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Over the years I have tried to quit smoking multiple times. It’s not easy. Quitting smoking is not a pleasant experience for anyone, especially those who have to handle the quitter during the first few weeks..
The irritability, lack of focus and anger that overtook me about 2 days in, were in no way shape or form “ideal” qualities for a consultant. I mean, how could I get new clients when all I was thinking about was ripping my hair out of my skull and screaming expletives at anything that moved?
So, in true millennial fashion, I turned to Google for a solution.
What is the best way to quit smoking and what would I have to do to stop once and for all?
This is what Google said to do:
Step 1: Have a plan. Once you’ve made up your mind to quit smoking and set the date, develop a plan. …
Step 2: Don’t go it alone. It will be easier to quit smoking if you have support from family and friends. …
Step 3: Stay busy. …
Step 4: Avoid smoking triggers…
Step 5: Reward your accomplishments
When I saw it, I stopped.
It looked eerily similar to a blog I had just drafted called “Starting Your Own Business: 5 Ways to Stay Motivated “
1. Be Organised
2. There’s no need to be alone
3. Work Smart. Don’t be “busy”
4. Avoid Distractions & Messages
5. Invest, but be Careful with, Money.
Weird… I thought. It’s almost the exact same, except that instead of “staying busy” you need to make sure you’re working productively and instead of Rewarding your Accomplishments, you need to reward yourself by investing in your business wisely, so you can accomplish your goals.
This baffled me, and I began to wonder…
Could quitting smoking really be like starting a business?
When you start your own business you need strong willpower, determination, commitment and the ability to cope with emotional distress. This distress is often caused by money issues, fussy clients, proposal rejections, or as I quickly learnt, under-quoting. These are also the qualities you need to quit an addiction, like smoking.
I then started to look more closely into how habits are formed and how they’re broken. I found there was a general consensus that habits are created using 3 Rs : Reminder, Routine & Reward. I also found that the best way to quit something is to pick up another habit in its place.
So, does that in fact mean that when launching a business, entrepreneurs should follow these 3 Rs? I think so.
Here’s my take on it.
We are all hoping for to achieve great things, but we need to think less of success as a Revolution and more like an Evolution – slow and steady. Just like there is no such thing as an overnight success, big tasks or projects are only accomplished with the completion of much smaller tasks.
So, if we treat starting a business like quitting smoking (or forming a new habit) we can use the 3 Rs to make sure we’re in the habit of completing one small task every day:
In order to ensure you’re on track to accomplish your business goals, set yourself little reminders every morning with one small task you must achieve that day.
Make sure you complete that task straight away. Don’t get distracted – don’t even think about checking emails, social media or Google Analytics!
Once you’ve completed your small daily task (try and make it something you ALWAYS seem to put off) reward yourself with something awesome. I mean really awesome – an episode of Survivor (am I the only one who loves it for the psychological mind games?), or Game of Thrones or maybe a delicious cheese pizza! Whatever it is, make sure its REALLY good and something you do not usually do.
That way, in 2, 3, 6, 12 months time, all those small daily tasks will form that one big task that always seemed so far out of reach.
Well- there you have it. I’m not sure if I’m going crazy comparing everything in my life to cigarettes as I deal with the nicotine withdrawals or if this is genuinely useful but I will personally be using this method to start actually achieving the things I always say I’m going to achieve, but never do.