46% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Therefore, I am presuming that 46% of you made some sort of resolution to improve your practice.
- You want more clients.
- You want more of your clients to tell their friends about you.
- You want to change your practice’s focus from working with the ill and disabled to working with active seniors.
- You have resolved to step up the marketing for your practice.
And by now, late-January, 75% of you Resolvers have “broken” your resolution.
Is this a problem? Heck, no!
Should you feel disheartened and vaguely ashamed? Nah.
Here are 12 steps to get over the discouragement that seems to go along with “broken” resolutions and get on with making your practice healthy and profitable.
1. Actually Resolve.
There is a difference between resolving and intending. Resolution gets you somewhere. Intentions are nice thoughts that you might get around to someday.
2. Put Some Perspective on It.
January 1st is so dang random. Really. Me, I like to make my resolutions on my birthday. My mom makes hers on Ash Wednesday. My husband makes his at o’dark-thirty in the morning and then feels obliged to wake me up to tell me about it. So let’s just agree that it doesn’t matter when you decide to make your practice more profitable; it only matters that you do resolve.
3. Be Specific.
I have gone on and on about the importance of defining and focusing on your Ideal Client. Same goes for making resolutions. You don’t want to “get more clients.” You want to “get more active seniors.” How? You aren’t going to “advertise more.” You are going to “run ads in the Olympia Senior Center newsletter and buy ad space in the next Puget Sound Senior Games program and contact the local senior nutrition lecturer about giving a 10 minute speech at the next senior nutrition class.” (Also, see last week’s blog about making your resolutions “SMARTER.”)
If you wing it, you’re not going to get too far. Write it down. If you don’t write it down, it’s gone. Make yourself reminders. Post lists on your desk and on your smartphone. You know the drill.
Sanity Tip: Break down your plan into bite-sized chunks. A legal-size paper, printed on both sides with three columns of To-Do’s is way too intimidating.
5. Make Benchmarks.
As you make your list of things that need to be done, mark points where you get a reward. And, hey, there’s no reason to be stingy; give yourself hourly rewards if that’s what it takes.
6. Announce Your Resolution.
Publicly stating what you are going to do makes it much more likely that you will actually work to do it. Your pride is on the line. The bonus is that if you tell your business group or the florist next door what your plans are, you’ve given your resolutions more channels to flow through. You’ve put that energy out there. Who knows what the returns may be.
7. Enlist Cheerleaders.
This goes along with announcing your resolution. When you work to change your habits, you really are doing something big. It is difficult. It does feel inconvenient. Finding someone or some ones who will give you encouragement will give you a greater likelihood of success.
8. Express Confidence.
When someone asks how things are going, stand up straight (lift your heart) and tell them that you are working on [bringing in more senior clients, or whatever]. “Oh, are you?” Yes. I have a whole plan broken down into manageable chunks. [Today] I’m [getting my senior center flyer together]. You will find your confidence reflected back to you. It never hurts to say your daily plans out loud to yourself, either.
9. Set Yourself up for Success.
This was the best thing I ever learned from my dog training teacher. If you don’t want your puppy to chew up your shoes, put your shoes away. Duh, right? If you sit down to work on your client database but find yourself distracted by the kid’s TV show, MOVE. If you know you’ll get nothing more done tonight if you answer that call from your chatty friend, DON’T. The best part about taking control of your marketing goals is that you feel so powerful and in control and … you know … successful.
10. Do-overs are okay.
Every day is a do-over. So you didn’t send out your goal of 10 postcards yesterday. Do-over. Undo. CTL + Z. Begin again today. It really is all right.
11. Find What Works Best for You.
There is no single solution that works best for everyone. You know what’s best for you and your practice. If one approach doesn’t work for you, it’s okay to try another. Just keep your eyes on your goals.
12. Keep in Mind…
It takes 21-28 days for a new behavior to become habit. It takes 6 months for a new behavior to become part of your personality.
Obligatory Encouraging Quote: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Thomas Alva Edison