What we will do in 2013

It seems that more than anything else, New Year’s is the day reserved in our culture for making promises of sweeping change in our lives that we never actually keep.

Tomorrow is the day that millions of Americans will join a gym, give up fast food, pledge to bike to work. It’s also the day that people re-re-re-re-commit to taking charge of their career, creating their dream lifestyle, or doing the things that they know they need to do in order to get their tax practice where they want it to be for the coming tax season.

A few days ago, one reader wrote to me and said that, for years, he’s been meaning to get things more organized and systemized within his practice, so that he can create a better lifestyle. He’s had years to do this, but lamented that he is always bogged down in the day-to-day business of running his business.

Just like our routine failure to follow through with our New Year’s Resolutions (hey, I’m just as guilty as everybody else!), getting stuck in working in our practices rather than on our practices is something that we all do.

When I consult with tax practitioners on this particular issue, however, there’s always one thing that comes up over and over to help you get to where you want in your practice, your fitness, your relationships, or anything else that you’re trying to improve. It’s neither magic nor rocket science. What’s the secret? Simply doing it.

Yep, there it is. The ultimate secret to success in anything.

Deciding to bike to work two days per week instead of driving is not difficult: You simply get up, dress appropriately, and get on the bike instead of into the car. It really is that easy.

Same thing with going to the gym. You simply pack your gym bag, and instead of going straight home after work, you hit the gym for 45 minutes. Incredibly, super simple.

We all know this, and we’ve all known it probably since we were children. To accomplish something, you simply go out and do it. Why then do so many of us not do the things that we say we’re going to do, or that we know we should do, in order to accomplish what we say we want to accomplish?

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I’m no psychologist, but I think the answer is pretty simple: It’s just simpler and more comfortable to keep doing what we’ve always done. I think that people in general develop a certain comfort level in regards to all things in their life, and it’s painful and awkward for us to break out of that cycle and do what’s uncomfortable, uncommon, or unconventional.

At the start of this new year, you have a choice to make: You can keep doing what you’ve always done, and get what you’ve always received. Or, you can make a decision to suffer through some discomfort in order to make your life better.

The worst thing that you can possibly do when deciding to make drastic life or business changes is to go it alone. Doing something that involves great personal change on your own is going to result in failure the vast majority of the time. Instead, enlist the help of others. Tell people what you’re doing and why, and ask for their support. If they don’t “get it” or try to tell why it won’t work (which is extremely common), then find yourself a group of like-minded people and start associating with them.

For example, the fact that you’re even reading this demonstrates that you and I are like-minded in regards to growing a tax practice through means that are unconventional or uncommon within the accounting world. Take advantage of that fact, and don’t suffer in isolation — email me whenever you want. In addition, connect with other like-minded business owners in your area (meetup.com is great for this). Hang out with entrepreneurs, NOT other accountants that just want to do things the same old way.

With tax season less than three weeks away, RIGHT NOW is the perfect time to make a decision about the future of your tax practice, and to take action on that decision. If you’re like the gentleman I referred to earlier in this article, NOW is the time to start spending time working on your practice, rather than just in your practice. We all have 24 hours in the day, what you choose to do with them is up to you. Turn off the television, quit wasting time on Facebook, carve out a 1-hour daily appointment with yourself in which you see no clients and take no phone calls, do whatever you have to do — and simply do it.

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Success is yours to achieve. Nobody is going to hand it to you, and nobody is going to do it for you. Make the decision, make the time no matter what, interact with like-minded entrepreneurs, and just make it happen.