The Road to Hell!

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Out with the old “ in with the new. It’s time for change.
At the end of every year, many entrepreneurs feel the need create a new plan for the New Year. Many people like to make New Year’s resolutions, there’s even a whole website devoted to it. It seems like many of us try to make the same change year after year.

According to www.resolutionsnewyear.com the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are:

1. Spend more time with family and friends
2. Become fit
3. Cut down the extra fat
4. Quit Smoking
5. Quit Alcohol
6. Get out of debt
7. Learn something new
8. Become more organized
9. Help others
10. Enjoy life more

I did quit smoking over 10 years ago, so I have already taken care of that one. It was difficult, but satisfying in a strange way. Once you’ve been through that, you know you should be able to change anything about yourself. I’d say that the first three days were really difficult, the first three weeks rather annoying. My brain wouldn’t think about much else but cigarettes, but after three weeks, things changed almost overnight. Suddenly I noticed that I wasn’t thinking about it anymore and the thoughts slowly disappeared over time. In the end, it was well worth all the trouble, and now I view it as one of my greatest accomplishments.

As small business owners, I think most of us spend too much time working, thinking or even worrying about work. The website www.resolutionsnewyear.com says that 50% of Americans want to spend more time with family and friends, and entrepreneurs are no different.

I’m definitely going to make an effort to divide my time between work and family better in 2009. Someone suggested to make special family days; such as pizza night on Fridays. In our family we have also made a plan to “take back weekends” for family time in 2009. This past year a lot of work has been forced in on weekends for different reasons, and this is something we want to change.

Loosing weight or working on getting in shape, is another common one. If we can work on making our bodies stronger, we’ll accomplish more all around.

Steve Pavlina often uses the 30-days of change to implement a new routine. As you know, it is said that it takes 30 days to change and make something into a routine. So if you want to start eating healthy for example, make a commitment to stick to it for 30 days straight. All you have to do is to go through your month, and by the end of the month it should almost be a habit for you.

Most of the time we put too much pressure on ourselves to make a drastic change overnight, and when we slip, we give up the whole idea. I think by committing to a 30-day change, you don’t have to commit to a lifetime change, just a month trial period. So you can try eating vegetarian for 30 days and see if it works for you. No strings attached.
It’s a great way to get into healthier habits.

Many of us struggle with debt, often credit card debt. This time of year it’s could be a good idea to make a plan for how to get out of debt. Can you spend less and use the money to start to pay down your debt? Everything has to happen in small steps, there is no easy way to get out of debt, but the longer we wait to make a plan and start taking action, the longer it will take.

I found it interesting that Learn Something New came up as number 7 on the list. Trying something new can be exciting, and who said it had to be work-related? You could learn how to knit or crochet, or take cooking classes.
Entrepreneurs are life-long learners. Most of us can always learn more about marketing techniques, how to present, how to analyze a budget, how to interview job applicants and much more.

“Becoming more organized is one of those things that I keep repeating every year about this time. I think I’m hoping for a magic solution, one that doesn’t involve any significant change or effort from my part.
This year I’m going to organize my workday differently. I will try to clean off my desk at the end of the day, and make a plan for the whole week on Mondays. I’ll also try to limit how many times a day I check my inbox and do that later in the day. This is going to be difficult for me, because I like checking email in the morning and respond. For me, it would be better to get my most important tasks out of the way first thing.
I have been following the Simpleology system to keep me on track this year. It’s free and can help you see what you should focus on during your day.

Help others and Enjoy life more. I will work on finding good tips to post on do your own marketing to help other small business owners save money by doing more of their own marketing.
What are you planning on doing in 2009 to enjoy life more?

Making goals, plans and objectives are only the first step, and probably the easiest one. The hard part is sticking to the plan and implementing changes and strategies throughout the year. This might be why so many people keep making the same old New Year’s resolution year after year. It’s easy to wish for something, it’s much more difficult to make it happen.

My suggestion is to keep your goals and your plan realistic. It is better to make goals and be successful in reaching them, instead of giving up after two months. If you have had a problem in the past, maybe the 30-day approach could work for you.

The other reason we don’t reach our goals, is that we make a plan and we don’t check our progress. In order to know your exact progress, your plan needs to be clearly defined in steps or phases “ otherwise you’ll only know when you have reached the finish line. I believe this is one of the hardest things to achieve when you’re making a strategic plan. But if you can outline a step-by-step path for your business, you can also track your progress and adjust as you go along.

For many of us, 2008 wasn’t the best year, so it’s more important than ever to analyze what worked and what needs to change in order for 2009 to become a profitable year.
And while you’re working on your plans, I hope you’ll get to spend some quality time with family and friends to enjoy the holidays!

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