Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart and it makes living a healthy lifestyle challenging. It is also arguably not for the traditionalist or for a person who lacks passion. Entrepreneurs are that small portion of the population whose drive and ambition to give to those around them push them into this unique space where they are truly on their own in the business world.
While it is an amazing opportunity, it does come with a fair amount of pressure to be successful. Since all of us entrepreneurs are those driven individuals, we often respond to this pressure by diving into the proverbial deep end head first, focusing all of our time and attention on our business.
This tunnel vision usually comes at the cost of prioritizing our health and well-being because we are hyper-focused on what our business needs. As a result, our workouts, our nutrition, and any semblance of a healthy lifestyle fall to the back burner until we get so burned out we cannot keep going or we have a major health crisis.
The Demands of Being a Business Owner
Ultimately, as entrepreneurs, we are solely responsible for the success or failure of our business. Especially in the beginning days of owning a business, before you have a team to delegate to, if you do not do the work, the work will not get done.
It creates a rigorous and demanding work schedule, with non-traditional work hours and days. You end up spending more time focused on what your business needs than anything else.
We hyper-focus because we know the payoff will be what we want, financial and time freedom, but the periods of sacrifice can create a tremendous amount of stress. It can also create a lack of balance in our lives and crush a healthy lifestyle, with all of our focus and attention being diverted to our business. This can affect both your mental and physical health.
The Adverse Impact on Your Health
The lack of balance for anyone can be unhealthy. Not just in the physical sense, but emotionally and mentally as well. The ripple effect into every area of your life from that lack of balance knows no bounds, and can often be a challenge to re-establish.
Not to mention that increased level of stress gets us into a vicious and wholly unhelpful cycle as business owners: as the stress levels lower your cortisol levels, your body’s immune system begins to shut off, leaving you unable to fight off illness.
Having health setbacks can mean taking time off of work, which can lead to potentially negative impacts on your business as well as its’ success.
Regardless of where your business stands, creating a balanced and healthy lifestyle as an entrepreneur has to be a priority. After all, the healthier you are, the more you can give not just to your business but to all the aspects of your life that deserve your attention. Finding and maintaining that balance is fluid, and deserving of your intention as well as your attention to feel completely fulfilled by the life you are creating.
How to Set Realistic Health Goals
The easiest way to establish a healthy lifestyle as an entrepreneur or creator is by breaking it down one piece at a time. A lot of times, we tend to get caught up in the end goal which seems so far off that the prospect of achieving that goal becomes daunting. Feeling overwhelmed by how extreme these changes seem can lead to people quitting or not starting at all.
Just like your business has a plan, your lifestyle needs a plan as well. Small incremental steps that you can celebrate once they are achieved, that do not feel overwhelming or stressful, but will accumulate into massive changes.
Go to a quiet space and close your eyes. Envision what life looks like in your perfect healthy life. Now grab your journal. Not your computer, tablet, or phone. There’s power in physically writing something as opposed to typing it, so let’s get writing. Write down that image you just envisioned. The “in a perfect world” healthy lifestyle and what it would look like for you. Do not hold back. There is no judgment in this space. You need to write down exactly what it looks like but do not write down time parameters (like I will lose 15 pounds in 5 months), or quantifiable goals. This is the one time you can see what that big end goal will look like without breaking it down into steps.
Identifying Your Healthy Lifestyle Inhibitors
People know what they need to do to live a healthy lifestyle. We know we need to eat well and exercise regularly. We also know that most of us need a spiritual component to this lifestyle as well, be it through prayer, journaling, or meditation. But we think we need to incorporate all of these things into our lives concurrently when all that does is take away the appeal of being healthy because it seems too stressful to BE healthy.
Now that you have envisioned what the healthiest version of yourself looks like, grab your journal again and write down your daily exercise habits, water intake, and general food intake. Do NOT change anything you are doing. Live your life as you have been living it. You do not need to get specific about your nutrition just yet, this is more to give you an idea of when you are eating and what you are eating during the day. In addition, also be sure to take note of that spiritual aspect of your life if it is important to you. Take note of how often you are journaling or how often you are meditating. Be sure to track all of these aspects of your life for a week. You do not need the exact time you did these things or the exact amount of food you ate, the idea is to see your current healthy lifestyle on paper so you can see habits you have created for yourself, be it good or bad.
Planning Your Healthy Goals
After a week of tracking where you are at, the changes you need to make should be glaringly obvious. Do NOT implement all the changes you need to make at once. That will send your system into total overload and you will quit before you get started.
Grab your journal tracker and write down your biggest obstacles. It does not matter how many or in what order they are in, but list out all those glaringly obvious issues. Of all of those issues, the first one you tackle is the one that seems the easiest to you.
For most people, this is water intake. Seems easy enough and yet most of us get so caught up in our day, that we forget to drink water or we grab the unhealthy drink option when we feel parched. Start by incorporating 8 more ounces of water once a day. Maintain that increase for a few days and then try for 16 more ounces of water a day. Keep going at this frequency until you hit your goal of how much water you want to drink during the day.
Every issue you have identified that needs to be addressed will be handled similarly to the above example. Make a small change, maintain that small change for a short time, and then make another change until you have eventually hit your end goal.
Track your progress for a month, then move on to your next goal while still maintaining your first goal. Repeat this pattern for all of your newly set goals, eventually working your way to your hardest goal knowing that you can easily achieve it because you have achieved and maintained all of your other goals.
The biggest tips with this methodology are to avoid taking on everything you need to change at once and to avoid making drastic changes. This needs to feel like a gradual shift to your system so you know the change will become permanent and not something you will give up on after a few weeks.
Effectively Tracking Your Progress
Tracking your progress with any healthy lifestyle is arguably the most neglected aspect of properly implementing change. We get so caught up in what our businesses need to stay afloat, as well as the other demands on our time, and making sure that our workouts are handled or our meals are prepped, that we keep moving forward without intentional thought beyond “I got my workout done today”.
Living a healthy lifestyle and finding balance with our life as well as our work has to be as purposeful and driven as the effort we put into our businesses. Neglecting to track what you are doing does not allow you to see the progress you have made, nor does it allow you to see the positive changes you have made to your life.
Start by tracking your scalable victories. Those victories are quantifiable. Either in your journal or in your calendar, write down how long your workout was, what your workout was on the day you completed it, including the weights you used or how fast you went on your HIIT section. Write down your water intake, your food intake, and how long you slept.
Then focus on your non-scalable victories. Those are the victories that are not quantifiable. Things like your mood, your energy level (especially during the times of day when you feel like you hit a slump), your patience or focus levels, and even your sex drive. All of these aspects of your life will be impacted by the changes you are making and oftentimes, these are the places where you will see change first. The motivation gained by focusing on non-scalable victories, especially when you first start making changes, can give you the incentive you need to continue making changes.
Finding balance and a healthy lifestyle while running your own business or as an entrepreneur is not impossible. Remember to be patient and flexible with yourself. We are often hardest on ourselves and forget to show ourselves grace, even when we know the reality behind trial and error. Do not be afraid to make changes if something you are doing is not working, do not be afraid to ask for help, and do not be afraid to dial back what you are doing if life throws some curveballs your way. Small steps forward are still steps forward, and it is important to avoid getting caught if the ideals of where you think you should be. Sustainable change is not something that is going to happen overnight, but the more diligent you are in prioritizing it, the higher likelihood it will happen.