I've never been a creature of "good" habits. I've read countless articles on habit forming, and I've spent time bargaining with myself to just stick with things like writing daily in a journal, or reading a book instead of my phone before bed, or taking advantage of the gym that is inside my apartment building.
It wasn't until I read a new book, Gretchen Rubin's Better Than Before: Mastering The Habits of Our Everyday Lives that I recognized what I needed to do to develop and stick to "good" habits (NOTE: this is not an advertisement for Rubin's newest book. No one asked me to mention it and I do not benefit in any way if you decided to purchase or borrow this book after reading this. I simply appreciate what Rubin wrote and found it helpful).
Better Than Before offers a lot of insight into how different people form and maintain habits, but I found two specific takeaways most helpful. First, I am an "Obliger", which means that I respond very well when others are holding me accountable, but not as well when it's just me that's holding me accountable. Second, it can be much easier to form a new habit when there is a "clean slate", such as a new job, because you're not already set in old habits and there is an opportunity to set a new routine.
I am so glad that I learned these two things before I started working for myself.
Recognizing that I perform best when others are holding me accountable forced me to approach building this business much more transparently than I originally intended. It's why I'm writing this very post - I want others to know what I'm doing, why I'm doing it, and what I intend to do in the future. I respond well to deadlines and pressure, and keeping my progress and self-imposed deadlines to myself will not motivate me to stay on task like sharing those things with friends, family, and supporters and anticipating the question, "so how's it going?".
So, how is it going?
Last week gave me the "clean slate" that I needed to set new habits.
I spent last Sunday night outlining the week. What did I want to accomplish? How much time would each task take? How much time am I going to reserve for myself? I incented myself to wake up early - earlier than I ever did for my old job - by planning an actual breakfast and a walk around Lake Calhoun, where I got to see the beautiful sunrise pictured above.
I am pleased to report that the majority of that list for the week got accomplished (what didn't get done was because it took longer than I had anticipated - another thing I'm learning as I go). I focused on the most important first steps of starting a business: registering with the state (say hello to Hazel & Rose, LLC), opening a business bank account, setting up dedicated social media accounts, and diving into the local library for additional resources.
So, what's next?
More morning walks around the lake, to start, but I'm also spending this week focused on my online presence. How does HAZEL & ROSE online feel different from Emma online? How does it feel the same?
I'm building a social media calendar for the first time. I'm putting the final touches on my business plan. I'm learning more about the new resources I've found.
I'm getting comfortable in my new habits.