New year, new resolutions?

Historically a New Year creates a new opportunity for people to reinvent themselves through resolutions, be that losing a few pounds, trying something new or focusing on a certain aspect of life more.

I’ve always been slightly reserved about the idea of creating a raft of resolutions; why wait for the excuse of a new year to make changes? In Eric Ries’ book, The Lean Startup, there is a big focus on ‘pivoting’ if something doesn’t work. Granted, this theory applies to business, i.e. your business model doesn’t allow for you to significantly scale, so you pivot in an attempt to alter this with the hope that this will be achieved in a new iteration of your model. But why can’t this be replicated in all aspects of life?

I recently read an article in Entrepreneur.com on 10 Resolutions from Young Entrepreneurs. They focused on better delegation, celebrate achievements and find a better work-life balance, all of which are good goals to set yourself, however, there is no requirement to wait for an occasion as big as a New Year to make these changes. There has been a lot of press around ’30 day challenges’ of late, and I have indeed jumped on the band wagon. These are challenges which you set yourself for a month, for which you do (or don’t do) a certain activity for a month. These can be giving up certain things, physically pushing yourself, or taking up something new. With the challenges I have set myself in the past, this has created self-improvement, diversity and goal setting.

I’ve often thought that one of the most difficult aspects about working for yourself is the motivation to actually do it. Waking up at 7am to go into the office, finishing very late or working weekends when no one is around to tell or motivate you to do so can be daunting. I’ve actually found that the complete opposite is the case. When you have ownership over something, you are intrinsically more passionate about it, hence you spend more time to develop it. When this is linked to finances and whether you can afford to pay rent or feed yourself for a month, there is an obvious additional incentive. But if you are passionate enough about something as to look forward to each day of work, each new challenge and you surround yourself with the right support, then more often than not, financial benefits follow.

So my message is clear, don’t wait for a significant life or time event to set yourself new challenges, that’s certainly something I’ve found when dealing with start-ups and the quest for personal development.

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