Note from the Founders
Creating Lasting New Year’s Resolutions
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas vacation, and for those of you who are still on vacation I hope you are relaxing and recharging for a prosperous new year.
Take Advantage of Your Break
For the rest of us, the week after Christmas is an interesting time. Corporate offices are often half full and the unfortunate employees stuck inside usually sit idly watching the clock, counting down the minutes until freedom. Not much gets done, and even less is planned for the future.
In the vending services business, this week is also traditionally slow. Schools are out, offices are half staffed, and gyms are not at peak occupancy. The only locations that are at full capacity are hospitals. Since you will have less to do this week, it is a great time to take a break from normal business, and start to think about how your everyday tasks can be optimized, and the time spent on them reduced.
For the entrepreneur and small business owner, the week after Christmas is an important time to reflect, strategize, and optimize. It is easy to get bogged down “working in your business” instead of “working on your business”, especially during the holidays when business tasks and family responsibilities are often stacked together.
What does “working in your business” mean?
It means getting caught up doing the day-to-day tasks that every business needs done. In vending, that means ordering products, sorting products, loading them, and organizing books. All the general tasks associated with running a route. While these tasks are essential to the success of your business, they are not going to help it grow.
“Working on your business” is the work you do that will help your business grow.
Are there tasks that without fail end up taking you hours every week? These tasks need to be examined and if possible improved. If the cumulative changes you make save just two hours a week, in the coming year you will have an extra 4 days!
How To Optimize Your Business
Think about ways to systematize or batch your repetitive tasks. If email is one of your most consuming time vampires, try to make a point of only checking a couple of times a day, but when you do check make sure to answer everything. Once you start responding to emails it is easy to respond to the next one, and the next one, until you are finished.
It is much slower to continuously watch your browser and answer every message that comes in. Thinking about email during the day will break your concentration will hinder your performance on other tasks.
Doing a little bit of planning now while business is slow will do wonders for you when business starts to pick up again. Get a jump-start and clean out all your bad habits before the New Year!
Best wishes for 2011,
Sean and Andy
Founders, HUMAN Healthy Vending
How To Set New Year’s Resolutions That Actually Work
During the beginning of a new year, everyone likes to make resolutions for self-improvement. Unfortunately, after a couple of weeks these resolutions are often forgotten and we tend to go back to what is easiest for us.
Why does this happen?
Even though we have the knowledge and capability to improve ourselves, it is very difficult for the changes we want to make to stick. It is possible for us to spend everyday creating new products, developing new ideas, helping others, and getting in great physical shape – but if these activities are not part of our daily routine we will have a hard time staying on track.
This happens because we are creatures of habit. We have been this way for thousands of years and a couple hundred years of industrialization aren’t going to change us. The human brain is pattern-seeking, and this ability has helped us become amazing survivalists. We are able to recognize and learn from patterns, and use them in ways that enable us to continue functioning without expanding excessive mental energy.
Think About Your Commute
Have you ever driven home from work and pulled in to your driveway only to realize that you can’t remember any of the details of your drive home? (I hope I am not the only one this happens to).
Next time you are planning on taking a solo drive that you repeat often, set a timer for 30 minutes after you expect to arrive. When the timer rings, try to think about the specific details of your drive. I bet you will have a difficult time remembering what you saw. Even though we are driving safely, our brain is on autopilot. While this is helpful most of the time, i.e. while driving, or doing laundry, it can hinder us when we are trying to build new healthy habits.
Successful New Year’s Resolutions
The key to making successful New Years resolutions is to realize that we are pattern seekers and creatures of habit, and if we want to change our ways we need to build our resolutions into routines. Most research indicates that it takes about a month (that means 30 straight days) for our minds to recognize our repetitive behavior as a pattern. And once we recognize it as a pattern, our body will start to adjust and the behavior will become a habit.
Whether it is quitting smoking, jogging in the morning, or eating breakfast; unless you do it for 30 days in a row there is a slim chance you will continue doing it (or not doing it) for the rest of year.
Think about how long you have had some of the bad habits you want to kick?
Months, years, decades…? If you want to give your healthy habits a chance, you need to make sure to continue doing them for at least one month.
Focus On The Most Important Thing
Instead of making a long list of New Year’s resolutions to start doing on January 1st, just pick one thing that you want to change about yourself and plan on doing it consistently for the next 30 days. After 30 days, your new behavior should be pretty well ingrained into your routine, and it is now time to start your next resolution.
After 12 months, you should have 12 new healthy habits that will make your life a heck of a lot better!