Well, we’ve nearly made it to the end of another January.

As of today, I’m 24 days into my first Whole30. I’m 4 weeks into a new training program. I’m 14 posts into committing to writing and sharing more often on Instagram and LinkedIn. I’m 4 weeks into bullet journaling.

As you might guess, I love January. I love the potential, the possibility, and the opportunity of the new year. I love setting new intentions and goals.

Of course, not everyone feels this way. “February is the new January” memes are popping up everywhere. There’s a January backlash that’s been gaining steam over the last few years.

If you don’t mind, I’d like to share my take on why this is… but I need to do it, as per usual, with a fitness metaphor.

When I was a young athlete, I loved the fast burn. I was always itching to steal second base, to sprint across the finish line, or to take a fast break for a lay-up.

When I started training as an adult, I approached things the same way. Even if it hurt or ruined me for the rest of the day, I’d hit the high intensity intervals hard. Endurance was like a dirty word.

I figured if I kept training at that high intensity, I would eventually be able to endure.

But I was wrong.

Luckily, I learned a lot more about pacing and the benefits of low-intensity exercise. Instead of asking myself how fast I could run for 15 seconds, I started asking myself if I could hold this pace for a mile, 3 miles, or even 10 miles. Instead of always working myself into a sweaty mess, I learned to take plenty of rest and enjoy a workout that was hard work–but felt easy.

I started to embrace the slow burn.

The results spoke for themselves. Yes, I could run for miles upon miles without stopping. I could move heavy weights. I could climb for hours. And the crazy thing is: when I did decide to up the intensity, I could go faster and harder.

I toed the line at which working hard turned into overworking. I trained myself to stay on just this side of comfortable so that when I did really want to push myself, I was ready.

The way we’ve been trained to approach January–whether in life, fitness, or business–is the fast burn. Set all the resolutions. Change all the things.

It’s exhausting. And no wonder people are ready to move away from that all or nothing approach to the new year!

But that’s not how I’ve approached the last few Januarys.

January is, instead, an opportunity to set the pace that I can keep for the next 52 weeks. It’s a chance to ignite my slow burn and reclaim my routine.

The way I do that is by identifying the habits I want to nurture throughout the month.

My habits are the things that either stoke my fire or slow my flow. They’re either propelling me forward with grace or making a mess of my best intentions.

Whether it’s in life or business, the health of my habits is the biggest contributing factor to the success of my goals.

That’s why I choose to use January as a time to reexamine my habits, choose 1 or 2 things that I want to actively cultivate as habits, and eliminate something that’s not serving me. It’s not a frenetic race to some external goal. It’s a refinement of what’s working and an elimination of what’s not.

I want to celebrate the most effective habits of small business owners in our network. So, we’ve asked 4 members to share what’s working for them as they reexamine and refine their own routines.

You’ll hear about ways that they’re creating a habit of marketing, networking, planning, and time management. Plus, they’ll share the very real differences it’s making to the way they do business–and the results they’re achieving.

I’d love to know what habits or routines are fueling your success in life or business right now. Or, maybe you’ve taken this month to start a new habit you believe will build your capacity to hit your goals in 2019. I’d love to hear about! Hit me up on Instagram. Tag me in a post where you share your habit or just shoot me a DM. I’m @tara_mcmullin and you can use the hashtag #explorewhatworks.

Prefer to read? No problem. Find the entire episode in article form by clicking here.

This episode features Kate Farrall, Chelsea Stevenson, Christianne Squires, and Chrissie Bettencourt.