Nobody wants a repeat of 2020, but if the year has taught us anything, it’s that we’re capable of changing our habits. Grabbing a mask as we leave the house, washing our hands a lot more regularly, and social distancing – these have all become second nature for us now.
Research indicates that it takes three months on average for an activity to become a habit, so how should you get a head start on 2021?
Successful people tend to have personal routines or habits that set them up for success. Think of the people you admire and would like to emulate – what are the behaviours that make them who they are?
For health coaches, these are the personal habits that you could start adopting that would help your coaching business succeed in 2021.
#1 A Morning Routine
There’s no one-size-fits-all morning routine that works for everybody. Yours might even be an evening routine, but three elements appear consistently, however, in the routines of many productive people:
- Planning for the day ahead – realistically committing to what you’re going to achieve today gives you a focus and avoids procrastination.
- Gratitude – Positivity can make the difference between achieving your daily goals and not, the best way to start the day is from a positive place!
- Big goal review – It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day grind, reminding yourself what it’s all for helps you to stay motivated throughout the week.
Find the routine that works for you and work at making it a habit. Perhaps you experience gratitude and clarity by climbing a mountain before breakfast every day, or perhaps your perfect morning involves meditating. Whatever it is, find a routine that works for you and stick to it to make it a habit.
Top Tip: Wake up every morning at YOUR ideal time. To discover your most productive hours, try some of the suggestions here.
#2 Continual Learning
Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, is widely known to read fifty books a year. And he’s not alone – Oprah Winfrey and Mark Zuckerberg are just another two of many other successful people who attribute their success to a lifelong habit of learning.
If you look at any of their reading lists, you’ll find a wide diversity of subject matter, even novels. Sometimes we can get caught up thinking learning is only valid if it pertains to our chosen field. But we need a diverse range of knowledge and skills to contribute to today’s world.
Learning a new language or taking up a creative hobby can expose you to alternative ways of thinking and people you wouldn’t usually meet which is perfect in health coaching when you meet (and help) a diverse range of people. Joining an interest group or professional association is a great way to benefit from peer-to-peer learning.
Reading a printed book is also perfect for switching off, but equally, keeping digital reading matter allows you to take your reading material wherever you go. Podcasts and TED Talks are ideal to listen to while you commute. Whatever media you select, make 2021 a year that you actively seek out new experiences and opportunities for learning.
#3 Finding Happiness in the Success of Others
The German word Schadenfreude means to delight in the misfortune of others. It’s something we’ve all been guilty of at one time or another, particularly when we hear of someone receiving their “comeuppance”.
But successful and happy people don’t waste time feeling envious of others. More often than not, they admire success and use it as inspiration. They focus on improving on their own personal best, rather than defeating others or worrying about other people.
The Sanskrit word Mudita is frequently listed as meaning the opposite of Schadenfreude. It means to take vicarious joy through the achievements and happiness of others. Practising Mudita as a health coach should come naturally. After all, helping people attain their goals is the aim of your business.
#4 Practice Self-Care
Health care providers are notoriously bad at looking after themselves. Sometimes we spend so much energy on helping others, but we have none left over for ourselves. Being empathetic can make great coaches, but it can also mean you take onboard your clients’ problems.
Develop a self-care routine that addresses the following needs:
- Physical – eat nourishing meals and exercise regularly.
- Psychological – take time to be introspective through meditation, journaling, or similar.
- Emotional – maintain a good self-image and be gentle with yourself.
- Spiritual – if you’re religious, take time to practice your faith.
- Relationships – be present for those you love and allow them to nurture you.
- Financial – don’t sell yourself short.
Top Tip: Check out Cheryl Richardson’s book “The Art of Extreme Self-Care.”
#5 Address your social media habits
A common complaint I hear from all business owners, not just health coaches, is that social media takes up a lot of time. And the truth is, it has a huge impact on the success of your business. If you spent too little time, it’s not effective at bringing you clients, but too much time and you’re not getting anything else done.
For 2021, developing a social media habit that is both productive but not all-consuming is the perfect way to make the most of this marketing tool for your business and get other things done.
Top tip: Create a 6-month strategy for your social media that allows you to post and engage with purpose and makes it a lot easier to put your phone down when you need too!
#6 Giving Back
This may seem strange when talking about success, but as Maya Angelou said, “No one has ever become poor from giving.” There is ample research that shows the act of giving has significant benefits for the gift giver too.
Giving to those less fortunate than ourselves can foster a sense of community and belonging. Seeing the help and happiness our gifts provide can also make us feel satisfied vicariously (Mudita!).
Giving back doesn’t necessarily only mean charitable giving either. You could decide to support local businesses by buying what you need from independent business owners within your community.
Other alternatives to donating money include:
- Participating in, or even organising, a clean-up of a local park or beach.
- Volunteering to walk dogs for elderly or disabled people.
- Making an extra serving of dinner to give to a homeless person.
- Adopting a verge in your neighbourhood and turning it into a flowerbed for everyone to enjoy.
- Donating your time and skills to a local community service organisation to help the staff or to offer for auction to raise funds.
- Working on your own continual learning by tutoring disadvantaged students. (You will learn as much from them as they will from you.)
#7 A Purpose-Driven Life
In reading the above suggestions, what guided your response? Did some things resonate with you more than others? If so, it means you probably have some idea of your life priorities. But how consciously do you think and act on them?
This Forbes article by Paloma Cantero-Gomez explains how our mission in life is linked to success. Articulating your mission and actively pursuing it, will position you to achieve it. Without clear objectives and priorities, we leave ourselves open to distracting influences. To borrow words from Katy Perry’s “Roar,” if you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for everything.
Cantero-Gomez provides twelve suggestions for living a purpose-driven life. You can read the article for the full list, but I found these three particularly resonated with me:
- Have the right list of priorities in life and stick to them. What are the guiding priorities of your life? Financial freedom, health, the wellbeing of your family? Whatever they are, articulate them and use them to add clarity to everyday decision-making.
- Envision SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. Setting goals that are achievable and measurable at three monthly intervals will provide purpose to your daily activities.
- Believe in the power of failure. Reviewing your goals and learning from failure can be as valuable as succeeding sometimes. Don’t let the fear of failure put you off going for what you want.
All this is not to say you can’t change your mission from time to time. As we go through life, our priorities are changed by our experiences. The important thing is to make any change a conscious decision that you control.
Hopefully, this time next year, you will look back on 2021 as a year of personal growth and fulfilment. And the real bonus is that personal habits become unconscious – putting in some initial effort to cement them now can set you up for life and help your coaching business thrive for years to come.
Don’t forget that as you evolve and change, so too does your brand, so if you need any help updating it in line with your new personal habits, get in touch.