It’s the day after New Year’s Day, and if your small businesses is like most, the mood is still festive, laid back, and, and less hectic. Next week is plenty of time for setting goals for the new year, but I urge you to take a little time right now—before things get too busy again—to take stock of the past year, celebrate your successes, and recharge both mentally and physically.
Start with gratitude
In my freelance writing and blogging business, I’m thankful, of course, for my wonderful clients. They have allowed me to help them reach their own goals, and it has been a privilege. I’m thankful for my PinkCoattails Mastermind group. These three women, and our leader Dr. Ellen Britt, have become friends, supporters, and advisors. I’m thankful for my virtual assistant, Tishia, Lee, who has taken a few things off my plate so I can concentrate on what’s important. Here are a few more things, just to get you thinking. I am grateful for:
- Loving my work so much that I can’t stop at night and go to bed.
- My spouse’s patience and support.
- The state of technology that allows me not only to work from home, but also to work from anywhere.
- Blog followers who take the time to read and comment.
- The entrepreneurial culture of the United States and the support systems for small business owners.
- Thank you messages from customers.
- Vendors who under-promise and over-deliver.
- Customers who pay their invoices in a timely manner.
Patricia Johnson, corporate psychologist at Silver Lining Psychology, provides support for the importance of gratitude in creating a healthy business. She has found it encourages teamwork, improves culture and mood, and benefits employee retention.
What are you thankful for?
List your successes
It’s easy to spend too much time focusing on the bad things, the mistakes, and the downturns, but there have been successes in your business this past year. Take some time to make a list right now. There is research-based support for the value of doing this. Happiness researchers such as Gretchen Rubin and Shawn Achor tell us that when we’re thinking about positive things, our brain actually releases neurochemicals (e.g. dopamine). The result is an expanded ability to conceptualize possibilities and opportunities. Think of the boost a marathon runner gets many miles in the race when she realizes she’s made significant progress towards the finish line. That’s why making a list of successes will propel you toward your next year’s goals much more than starting with a blank sheet of paper.
Here are a few of my successes this year:
- I had over 20,000 visitors to my Heartspoken.com website this past year, and the number of visitors to this SmallBizSpoken.com website has increased too.
- I created editorial calendars for both of my blogs and was committed to writing and posting regularly.
- I remained faithful to my practice of writing personal handwritten notes that express appreciation, comfort, encouragement, and inspiration. During 2014, I mailed over 160 handwritten notes or letters in addition to the personal notes I included in my 90+ Christmas cards.
- I took courses in podcasting, blogging, social media, and small business management to learn how to fine tune my own business and be a better resource for my small business clients.
- I added some new small business services this past year:
What are some of your successes or accomplishments in the past year?
Recharge with self care
Most small business owners, myself included, take better care of their customers, their employees, their equipment, their cars, and their computers than they take care of themselves. This makes no sense! If we get sick, our business risks a significant downtown, so we’ve got to put self-care as a higher priority. It’s counterintuitive, but research shows that reasonable time spent on self-care activities such as the ones below will actually increase your productivity, but also your happiness and sense of well-being. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
- Get enough sleep.
- Move as much as possible – use the steps instead of the elevator. Get up and walk around your office. Park farther from the store entrance. Walk every day.
- Place value on your own time.
- Take real vacations—not working vacations.
- Spend some of your time and some of your money on helping those less fortunate than you are.
How do you recharge?