As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve decided to run a half marathon this year. For those of you that don’t know me, I am not an avid runner or athlete. I simply wanted to get fit by setting a big goal for myself. With a little more than a month of training under my belt, I’ve already learned some important life lessons that translate well to business.
As with any goal or long-term endeavor, you will encounter obstacles. The big question is — how do you respond? In my training, my biggest hurdle has been motivating myself to get out the door amidst in the rain, snow and freezing temperatures. Despite this challenge, I’ve not missed a single training day since starting.
How do I do it? I’ve identified five methods to overcoming these obstacles:
1. Get out the door. The hardest part of accomplishing a goal is getting started. With running, I find this especially difficult on cold days. However, once I get out the door and start running, it only takes a couple of minutes before my body warms up and I forget about the cold.
Business translation: This same lesson can be applied to business. For example, let’s say you want a new Web site. Instead of coming up with excuses for getting started, find a small way to take the first step — call a vendor for a quote or make a list of other Web sites you like. The point is, once you get your foot out the door, it will be much easier to take the next step.
2. Consider the consequences. On any given day, it’s really tempting to skip a workout — it’s too cold, I’m too tired or I don’t have enough time. While it would be easy to give in to these excuses, it helps me to think about the consequences of doing that. If I miss a day of training, it will be easier to skip it the next time and make it more difficult for me to complete the half marathon.
Business translation: For many small businesses, there are a myriad of excuses for not moving forward on projects — not enough time, staff, resources or knowledge to get it done. However, consider what would happen if you don’t move forward? Let’s stick with the Web site example. If you don’t move forward, you could be missing out on a key lead generator or sales opportunity.
3. Set a schedule. Every week, I plot out exactly which days I’m going to run and schedule it into my day. I plan my day around it — everything from taking the dog to day care to coordinating dinner with my husband — to ensure I have plenty of time to get in my run.
Business translation: Instead of putting projects on your never-ending to-do list, build time into your schedule to work on designated items. Even if it’s only 30 minutes, mapping out some time on your calendar will hold you more accountable to the project and help you move forward.
4. Make it fun. While this may seem like a no-brainer, a fun music playlist makes working out much more enjoyable. During today’s run, the time flew by as I sang along to my favorite songs.
Business translation: When working on a project, find ways to make it fun for you and your team. That way, you will want to work on the project instead of dreading it.
5. Envision the goal. When training gets difficult, it helps to visualize will feel like to cross the finish line at the half marathon. Thinking about accomplishing the goal and the positive results that go with it, help keep me going.
Business translation: Whether you work alone or in a team, it’s always helpful to remember why you’re working on a project or striving for a goal. Consider offering a reward to your team to make attaining the goal that much sweeter. It’s amazing how much harder people will work when there’s something in it for them.
What goals are you trying to achieve this year? What helps you overcome your obstacles?
Photo credit: WSDOT