Clock face and calendar pageSometimes we have to face facts.

  • Fact One: fat people are usually fat because they eat too much.
  • Fact Two: fat people can lose weight by eating healthily and exercising more.
  • Fact Three: fat people have just the same degree of self control as thin people.

Being fat is nothing to do with self- control. Rather it is due to habitually eating too much of the wrong kind of foods. Changing those habits, changes weight. Here are some more facts.

  • Fact A: businesses that don’t earn as much as they want are usually doing the wrong activities.
  • Fact B: businesses can turn themselves around if they do more of the good things.
  • Fact C: doing badly in business has nothing to with poor luck. Rather it is due to habitually doing too many of the wrong things. Changing those habits, changes profits.

Do you see the similarity?

Some people might dispute these facts, of course. Some might say that being overweight is to do with willpower and the inability to self control. Business owners say similar things. They tell me that they cannot do as well as they would like online because they “have work to do” rather than all that “online stuff”. That’s the same as saying “I haven’t got time to diet”.

Recent research from the University of Southern California shows that when it comes to eating healthily, willpower and self-control have little if anything to do with success. Instead, what matters is routine. People who set a healthy eating routine do well, those who don’t have a dietary routine tend to lose in the healthy eating stakes. In other words, once you set habitual behaviours, they tend to stick. Indeed, that’s rather the definition of a habit.

So, in order to gain online success, it isn’t really a matter of trying to “fit in” the odd bit of blogging, the occasional social media outpouring or the infrequent comment on someone else’s content. That’s rather like trying to “fit in” the odd bit of healthy eating while the rest of the time you have haphazard eating arrangements. It can only lead to one thing – failure.

The most successful online businesses have routines. Indeed, many of their routines are automated – Amazon’s database, for instance, or Google’s search algorithm; these are updated routinely. Similarly, those businesses that blog every day, that produce their newsletter every Wednesday afternoon or update their Facebook page every Monday, are the kinds of firms that do well online.

Leaving your online activity until you “get a moment” or “when you feel the inspiration to blog” is the route to inevitable failure. Imagine if the BBC only produced the Ten O’clock News when “it felt like it” or “when they had some time to produce it”. The BBC succeeds because of routine.

Online success is equated with routine. You can set any routine that works for you and your marketplace – but a routine is what you need.

However, in order to be truly successful that routine needs to become a habit. And research suggests that habits only set in, once your routine has been used for around 21 repetitions, without fail. So, in order to achieve true online success for your business you need to establish a routine that works for you, which you repeat and repeat and repeat until it becomes a habit. As the study form the University of Southern California suggests, an established routine is the way to win.

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