For business owners and professionals, every new year is an opportunity to change. But how many of us actually keep our resolutions when the daily grind catches up to us? This year, I suggest you dump those resolutions — and make commitments to yourself instead.
I recently read a great article about commitments by Chris Freyteg. My favorite line was, “A resolution may be the act of resolving or deciding on a course of action, but a commitment can be far stronger, because it’s a specific pledge, promise or obligation.” The bottom line: Keep it simple and you’ll actually be able to add it your busy daily life.
Below are my top 5 commitments to myself and my business this year. What will yours be?
- Be and stay healthy. Let’s face it — there is only one you and you are needed. Eat clean, exercise often and get plenty of rest. Try to pack healthy snacks and lunches for your busy day. I bring a protein shake along with bananas and carrots to munch on throughout the work day. Make time in your schedule to get out on a run or even a walk during a break from work. Just a 30-minute walk can help relieve stress and tension. After all, an hour workout is only 4 percent of our day. In business, we are walking billboards for our company. It’s important that we look and feel good.
- Put it on the calendar. Start using a calendar to pencil in your daily, weekly and monthly schedule. Make sure to add personal time as well, including exercise (see: number 1), to your daily regimen. By putting it on the calendar, it is more likely to get done. And prioritize your work day the night before.
- Stop worrying. You can only control you — the way you think and act. Be the best person you can be, and forget about what others think and do. Don’t sweat the small stuff. We spend too much time worrying over small issues or other’s people issues that it takes away from time we could have spent on ourselves and on our companies. So your co-worker took credit for your idea. Is it really the end of the world? No, it’s not. In the full picture, it matters that the work was accomplished, not whose idea it was. I always ask myself, “In a month, will I remember this? In a year, will I be thinking about this very moment?” It’s fascinating how many times the answer is no.
- Connect. Connect. Make time to network — and I don’t mean social-on-the-computer networking. Nothing beats live face-to-face interaction. It’s important to build long lasting relationships; relationships are the bread and butter of success. The more people you connect with, the more opportunities you have. Start by attending chamber mixers and events — there is an event for everything. You can find events through Meetup.com or through your local chamber of commerce. Ask local business professionals where they go to network and join them.
- Continue to grow. Why not stay away from the TV this year and substitute it with a book? We are fortunate to have the luxury of reading books from self-made millionaires and entrepreneurs we admire. They are giving us their tools and resources so we can accomplish what we want. Get started by working on yourself — only YOU can make yourself successful. By learning more about your industry and business skills, you become an expert and continue to grow with new ideas and solutions. You also have more knowledge to use for conversation between clients and diverse people you meet. Growth and development are instrumental to one’s success.
Put in the work — make the commitment — and it will pay, trust me. Don’t be afraid to start with baby steps, either. I have found that true excellence is achieved by doing many, many small things extremely well (and I’m not the first to observe that!). Be a person who does what you say you are going to do. Make a year-round commitment to your health, your relationships, your growth and being a better you — and business success will follow.
Nicole Smartt is the Vice President and co-owner of Star Staffing. She is the youngest to be awarded the Forty Under 40 award by the North Bay Business Journal, recognizing business leaders under the age of 40. In addition, Nicole co-founded the Petaluma Young Professionals Network, an organization dedicated to helping young professionals strive in the business world. Nicole can be found on twitter; @StaffingqueenN.