On national Ditch Your Resolution Day, I’d like to make a confession: I hate New Year's resolutions.
I know that may sound unsupportive, pretentious or negative. Who am I to put someone down who wants to make change? Oh, I forgot to tell you that I am a coach who works with entrepreneurs to help them crack their code, so that they can keep making change in the world. I know, it’s even more outlandish now.
Now that I’ve ruffled some feathers, I am 100% supportive of self-improvement, but I don’t think of resolutions as self improvement and this is why:
Resolutions are where hope goes to die.
We are approaching week 3 of the new year, and I would say that 50% of Americans are still crushing their resolutions. The rest of us are wondering what it was it we said we would change or are hoping that no one asks us how our resolutions are going.
New Year's resolutions are a short term solution and most of these goals are old news by February, leaving a mountain of guilt instead.
Pretty sad, right?
Instead, I really dig talking about life changes, something that’s ongoing and fluid. If you’re wondering how that’s different, these are healthy habits that are focused on creating long term change. I sometimes call this crowding out with my clients. The more you bring in the healthy habits, you end up crowding out the unhealthy behaviours you are resolving to change.
To me, these aren't New Year's resolutions.
And it's even more fitting for entrepreneurs.
Staying healthy should be a business goal under productivity. Being mentally and physically fit is king.
What’s Mental Fitness?
If you’ve heard about Mental Fitness recently, it’s because there’s a solid constituency talking about what is takes to be a successful entrepreneur - for our brains. The ability to check yourself and have support to run a business is key. Meditation, healthy eating, a solid sleep schedule, choosing FUN at times when you need to step away and enjoy life, and a supportive network - these are a few things that build mental fitness. Because of the higher risk associated with running a business, it’s vital to have the support you need and know how to get it.
Brad Feld, a prominent VC and entrepreneur talked publicly about his struggles with depression, and was surprised to see the response from other people in the startup world. In an Inc. article that is now a couple of years old, Feld said, “They are very successful people, very visible, very charismatic--yet they've struggled with this silently. There's a sense that they can't talk about it, that it's a weakness or a shame or something. They feel like they're hiding, which makes the whole thing worse."
Mental fitness depends on YOU to crowd out the behaviors that don’t add to your health and happiness and that's what I want for you. Forget about setting empty resolutions just to feel guilty about giving up because you don’t have the time or willpower. Instead, find the support you need to sort out what matters, what doesn't, how to get started, and how to stay committed. There are community resources, coaches and other founders who can hold you to your healthy goals.
So ditch that resolution and start crowding out, instead. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a favorite tip I tell my clients. Every Day, choose 2 of the 3 healthy things that are most important to you, or most FUN and make them a priority. Soon you will notice these things become your new norm and you’re able to add in more of the things you want.
Remember this though: changes take time, crowd out the things you don’t want present, AND businesses should never be run in a bubble.
Kristin Darga is a Coach & Founder of Impact Founder, an independent multimedia movement and community to reduce the feelings of isolation experienced in entrepreneurship. They provide a platform for entrepreneurs to connect and share stories of successes and challenges faced as entrepreneurs in addition to a leadership development program to crack the code of what’s holding them back. Contact her @impactfounder or firstname.lastname@example.org.