When it comes to our personal life and finances, there’s an awful lot we can learn from looking at how small businesses are run. And taking a closer look at them can lead to a surprisingly simple and powerful way that is far more effective than willpower when it comes to sticking to New Year’s resolutions.
Consider, for example, your average busy cafe. A well run cafe doesn’t rely on the staff memorising the orders of the customers or the table numbers of each order. In good businesses there are systems in place. Waitresses write the table number or issue a sign of where the orders should go, they are placed in order in the kitchen with details of the orders carefully noted for each person. Particularly slick restaurants have the waiting staff write the seat number next to each order so the right food magically appears in front of the right person, with every small detail remembered correctly because they repeated the order back to you carefully.
Most of us have simple processes like these in our lives. For example, we don’t have to remember to pay our bills on time each month, we have standing orders and direct debits to make that easier, and sometimes we even get a discount for that.
But when it comes to thinking of our New Year’s Resolutions, we’re probably thinking of things we’d like to change in our lives, things that haven’t proved easy and simple to change. The trick is to setting up processes in our lives that will make it much easier to overcome the barriers that have stopped us making these changes before. Putting real time and thought into these systems, and sticking to them, means we can keep up resolutions that were previously abandoned by mid February.
A classic example is that we would like to spend less money on junk food. Most of us don’t do this because there is some barrier to us doing it, usually that barrier is time. When we finally get around to eating, we’re starving and the only quick thing to satisfy the hunger is a packet of crisps or a pizza. The very simple solution to this is making a daily meal plan each week.
Fill out a weekly planner with foods you would like for breakfast, two snacks, lunch and dinner each day and then do your weekly shop based around what you need to have all that food ready. It’s a very simple process that cuts out willpower because you’re healthier, less expensive food is there, ready for you before you get so hungry that you need to resist the temptation of the vending machine or garage snack. It’s also a system which helps you get into good habits and once something is a habit, it’s easy to sustain. You just need to spare half an hour once a week, and after a while, you can just switch around your favourite meals and snacks and spend even less time meal planning.
Another example is that you would like to pay off debts. The harder way to do this is to make more cutbacks and pay more money into your debt. While it might be the right thing for you to do this, it is worth talking through all your options with your Serenity Life Planner. For example, a simple monthly process of having any debts on a spreadsheet and reviewing the costs of borrowing less expensively on a regular basis is a way to help reduce more debt quickly and a process that takes only an hour or two a month. Putting in this time on the first Monday of each month can also help you to avoid any extra charges that pop up. If you stick to reviewing only yearly and having everything taken care of in a direct debit, that extra daily overdraft charge your bank added on could have cost you dearly by the time you check it.
If it’s been a while since you talked to us, why not make an appointment with your Serenity Life Planner and we can talk through some helpful processes to help improve your health, wealth and happiness in 2018.