laugh and snicker behind your back, and make fun of what you are doing and others will be so bold as to tell you to your face they think you’re wasting your time or going about what you are doing the wrong way.
Such naysers can be draining and can wear on your resolve. Some might be counting on your failures so they can say to themselves they were right. Others are stagnant in their own personal lane and see you have ambition on moving ahead but don’t want you going anywhere and certainly not too far ahead of them. Some are just plain miserable and have little to no fulfillment in their own lives and thrive out of gossiping about others and busying themselves by obsessively watching and mocking others’ movements. These folks are going nowhere. You know who they are and you know they are stealing your joy and tainting you with their negativity each time, they call you to talk about another person.
Some people may be threatened or annoyed by your ambition because they are comfortable in their space in life and feel you should be too.
But the good news is that you can control who you let into your space.
As Ray Bradbury once said, “The answer I found is you stay away from the people who make fun of you, and you join these ad hoc groups who understand your craziness.’
Find your tribe and thrive there.
Let go of all the excess noise and people making it. Or at least limit your contact and interaction with them because they are dragging you down so they can be comfortable.
Change 6: Don’t sweat the small stuff
How many times do we replay something bad or negative that has happened in our lives over and over and over again.? We let stuff torment us, even if it is something as insignificant as a minor faux pas, or an oversight.
We allow the mistake or error fester in our psyche and consume our thoughts and ruin our day or moment.
Obsessing over things that has happened in the past and cannot change will also slow down any momentum or excitement you’re generating or have created from another recent win.
Don’t let the small stuff overshadow the small or big gains.
Be better about shaking it off and moving forward.
Ideally, we will be able to heed to these rules all year long and will find that following them will lead to a more successful year. If you don’t and find yourself retreating back into old habits or letting others get to us again, come back to this post and review again to reset.
I am also a firm believer in the “reset” button and think it can be hit over and over and over again and whenever needed and necessary!
Jeneba “JJ Ghatt”,is editor at Jenebapeaks.com, an online hub where she helps social media butterfly who empowers digital entrepreneurs and professionals to create great things online at her online learning platform Digital Publishing Academy. She is an editor of tech blog Techyaya.com and founded the annual 200 Black Women to Follow On Twitter List. Read her bio, then get all of her online & digital biz startup advice and tools in one spot here!