66: Creating Good Habits in Your Business
Taking the time to create habits in your daily activities will support the growth of your business and ensure your longevity in the animal, equine and/or pet-based industry that you love so much. Join Kim and Cara and they discuss three big things you can do to harness the power of better habits in your business.
Our Big 3 Takeaways
Make small changes over time to build the habit
Set yourself up for success
Motivation and Willpower
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Kimberly Beer 0:00
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Cara Taylor Swift 0:19
Welcome to The Business Animal podcast. Saddle up for a gallop to the top of the animal industry, where you’ll learn how to tame your wild business beast with tips, techniques, and tools that will take overwhelm to obedience school, and have you wagging your tail with joy. And now your hosts, Kim Beer and Cara Taylor Swift.
Kimberly Beer 0:41
Hey there business animals. It’s Kim with Be More Business.
Cara Taylor Swift 0:44
And Cara with Fast Horse photography. Good morning, Kim, what are we talking about today?
Kimberly Beer 0:48
Today we’re talking about creating good habits in your business. I love this topic. Because I am a typical temperament type NFP which means NP, by the way means that I buy a lot of organizers and yet I am hardly ever organized.
Cara Taylor Swift 1:11
That is awesome. Well, I love talking about this topic because I feel like having good habits is like the only way to free my brain up to do anything, like I have to be able to it some aspect kind of roll around on autopilot by my habits. I know I interrupted you there, but I just was thinking about you buying all your planners and your systems and then not using any of them so,
Kimberly Beer 1:34
Yeah, I love to create systems and then not use them. That’s my favorite pastime in life, it’s now it does have a benefit for the other people in my world because other people take my systems and go ahead and use them and do well. I think a lot of that, again, we did this episode on temperament. And for me, one of the things that I run up against is is a lot my temperament, one the P that kind of rolls with the flow versus going and doing the things. But my NF never looks at the details very deeply. It’s more of a big picture type of a personality. And so a lot of habits are in the details. The devil is in the details when it comes to creating habits. And so regardless of what I say about habits, I do try to create good ones in my business. And I can tell you, when I developed good habits, as as good as I can keep them my business did succeed. It’s been much more successful since I have done that. There’s a couple of resources I’m going to mention right off the top that I think are really pertinent to this episode, because I’m going to tell you, these are things I’ve had to learn versus have things that come naturally to me. So a lot of what we’re going to talk about today in this episode is going to come from two sources, both of mine and Cara’s interpretation of those two sources. One of them is a book called “Atomic Habits” by James clear. And you can find that online at Jamesclear.com, as well as other places. And then another book that I have found incredibly useful is called “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson. And the slight edge is also really good in helping you create good habits in your business. We are going to distill those two books down today, as well as add our two cents into a big three around this particular topic. Cara, why don’t you give everybody the good news on the three things we’re going to talk about to help them build better habits in their business today.
Cara Taylor Swift 3:37
Okay, so we’re going to talk about three points around creating better habits or good habits in your business. The first one, which I can totally get behind, is make small changes over time to build the habit. So I love this idea of being able to do little tiny things to make a difference at the end of the day. So the second is set yourself up for success by designing your environment to support your habit. So we’ll talk about that. And then the third one is all about motivation and willpower. And some of us are better at that than others. So I’m excited to dig into that part as well.
Kimberly Beer 4:13
So the first one is making small changes over time, build the habit. And I think this is a place where all of the people who are experts on this topic agree. Now once they get past this, this sometimes we get into the wild wild west of concepts about how to keep your habits and and how to maintain them and how to develop better ones over time. But small changes are so important. And I know that people give examples. So for example, if you do one little tiny thing in a day to move yourself towards creating a better habit, it doesn’t mean much in that day. But, if you do that one tiny thing over a year, it can mean a substantial change in your life and in your business, because those little moments add up. And I think if you were to distill down both Mr. Clear and Mr. Olsen’s philosophies around building habits, I think that both of them would agree on this particular one. And also really say it’s at the heart of creating good habits in in anything you do at any point in time in your life. And I find it’s a little bit easier for me to digest if I can do things one little piece at a time versus rolling in there and trying to do it all at one time, or not realizing how much it builds up over time. What do you think Cara?
Cara Taylor Swift 5:45
No 100%, I think a habit like that is something that’s going to ensure your staying power in your business, I mean, it’s gonna give you longevity in the work because you’re slowly over time building the habit that is going to free up your brain and free up your time and free up your mind to do the things that you really want to do in your business. So an example that I have is I have tried to build a habit that anytime I have to send, this is a really simple example, but anytime I have to send an email that I’ve had to send more than a couple times to somebody to a new client, if it’s not already a template in my CRM, I try to save it as a template. And when I first started doing that, it wasn’t something that made a huge impact on my day to day in my business. But six months in or a year in, I realized I wasn’t having to write as many emails every day I was having, oh, this I’ve already got one of these, I’ve already got one of these, already got one of these, because I started developing that habit of gathering that over time. And that’s that was me doing that one simple email at a time, it might be one email a week or one email a day, depending upon what came up. And now I’m barely having to write fresh new emails to clients. Because I’ve already covered the content, you know repetitively. Another thing, I’m teaching Easton right now about saving, and he’s been wanting to buy video games, and they’re kind of pricey. And so I told him, you know, you get a little allowance every week, if you do your chores, and what you can do is you can start putting, like $1 in your piggy bank from your allowance, and he’s, you know, I’m never gonna have enough money, it’s never gonna be enough mom to get the video game. And the other day, we sat down and counted his money, and he had enough money for a video game. And so just a great example about it became a habit every week, he put money in and it became routine for him. And I was like, well, first of all, yay, we taught him something. Finally. Second, you know, he can see the results of that habit, that good habit that I feel like he has developed now in his life. So yeah, that’s kind of my two cents on that.
Kimberly Beer 7:51
I think that the example with Easton is excellent, because it does show how little tiny steps one baby step at a time can make a huge, huge difference. And when you were talking about the writing the emails, I can hear our good friend Betsy Bird talking in your.
Cara Taylor Swift 8:12
Yeah, she’s applauding right now.
Kimberly Beer 8:14
Yeah, she’s like, she’s like just giddily happy that you took that step and got those things cuz she’s a big proponent of work smarter, not harder.
Cara Taylor Swift 8:26
Kimberly Beer 8:27
Yeah, automation work smarter, not harder. And I have to agree with her on that one, I prefer the working smarter, not harder. Yesterday, we talked with a guest that’s going to be coming on the show that we’re excited about
Cara Taylor Swift 8:40
Kimberly Beer 8:41
You guys will have to wait to hear from her. But what was fun is while we were on our booking call with her, I was able to go into the CRM, which I took time to set up and just drop a tag on her name and baboom she had all of the guests documentation and the contract and all of that meticulous stuff that we need to take care of. So it certainly did help being able to get that done. And we had to do those things one little baby step at a time in order to get to the point that it got to be easy. And I think this is true of anything. You know, over time, I’ve worked with a nutritionist and my life as well, that what her suggestion was, is make those small changes, like choose this instead of that, but you don’t have to do all of it in one day. You don’t have to like completely change your life in order to build a better habit, you can build it one simple step at a time. So instead of choosing a Dr Pepper, choose a glass of water and or you know instead of choosing the macaroni and cheese, choose broccoli or something and I happen to love broccoli so that one actually is not a hard choice for me. Believe it or not. I’m one of the weird people in the world that actually dearly loves broccoli. I eat it several times a week.
Cara Taylor Swift 10:00
You are so weird.
Kimberly Beer 10:01
I know it. That’s, that’s, that’s one good thing. It’s one good habit that I have and it comes to that kind of stuff. But the point is, is creating a good habit when you’re doing it, it comes mindfully, right? Good habits that we struggle with, those are the ones. Some of us have good habits naturally. Like, I like the taste of broccoli so I eat it. It’s an easy, it’s an easy habit for me to have. But the ones where you need this particular podcast episode are those habits that don’t come so easy, right, so making one small change at a time does make a huge difference in in how you approach it.
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A couple of years ago, before COVID, I was giving out a lot of lessons for people on how to use their CRM and what I recommended to the people. And it kind of got kibosh because everybody sort of quit networking for a little while, and it was based around that, but 30 minutes every morning to follow up with your network. So if you just do 30 minutes, every single morning, over a year, that’s a substantial amount of networking time. And it doesn’t feel like a lot out of your day. And then waboom, you have a really well developed network. Little steps one at a time. Now, there’s another step in this that can really help you in that setting up your environment for success. We talked about it with the CRM that Cara and I both gave examples of if you set your environment up for success, you’re much more likely to have it. But Cara has some really interesting takes on how to create this environment that’s beneficial for you.
Cara Taylor Swift 12:20
Well, I can’t claim them, they came from the book that you mentioned “Atomic Habits” at the beginning, but this is kind of my breakdown of them. And I really, really liked them, actually. So the book mentioned, they call them the Four Laws of Behavior Change. And I thought this was really interesting. The first one is make it obvious and set it up so that it requires no act of thinking. So you know, setting it up so that you like Kim, she was just like, oh, this is no problem, I can hop right in, I can do this very quickly, you know, you get yourself in that process so that I know this is something I don’t necessarily want to do, but I’m going to make it as easy as possible. And then the next one is make it attractive. And this one, I kind of have a personal experience. I don’t love editing days where I’m doing nothing but sitting and I’m having to edit all day long, maybe I’m on a deadline. So one of the things that I started doing and maybe this is not a great habit to have, but one of the things I started doing is that’s when I would binge my Netflix or my Hulu shows and I would sit and edit with my shows on and I could watch and edit at the same time. So now instead of absolutely dreading those days I get excited about sitting down and going through my editing process and getting it done because that’s the day that I get to binge I get to Netflix and binge I am still working I’m not chilling but it’s better than it’s better than just sitting here in silence working and editing. The next thing is you need to make it as easy as possible. I struggled here at my house, one of my dogs has pain issues. He’s an older dog and I’m trying to remember make the habit of giving him his pill every single evening and morning and I kept his pills like up in this cabinet and I realized that it’s like if it’s out of sight, I’m not going to remember it so I started putting the pill bottle and the pill stuffer thing that I stick the pill in like the little treat that you stuffed it in, there right there together and they’re right next to the spot where I feed the dogs and so it’s like I just made it easy like I don’t want to think about it now it’s so obvious that this is something that I need to do and I’m not missing or skipping or anything. And then the last part of this is make it immediately satisfying. So find some way to reward yourself or ensure there’s some like happy result for knocking that out or walking through that habit. Yeah, those are the four those are the four things and I don’t know if you have any good examples you want to share with that that you use in your life.
Kimberly Beer 14:39
oh I do, I have..
Cara Taylor Swift 14:39
Okay I figured you did.
Kimberly Beer 14:43
Yes, I definitely have comments about about all of these things the make it obvious one to me is set the stuff up, do your CRMs, all of those things. I am another person my entire tarot deck so I do 78 detailed drawings on my iPad. And I honestly think the reason that the iPad was the tool du jour for me for creating stuff is because I can sit in front of the television on the sofa with my comfy blanket and my slippers on and be able to make my pillow nests,
Cara Taylor Swift 15:17
Kimberly Beer 15:18
and work on it. Because then I would look forward to it right? If I wasn’t as motivated to draw that day having the thought of oh, I’m going to turn on a show. And you know, Cara and I were talking before we started recording. We’re so overstimulated with things in our world. Few of us can sit still and just watch TV. I mean, that’s that feels like kind of uncomfortable
Cara Taylor Swift 15:39
Like your brain needs more stimulation.
Kimberly Beer 15:41
Yeah, it’s like an uncomfortable activity,
Cara Taylor Swift 15:43
That’s really sad.
Kimberly Beer 15:44
But why not turn that time into something more productive. I mean, to be honest, like editing and drawing, I loved doing that, because I would listen to the show, I would look up. Now my son got a little irritated when he would watch TV with me, because then I would be like, wait a minute, what happened? And then he’d be like, you really need to pay attention to what’s going on. I’m not gonna I can’t always be here to explain to you why that is. And there were times that I had to watch the episode again, to go, oh, that’s where that happened. So I would miss stuff because I get lost in my drawing. But it does, it makes it more attractive. And you know what, there’s nothing wrong with using that to be able to help you get shit done. GSD get shit done. So yeah, making it attractive, making it fun, making it comfortable, making it something I know people who listen to music, not everybody’s into watching TV, but they listen to music, and it brings your energy level up
Cara Taylor Swift 16:45
Kimberly Beer 16:46
There’s a ton of ways. Whatever floats your boat easy is important. That’s a pretty good one. The other one I wanted to talk about was the making it immediately satisfying. So I listened to a podcast years ago, and I cannot remember the name of the person who did this had this suggestion. But as humans, we love the little reward were started from the time that we’re in kindergarten to learn about getting a gold star. So we like that. And there’s a reason, folks, why slot machines make so much money in Vegas or anywhere else that there’s a slot machine. We love to pull the lever and hear the noise. It is it hits the dopamine centers in our brain it like whites, all of our nerves on fire. And we absolutely love that. So when you’re thinking of that reward, the reward can be something monumentally simple that hits those notes for you. This particular coach on the podcast recommended that you go to the store and you get yourself a glass, it has to be glass container of some kind, and some type of an object that small that will make a noise when it hits the container. My choice in this was a glass canister that was really pretty and little blue rocks, like they put at the bottom of aquariums or people will glue onto stuff. And when I complete a task that I’m trying to build a habit around, I drop the blue little rock into the container, it makes this satisfying noise as it goes in. And it lights all of those same things on fire somatically in my body, and it’s like this reward that I get to move something over there. It’s the same reason a lot of people love to put check marks on things. Because you have that. So it doesn’t have to be like oh, I have this habit. And now my reward is something complicated. It can be as simple as getting yourself a glass container and some pretty little bubbly rocks and dropping them in. And then again, this goes back to number one, you’ll see those small changes really accumulate over time like Easton sighs money grow in his piggy bank, you get to see what you have accomplished. Fill that container all of the way up. And then when you have it at the end, it’s important one more story with that. So the Touched By a Horse community there was a graduate of that program, and I think her name is Anna, she’s an amazing coach. But when she first started her practice, what she did was filled up one of those containers with match sticks. So it represented the fire that she wanted to start in her business. So every time that she worked with a client or talked to a client, she would drop a match stick into a container. And then at her graduation, I believe it was she presented that to her mentor and said here’s the fire that I’m ready to start. So I found that absolutely beautiful. So Anna, that was a fantastic idea.
Cara Taylor Swift 16:51
Kimberly Beer 17:51
Yeah, it’s a very inspiring thing. And in our little group, we have 100 Square challenge. I’m showing this to Cara we’re supposed to do 100 sales conversations, but we have a little page and we put an X on it every single time we have a sales conversation. And this is a huge reward. I mean, just as simple as this crazy little paper that sits on my desk and every time I have a sales conversation, I X off a box and the goal is to get 100 of them Xed off by July the first. You know how many of you out there struggle with sales, right? That is a constant complaint that we hear I’m not good at follow up. I’m not good at my sales process. I don’t know anything about it. Make it fun. Give yourself a reward for it.
Cara Taylor Swift 20:40
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What you’re saying here that I keep picking up on to is don’t put the reward at the end of the goal. Like where the goal is completed, you should have something there of course, but you need to be rewarding yourself throughout the process. Like every little task you complete towards that goal. I think about it, like when someone’s talking about all right, when I lose the five pounds, I’m gonna go get a new pair of jeans, but it’s like, you know, you’ve got to, you’ve got to reward all of the healthy happy steps that you’re taking every single day, the small changes that you’ve made every single day or over time to get to that end result that end habit. So I think that’s the biggest thing that you’re talking about is reward yourself during the process, have a reason to keep going, things that keep you motivated, not just the big end goal is the reward.
Kimberly Beer 22:36
Absolutely. Because to be honest, that’s where habits fail, right? It’s they fail in the day to day. And that’s because it doesn’t feel in those little tiny changes, just like Easton saying, I’m never going to make enough money to be able to buy a video game. And especially when you’re building a new habit that’s hard for you, it’s really hard to see that from day one. But if you can watch the accumulation through a glass canister, or you can watch your I mean, honestly, glass piggy bank would probably be awesome, because you can see the change starting to grow up in there and the dollars or whatever you’re putting in it. If you can watch that happen. It hits those notes for you all along the way. And it makes you want to come back and do it every single day. The next thing we want to talk to you about is motivation and willpower. Because on those days when the blue ball dropping into the glass canister doesn’t seem to be quite cutting it for you don’t beat yourself up about that. Willpower is not always the thing that you need to call on to get something done. In other words, it’s not a curative effect, in my opinion, and you lacking that is not always your fault. There’s a lot of distractions, there’s a lot of things in the world, there’s a lot of things in your own background that may be trauma related that are pulling on you and to blame any kind of failure about creating a new habit on yourself is counterproductive, in my opinion. What do you think about that, Cara?
Cara Taylor Swift 24:16
Well, this is an area where I think a lot of people end up beating themselves up. All of this other stuff aside, if people aren’t building habits and getting to a place where they’ve got longevity in a project, or they are finishing things that they set their hopes on. That, a lot of times it comes down to them feeling like I’m just not motivated, I have no willpower. And it’s another area to feel like a failure like you’ve messed up in your life. And I just think that’s not the case. It means that like you said, maybe you have some things that you need to look at what is making you think it’s your willpower, where is that coming from and do some work around that and I know we’ve talked about mindset and that sort of thing on the show and we’ve got some other great episodes coming up. where we talk about mindset, but I just I hate any area where people are saying to themselves, I failed again, and this is why. And they’re blaming themselves for not being able to, to get to that place that they want to get to.
Kimberly Beer 25:10
Yeah, and I think this is a target rich environment for that particular attitude. I think there are a lot of professionals that say, here’s the way to whip up your willpower and your motivation. And that’s where I tend to part ways with a lot of the habit building gurus is because I know there are things that you can’t willpower your way through that become obstacles in you building this habit. So if you’ve listened to this far into this program, you’re one of those people out there in the world that probably struggles with some habits that you would really like to change or make better in your business and in your life for that matter. And change is hard. I don’t care who, you know, you can say, oh, it’s easy, you just do this, you just do one little thing over time. And there’s those four things, the four things make it easier. But folks, when it comes down to it, sometimes all of that doesn’t matter in the moment, because there’s a bigger obstacle that you need to work your way through. And in order to be able to get to the point where you can get to the Four Laws of Behavior Change, and where you can start making those small steps. And it’s not your fault if that obstacle is big enough that you need help, or you need time, to be able to dismantle it, set it off to the side, and then come back and tackle this habit that you want to create in your life. And blaming it all back on you is of no use to you, or any of your forward progress. And boy, am I ever learning that lesson in my life. Right in this minute. As I’m sitting here talking about it, I have things going on in my life where I’ve run into one of those gargantuan obstacles that it feels like it’s blocking every single path that I’m on. And I am in the process of dismantling it one brick at a time. No matter what habits I have, that I’m trying to build until that obstacle is dismantled enough, blaming and shaming me for not being able to create that habit is doing nothing but damage.
Cara Taylor Swift 27:26
I feel that so and I know you and I were talking yesterday, and we were talking about my type and how I might have a big goal that sounds like something really awesome that I’d like to do. But if I can’t see a clear path there, then I write it off sometimes as something that’s unachievable for myself. So for me thinking about it in terms of the habits around that, and setting the course, you know, it makes me think one of the quotes in the book that I really liked are, you know, goals are good for setting the direction, but systems are the process that leads to the results. And the systems are the habits that you build. And so for me thinking about, like, I’ve got some big things, you know, on my goals list, sometimes I struggle to see the path there, you know, and so thinking about those systems that will get me there, and those habits that I can create to get myself there make me feel a little better about it.
Kimberly Beer 28:16
Yeah, those little small steps, the little small steps that get you to the place you can be. And for those of you who do really struggle with depression and own a business, you know, this is a lifelong fight for me with depression. And I can tell you back when I was really deeply depressed at the beginning of creating this business, some days, all I could get up and do was one small step. And that one small step did end up leading to something big. And it made me feel good, it was like I got one small step, just one small step at a time. And if that one small step is all you can take today, count it a win, drop your blue bubble in the glass box, and, you know, enjoy that dopamine hit for a moment. And then if you need to go do something else and be away from that habit. There is absolutely positively nothing wrong with that. So let’s normalize, taking care of yourself and making things positive. I hope people have gotten some good use out of this episode. The habits that you create in your business really do move it forward. And another good thing I want to mention to you guys is that even though I have that gargantuan obstacle in my way, the fact that I created good habits in my business before that obstacle came up in my life’s path means that I am able to, without a lot of stress, be able to concentrate on my obstacle versus worry about everything else that’s going on. So the good habits do pay off even when you have to break the good habit to go work on something else.
Cara Taylor Swift 29:59
That’s it for This episode, we hope you guys enjoyed it. So the big three Recap, you know, make those small changes over time to build the habit like we’ve talked about set yourself up for success by designing your environment to support your habit. And three, think about motivation and willpower, but remind yourself that it’s not your fault oftentimes, and that you know, it’s okay if you need to think about those obstacles that are in your way. And I like to think about this as when it comes to your animal based business, the good habits that you create are going to ensure your staying power, they’re going to be what keeps you in this business long term, there are going to be the things that pull you through and that free up your brain so that you can do your very best work and keep you on track. So just keep that in mind. We hope you guys are all out there today doing something even if it’s something super small in your business to create that good habit and get to your end game. So that’s it if you guys hop over to Instagram and Facebook, you’ll find us at The Business Animal. We would love to hear from you let us know what you think about this episode.
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