If burnout and stress have taken over and you’re considering closing your business or otherwise…
If You Want to Change Your Business, Change Your Habits
Let’s talk habits, specifically, how you can change your business by changing your own habits.
If you think about your daily activities, the majority of them are probably habitual or at the very least, built around your habits. You have your routines and behaviors that you fall into without much thought at all. It’s like driving home after work and realizing when you put the car in park that you have no idea how you got there. You were on automatic, going through a routine pattern of actions. All the while your brain was able to wander; maybe contemplating the great many mysteries of the universe or simply deciding if having cereal for dinner is really all that bad after a long day. You were able to meander through these thoughts while your brain was processing some seriously complex computations involved in driving and responding to endless external stimuli while doing so.
Habits can be wonderful. It may be a great morning routine that starts your day off on the right foot, or a regular walk around the block with your family after dinner. Some habits aren’t so good; smoking or drinking excessively every night for example. But what about those seemingly harmless habits we develop, the ones that don’t seem all that bad, or the things we may not even realize are habitual at all? There’s two areas you need to look at to see what habits you have and what changes you may want to make to them.
CHANGING YOUR HABITS AS A MASSAGE THERAPIST
Let’s say you have numerous clients who just want to relax, don’t have many complaints, are just do the usual and go type. Or maybe you specialize in helping with certain conditions and see many of the same illnesses and injuries day in and day out. It’s so easy to develop a routine, right? While each massage may be slightly different, do you find that the majority of your work is repeated? Or have you ever worked an entire area of the body and, like arriving home in the evening, you can’t even remember what you just did? You’ve fallen into a habit with your massage. It may very well be time to change that, which is going to elevate your massage to the next level.
CHANGE YOUR HABITS AS A BUSINESS OWNER
Are you taking care of the most critical parts of running a successful business? Are you keeping track of your finances every week? Are you planning and implementing your marketing strategy regularly? Or are you checking your email constantly through the day? Do you find that you’re mindlessly scrolling through Facebook groups, lying to yourself that you’re going to glean some sort of amazing wisdom from all this, even though you’re just reading through the comments of what is essentially an online cat fight? What kind of habits do you have as a business owner that need to change? There’s probably quite a few.
But how do you go about changing these habits that you’ve ingrained into your daily life? One of the best ways is to change up your triggers. What’s happening when we act out of habit is that our subconscious has taken over, so to speak. We’re not consciously moving through these behaviors, but rather letting our body and mind just go through the motions, often in response to some trigger, some item or action that puts us in a certain thought pattern or process. For example, are you habitually reaching for your phone to spend a few mindless minutes thumbing through social media or checking email with no real intent behind it every time you feel like you have a few minutes of free time? That situation where you don’t have something immediately grabbing your attention is a trigger to reach for your phone. Not that it’s a bad thing to take a few minutes for that out of your day, I get it, but if that’s something you want to change, if you’re spending a ton of time on there when you know you should be doing other things, you’ll need to change that trigger and the action to follow.
First, determine what habit you want to change and what you want to change it to. Start with just one or two; don’t go crazy and think you’re going to change every bad habit and aspect of your life right off the bat. You’ll just drive yourself nuts and probably end up feeling like a failure, because guess what…you’re going to be bad at this at first. Habits are easy. Changing a habit is hard. And our brains and bodies like easy, right? So, give yourself some time and give yourself some grace here. Once you’ve determined the habit to change and what you want it changed to, now you need to determine the trigger that will work for you. So here’s a few examples to get your mind going…
BAD HABIT: Scrolling through social media several times throughout the day
NEW HABIT: No more than 30 minutes per day
TRIGGER: Coffee breaks
When you sit down to enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning, you may use this as a trigger to give yourself 15 minutes to scroll through social media. Then later in the day when you’re reaching for another cup, sit back and enjoy another 15 minutes.
And a tip for you…set a timer or a screen limit on your phone so you don’t fall into endless scrolling.
BAD HABIT: Mindless massaging during relaxation sessions
NEW HABIT: Being fully present throughout each massage
TRIGGER: A new decoration
You’re going to be checking the clock throughout a session to make sure you’re staying on track, so why not use this as a trigger to remind you to focus and be present. Get a pretty new clock to hang on the wall and think of it as a reminder that every time you look at it, that this moment, this time right here is important; for you and for your client. Or even a framed piece of art or wall decal that says something about being present if you want to get real obvious with it. Let this be a reminder throughout your session to focus entirely on your client, even during one of those seemingly endless relaxation sessions.
BAD HABIT: Falling way behind on bookkeeping and running the numbers of your business
NEW HABIT: Having a weekly time set aside to record and track all your business numbers
TRIGGER: A special place to work and treat to have while doing it
I know running numbers and keeping track of your finances may not be the most enjoyable experience for you as a business owner, but it’s necessary, so why not make the most of it. Schedule a block every week like you would any appointment with a client. This is non-negotiable just like it would be if you had a client booked there! Now make it enjoyable…pick your favorite spot at the park or a coffee shop, or grab a glass of wine in the evening on Fridays, blast some great music, and have at it! Let that time of the week be the trigger; let that park bench, coffee shop, or glass of wine be the trigger that reminds you to get this not-so-fun task done every single week. For me, it’s a big sweet coffee and a pastry. That’ll get me through even the most boring task.
No matter what habits you’ve spent your life or career developing, you can change them. And by changing these habits, you can change your business! It may seem small, but those small habit changes really do make a big impact. Your business will be better off when you take control of your time, your thought processes, and your habits.