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New financial year goal: put YOU first and your business second!

As luck would have it, my weekly blog due date falls on the first day of the new financial year! I sat and wondered what I should write about being such a momentous day for tax professionals and business owners alike. I thought I should write about tax tips or business goal setting etc. for the new financial year but then thought, “Nah, that’s been done to death!” Thinking a little harder, I decided to write about something a little left of centre. My topic for this blog is about business owners setting a different type of goal for the 2016 financial year:

“Find happiness: put YOU first and your business second”.

Woman hiker smiling standing outside in forest with backpack

One of my favourite movies is “The Pursuit of Happyness” (yes, it is spelt that way). It’s a true story about Chris Gardner who beats the odds and pulls himself (and his son) out of destitution to become a super successful Wall Street financier. While most of us don’t face the same extreme obstacles in life as Chris, I think that in our own way, we are all attempting to pursue some level of happiness. After all, if we’re not happy, what’s the point right?

This yearning for happiness is often the trigger for those starting a new business. Newbie business owners often believe that if they are self-employed they will have more time for themselves, be less stressed and well, be happier. Unfortunately, the reality of business ownership is often the exact opposite i.e. there is never enough time and usually stress in truck-loads, all of which can lead to general unhappiness. So why is this the case? Shouldn’t being your own boss make you happy? I believe it really should and I reckon the reason why it sometimes doesn’t, is that business owners often put their business first and themselves second.

This needs to stop! Business owners it’s time to look after number one!

In the pursuit of “business happiness,” many business owners put a lid on personal happiness, health and fun. This can lead to feelings of frustration, anger and resentment, none of which are conducive to happiness. The main reason given for dropping all of the fun stuff is lack of time. While there’s no denying that business ownership definitely sucks up the majority of your time, the fact of the matter is if you want to be happy and healthy, regardless of your business pressures, you have to make time for YOU. They call this “work-life balance” and it’s really important both for your mental and physical health. It’s also important for your business – if you aren’t happy, healthy and relaxed, your business will suffer in the long run.

So this financial year, what can you do that will make YOU happy? They say true happiness comes from the heart so what will you do to make your heart sing? The first thing to do is make a plan! You make sure you plan your business activities on a weekly, monthly and annual basis – now it’s time to do the same for your personal activities. Start by making a list of all of the things you like to do or have been wanting to do. This could be exercising more, booking a holiday, taking up a hobby, getting a weekly massage etc. Now pop these activities into your yearly planner. Why? Because if you don’t make the time for them and commit to doing them, they will never happen. It’s too easy to let your business take over your life – by planning time for YOU, you can make sure your business stays in its box where it belongs!

The next part is easy – start doing these things you love or have always wanted to do. Stop making lack of time an excuse for not looking after YOU. Make the time and start doing it now! Your business will always be there along with its pressures and challenges, but you may not if you don’t look after yourself. The beginning of the new financial year is the perfect time to start. Make the 2016 financial year the year of YOU and being happier!

Next week, I’ll look more closely at some of the activities you can do for YOU and why they could be important for both your personal and business health.

PS: In celebration of dedicating this new financial year to your happiness, take a listen to Pharrell William’s “Happy” – it will certainly get you in the mood!

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