One pitfall most entrepreneurs will fall into (especially those just starting out) is pushing their bodies to the limit to make their businesses succeed. There typically is just not enough time in the day to get everything done. So you burn the candle at both ends, bite off more than you can chew to make the business run, and work your butt off to make the customers happy.
This is all great until your blood pressure rises, you gain 50 pounds from the horrible food that your body is devouring, and you end up on cholesterol medication. Then you start to feel groggy every morning, your motivation levels diminish each day, and you find yourself missing work or going to the doctor for one ailment after another.
If this sounds anything like you, read on. Because once your body starts to fail, your business follows soon after. This article will give you examples and guide posts to steer you back in the right direction. And even if you’re still in pretty good health, the following will help you from drifting astray.
Accountability – How it makes your business and your body stronger
You typically are at your best when you are accountable to someone else. This theory is instilled in us at a young age. All of our lives, we are taught to be accountable to our parents, our teachers, our coaches, our professors in college, and our bosses in the corporate world.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you have no one to be accountable to, and that is something new to us. But in our business lives, we can still be held at least indirectly accountable by our employees, customers, and colleagues, because they are outside people who rely/depend on you and your knowledge. That pressure motivates you to stay on top of things and helps keep you in line. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we’ve known since growing up.
On the other hand, accountability in relation to health and wellness is extremely difficult. Why? Because when it comes to your body, you are only accountable to yourself. It’s easy to push your health aside when you have no one else to answer to. You have no outside pressure motivating you throughout the day, no one to monitor what you eat and when you are eating. So why do we embrace accountability on the business side of our lives but not the health side?
We do so because we take our health for granted, and therefore view business as a higher priority. But the reality is, without our health, we would have no wealth. Your business and your body need to work in tandem or you risk losing them both.
It’s not an unforgivable thing to take your health for granted—in fact, it’s easy when you’re health is good. But it is a bad thing to assume that you are always going to be that way. We all know the phrase “everything in moderation,” but when that moderate activity slides toward constant and always, that’s when your health starts to decline. A cookie here and there, a beer or glass of wine here and there is normal and acceptable; but everyday drinking to relieve stress, or emotional snacking late at night add up pretty quickly.
It sneaks up on you.
You don’t gain a 30-pound belly overnight, and you sure can’t get rid of it overnight either. So here are some go-to tips to help hold yourself accountable and take charge of your health and your body the same way you would your business.
Get a workout partner or a personal trainer
The key here is accountability, reliability, and motivation. You can easily find fitness groups in your area by using Meetup.com, or even apps on your phone like WellSquad. If accountability is your struggle, a partner is your solution.
Go through your schedule
Plan out a time in your day for workout, actually pencil them in. Don’t say that you’ll go workout “sometime afternoon, or maybe tomorrow” actually pick out a time and stick to it. The Fantastical Calendar app is my favorite for scheduling because of its super-clean design and it’s super easy to understand and use.
If you can wake up early, get your day started with a workout
This eliminates anything at work getting in the way of your routine. It doesn’t have to be a super intense workout, but as long as you get your blood flowing and getting your pulse up.
I use an app called Pillow: Sleep Cycle to wake me up in my light sleep cycle so I’m not groggy in the morning.
Make your workouts convenient
Either work out at home or find a gym that is close to you. Convenience breeds consistency after all.
You don’t want to turn exercising into a chore, something that you dread doing, because that ruins the whole point of living a healthier lifestyle! Whether it’s investing in a decent set of gym equipment, or typing into Google “find a gym near me.” Just like a business, you want to eliminate as many pain points as possible for yourself.
Make it so that you look forward to having a healthier lifestyle and more energy! Or at the very least make it so that you don’t mind taking a few hours out of your week to do a quick workout.
Plan your meals ahead of time
Make extra food at dinner so you can have a healthy lunch the next day. I’m only half-joking when I use the phrase “live out of tupperware.” But when you have food prepared for work the next day, it saves you from going out to eat all the time at work and you can eat a healthy meal to maintain your goals.
These small steps can help prioritize your day to reserve time for yourself. I know it’s hard to do, but once you change that mindset to put your health ahead of your business, you will start to see huge improvements in your business, because you can accomplish so much more!
Food – Brain food increases productivity and mental awareness
Usually we don’t learn what we need to know about health and nutrition from school. Most schools these days face tight budgets and skimp on physical education and health classes to focus on math and science. This leaves a huge void in our knowledge base of what to eat, when to eat, and how to exercise. A lot of times, marketing fills that void, poorly. Here is an infographic of four main food myths that TV commercials perpetuate so they can sell more products. Take a look:
Food is also not just about fat and muscle. Your brain is your primary organ in managing productivity and efficiency. The food you eat is so important for brain activity and productivity that you NEED to start paying attention to it.
Breakfast is so important to how you prime your body for the day. Vitamin B6 helps stimulate neurons that increase brain activity in the morning and jumpstart your metabolism. This is why so many successful entrepreneurs like Pat Flynn, Tim Ferriss, and Tony Robbins take this so seriously and incorporate a healthy breakfast to their morning routine. My favorite breakfast recipe is:
PREP TIME: 4 minutes
2 Tbsp dried fruit
2 Tbsp flaxseed meal
2 Tbsp unsalted raw almonds, walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 c low-fat plain greek yogurt (no sugar added)
Ground cinnamon and/or sugar substitute to taste
STIR the dried fruit, flaxseed meal and nuts into the yogurt. Top with a sprinkle of cinnamon or sugar to taste.
Other suggestions for a top-notch breakfast:
- Oatmeal, walnuts, and eggs are great sources of B-vitamins, so make sure you incorporate them into your breakfast. BrainHQ has a wide variety of recipes for healthy brain and memory functions. You just have to click on the type of food you want and then it lists all the recipes with that food in it.
- For all you coffee/caffeine lovers out there, caffeine is great to have in the morning. It will help boost your metabolism, your memory retention, and your visual focus. One trick to coffee though is not to drink it until you have been awake for more than 90 minutes. Your body has a surge of Cortisol in the morning, and this hormone inhibits the effects of caffeine. So to get the full impact of your morning cup of joe, wait 90 minutes and then enjoy your brew.
- Berries are phenomenal for brain activity and have antioxidants to help stave away cancer. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are great to incorporate throughout your weekly routine. You can eat them with some Greek yogurt, by themselves, or in a salad. Make sure when you are at the store to look for organic fruit since they will have the least amount of pesticides.
- Salmon especially, but fish in general, has omega-3’s, EPA, and DHA, which all improve focus and memory and lower risk of dementia. Again BrainHQ has a plethora of delicious recipes to choose from for meal options.
With a nutrition plan consisting of these foods, your brain will start to perform at its optimum level.
No, you won’t turn into Stephen Hawking, but you will start to have a clearer mind day in and day out and be able to execute your job a lot more proficiently. When your organs are hydrated and have the proper nutrients from food, you feel like you are unstoppable and can conquer anything.
Wouldn’t you want to feel like that every single day?
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. – John F. Kennedy
Confidence – Self Image and Decision Making
Confidence has such a high resonance when discussing business and your body’s health. When we have an important business meeting or proposal, the tone of the meeting is set by whoever exudes confidence in themselves and what they are contributing. When you are prepared, feeling strong and focused, you can dominate a presentation or meeting and walk away with your head held high. That is what feeling confident is all about.
It means being able to present on stage in front of hundreds if not thousands of sets of eyes on you, and walk with a pep in your step because you feel good on the inside and out. Another example is the difference between a coach that costs $100/month and one that costs $500/month. They both might have the same knowledge, but the one that has more confidence can demand a higher price because they know they are worth it and can back it up.
What we look like in the mirror every morning is our biggest enemy or ally when it comes to confidence. How you look and feel in the mirror is a huge determining factor of how your day is going to go. You want to be able to wake up, see yourself, and be 100% truly happy with what you are shown. When you can do that every morning, you will have a positive attitude all day long…no matter how rough your day may be.
Having a healthy lifestyle and enjoying the benefits of exercise can help you exude confidence without you even knowing it. I love waking up in the morning and checking myself out in the mirror, and I’m not afraid to say so!
Why? Because I worked my butt off six days a week to get my body to where it needs to be, so now I can enjoy it and maintain it by working out three days a week. That feels great. I have this self image because I take the time every single week to plan my meals, plan my workouts, and manage my business and family time.
This self image allows me to love to try on clothes, because when they fit right, you feel fantastic for the entire day. I love this confidence that being healthy gives me, so much that I never want to not be healthy. I couldn’t imagine not waking up and feeling like this every day. Here are some tips I use to help build confidence and the proper mindset, and get you on the right track when it comes to your self image:
Take a moment to breathe
When you wake up, before you step out of bed, take a slow breath, inhale for 5 seconds, hold it for up to 20 seconds, and then release it slowly for 5 seconds. do this 3 times. This helps wake up the body and relaxes you.
Here’s a great Youtube video for breathing and how to maximize your oxygen.
Buy clothes that accentuate your body
If you are not comfortable with your body and your clothes try to hide your figure, then now is the time to do something about it. It’s never too late to get started!
Learn to love your own body, to be completely comfortable in your own skin. After all, as the face of your business, you want show off the fact you’re a lean, mean, fighting machine.
Live life in the majority
Out of the 7 days in a week, workout at least 4-5 days. Eat healthy for at least 5-6 days.
A common reason why most people fail at living a healthy lifestyle is because they dive straight in and try doing everything at once. Then it feels like there’s too much and you convince yourself that this isn’t for you. You are not going to be perfect 100% of the time, but if you are eating healthy the majority of the time and working out the majority of the week, then you will definitely see results.
Workout for 45-65 min
Keep your intensity high with little rest. This optimizes your weight loss/fat burning and gets you results the quickest. Stick to total body routines. Your legs burn the most calories, so you are going to want to incorporate them into your routines as much as you can.
Get some decent rest
A big reason why people don’t classify themselves as “morning people” is because they stay up all hours in the middle of the night, get bad sleep, and wonder why they feel so bad in the morning.
Your body sleeps in 1.5 hour intervals. Make sure when you go to bed that you strive for 7.5 hours or 9 hours of sleep. This will keep you from waking up groggy and help you jump out of bed feeling alert.
People who smile are automatically perceived as confident and strong. Because to a complete stranger, it demonstrates that you are happy from within.
Check out what Ron Gutman has to say about the hidden power of smiling in his TED talk here:
In life, things get in the way of our priorities. We get married, we have kids and a dog, we work our tails off to provide the life that we never had to our kids. But as soon as we let other priorities take precedence over ourselves and our bodies, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
I love my wife and kids to death. I would do anything for them, but I can’t do anything for them if I’m not around or healthy enough to do so. My business is a part of me, but it is not all of me. I don’t let it consume my life, because I know that there are far more important things out there.
Having that mindset doesn’t come easy, but when you read about successful people and how they live their day-to-day lives, a majority of them have health and exercise as some of their main priorities. So if you are looking to take your business to the next level, why not start by taking your body there as well?