By Jennifer Burks, Thrive Program Assistant
Habits fill our daily lives. In some ways, they serve a wonderful purpose – to free our minds from thinking through each mundane task at hand. But beyond washing dishes or making coffee, habits can equal stagnation. Defined by the American Journal of Psychology (1908) as repeated often-unconscious behaviors developed through repetition of previous mental experiences, habits in essence mean we are continually striving to meet past goals.
Let that sink in. Habits in your business could mean you are working towards outdated goals. Conversely, if you aren’t routinely achieving your goals or dreams, you may benefit from assessing your daily habits.
WEV’s Thrive Program offers long-term individualized training, consulting and coaching for small business owners. While 70% of Thrive clients join us from other WEV programs such as SET or BPI, others come from the general community – established companies searching for mentoring and assistance in growth and stabilization. To start each year in our program, clients work with Business Development Specialists to create SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Ambitions are broken into achievable steps meant to both hold the business owner accountable and to encourage them in growth and development. Every three months, clients reassess those goals – are intermediate steps being completed? If not, why? Do goals need to be adjusted, or does the work?
Author and entrepreneur Chellie Campbell joined Thrive clients in early October for our quarterly networking and education event, titled Think BIG! Chellie presented her inspired vision for achieving financial success, based on both her books and her Financial Stress Reduction® workshops. You may access her shared excerpts and worksheets here. She outlined how habits, fear, and a negative outlook can result in a person who resists change but expects a different outcome. Chellie posited that achieving our financial dreams is a surprisingly simple two part process – believe, and act on that belief. Verbalize what you want – tell yourself and the universe. Repeat affirmations about what you envision, then LISTEN to yourself! Remind yourself of past accomplishments. Then, work backwards from your goal to the present to determine actionable steps. If you continually work toward a goal, and tell yourself you will reach a goal – well, then, it’s simply a matter of time and effort.
The path to reaching our dreams can be fluid and bumpy. Sometimes we sprint, then crawl; we may be pushed by a current or propel ourselves. Dreams do not wait for a convenient time in life to appear, any more than car repairs do. A wondrous thing about life is that ambition can be reached not through great leaps, but rather a series of small intentional steps. Each step compounds upon the last.
Does your daily life – your time, your words, your money – reflect where you want to be? What is in the way? We can often be our own biggest obstacle. Ask yourself what you are resisting. What items remain on your to-do list, forever relegated to “someday”… why not “today”? What gives those tasks power over you? Validate your fears, then release yourself from that fear, and that never-fulfilled IOU to yourself. Commit to thoughtful daily actions that reflect your objective.
Part of achieving goals is practicing gratitude. Do you pause to celebrate achievements, to acknowledge others as part of your odyssey? Whether a boon or an obstacle, every choice we face becomes part of our story. Thankfulness resonates powerful positive thinking – being both a gift in itself and a tool to build connections with others. To further explore this process, our workshop exercises from Think BIG! may be accessed here.