It’s that time of year when everyone is reflecting on the year passed and the year ahead.
I’ve got over a dozen emails in my inbox trying to help me with goal setting.
We aren’t short on information, that’s for sure!
You and I both know that the difference is found in taking action. Setting the goals. Writing out the plan. Doing the work.
So, what small changes can you make now, that will make next year better than this year?
How will next year be better than this year?
I know you want to be better. You want to grow.
For me, it’s about being better at the stuff that already works, and only adding a few new things that will help me to get there.
(Most of my goals and associated activities for next year are improvements based on performance in previous years, not completely new goals)
In most cases, a series of small daily habits will make the biggest impact on your life and business over the year. (If you’ve read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy you’ll know what I’m talking about – get it here)
Now, I know it’s not always about ‘adding’ things into your life, and perhaps you also need to remove things from your life – I’ll cover this in a future article.
I’m not perfect when it comes to my daily routine, but I can recognise the difference between a bad day and a great day based on what I get done and how I feel about myself (self-esteem).
Most of the things I do daily are on this list below. I do them most days, probably 5/7.
This list is not meant to be prescriptive, or overwhelming, but rather a list of ideas and suggestions to inspire a change in your own behaviour.
Pick something that feels right for you. Or don’t.
I’m not a health expert, so it’s a case of finding something that fits in with what you are trying to achieve. Perhaps pick one thing, go deep on that one thing, and see how that small change has a massive impact on your year ahead.
Let’s get stuck in…
10 daily habits to help you have your best year yet
1. Daily writing
I’m not talking about writing blog articles on a daily basis, I’m talking about writing something (anything) on a daily basis. It could be email copy, sales page copy, exploring some new ideas, a personal story, something that you are frustrated about.
No pressure. Just open up your laptop and start writing whatever is on your mind.
For most entrepreneurs, writing is a skill that needs continual improvement, and daily writing will help you to improve your writing technique and speed.
Give yourself a set time or word count to reach each day and start writing.
2. Daily journaling
When you get up in the morning and/or when you go to bed at night, add an entry into your journal.
There are plenty of good journals out there. I suggest The Five Minute Journal as a great place to start.
I use a template in Evernote for my journal, and I do it in the morning only.
The key is to find something that works for you.
For me, the daily journal is the difference between a good day and a great day.
3. Daily gratitude
I wanted to make sure gratitude had it’s own entry here, but your daily journaling will take care of that if you decide to do it.
That being said, gratitude in’t something you simply practice in the morning or evening when writing an entry into your journal. As you practice gratitude you’ll find that it becomes part of your whole day.
You will find gratitude in everything you do and experience throughout your whole life.
4. Daily reading
If you read 20 pages of a book on a daily basis, consistently over a 4 week period, that’s 560 pages. Most business books are 200/250 pages. So that’s roughly 2 business books a month, which is 24 in a year.
What will your 24 books be this year?
Find a time that works for you in the day and make that your time for reading.
20 pages will probably take you around 30 minutes to read – time yourself 🙂
A bonus tip – try to make your reading selection align with your goals and challenges. For example, I’m reading Profit First right now, because a big part of the goals for next year is to be more profitable.
5. Daily movement
When we are work it’s easy just to sit down and get on with the work. Hours can slip by and you haven’t moved!
I’m far from the fittest person in the world. I could do a lot more here.
Whether you have something like a FitBit or Apple Watch to help track your movement or not, you should be standing up regularly, and moving.
I’m not an expert in health and fitness, but consider incorporating a daily walk into your routine – a walk to the local amenities, coffee shop or to the office. Or perhaps a swim.
Also try doing some of your work standing up – when you are generating ideas or doing something creative, use post its on the wall of your office, or a white board. Get and use a standing desk.
For those that sit down a lot at work, it’s even more important we’re aware of our daily movement.
6. Daily hydration
Throughout the day make sure you’ve got a bottle of water with you, and stay hydrated.
Again, I’m not an expert on this but drinking 1.5/2 litres of water a day is reasonable. If you have a 500ml bottle you can refill it 3 or 4 times in the day.
Just make sure the bottle is within your reach.
When I’m on calls for 90 minutes I can drink 1.5 ltrs of water with out realising.
Make it easy for yourself to win.
7. Daily idea generation
I recommend reading or listening to James Altucher’s Become and Idea Machine.
The basic concept of the book is to help your mind become an idea machine by practicing idea generation daily.
I find this to be hugely valuable, and when I’m planning content I use this technique.
It helps you to generate ideas quickly, and also get all the bad ideas out so you can get to the good stuff easily. As a creative person (all entrepreneurs are creatives) you need ideas, and as we roll into next year, you need to be creating better ideas.
8. Daily sleep
This is a big one for me. I need my 8 hours or I’m not going to function properly.
This means getting to bed at 10:30pm and getting up at 6:30am.
The later I go to bed, the harder it is to get up at 6:30am. If I don’t get up at 6:30am, then you can pretty much write-off time for reading and journaling.
I’ve been tracking my sleep using AutoSleep and the Apple Watch, it’s fascinating to see what’s going when you are in bed.
Do you have a set time for going to bed and rising in the morning? Do you know how much sleep you need? DO you know what quality of sleep you are getting?
9. Daily planning and review
If you write your journal the same way I do, you’ll take care of your planning as part of the course.
If you don’t , than you’ll probably want to do this…
Sit down in the morning and ask yourself:
- What did I do yesterday? – look at your schedule and to-do lists. Reorganise based on what happened and what didn’t.
- What am I doing today? – Look at your schedule and tasks list for today. Reorganised based on priority.
- What’s the one thing I must accomplish today? – Write it down, what must get done today?
I do this at 6:30am, you might want to do it in the morning and in the evening.
This sets me up for a good day.
10. Daily tracking and measuring
I know you work hard already, and you probably don’t want to work any harder than you already do.
But you do want to grow and get better results.
So in order to get more done it’s a simple case of being more effective. In other words, getting the important and valuable work done first.
In order to be more effective, we need to know where we are being ineffective. We need to know what’s working and what’s not, and where we can make improvements.
I recommend reading Work Less, Make More by James Schramko – in short, that’s what his book is really all about. Making sure you are focussing on the right work, so you don’t have to work so damned hard.
Measure your progress and reward yourself when you achieve your goals.
- If you want to drink 2 litres of water a day, measure it and reward yourself at the end of the week. Track how you are feeling too.
- Track your sleep using a FitBt or Apple Watch. I use AutoSleep.
- Track movement and steps – lots of options for this.
- Track the time you spend on mobile devices and your computer. Use something like ResuceTime or Moment to help you with this and set targets for yourself.
Everything measured improves.
These are just some ideas for you to consider.
It’s probably not a good idea to try and change everything at once, and perhaps pick the one thing that will make the biggest impact for you going forward and focus on doing that.
Building a habit can take a few months (depending on what you read it takes between 21 to 66 days to build a habit), so don’t give up too easily. If you miss a day here and there, don’t give yourself a hard time, just pick it up again and keep going.
- What daily habits currently work for you?
- What will you be changing next year?
- What would you add to this list?
OK, it’s time to stand up and move around…