So there I was, exhausted at the end of a long work day, frustrated by a particularly stressful drive home and contemplating pouring a stiff bourbon and withering away on the couch for a couple hours.
Then something happened.
My habits took over.
You see, I had “programmed” the habit of exercising every day at 6 p.m. into my brain.
And once the clock struck six, it was as if a magical pumpkin whisked me into my closet to grab my workout gear and head downstairs to burn off some steam.
Turns out entrepreneurship and taking care of your health are quite synonymous.
A big part of that is because both require habitual actions. And according to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, these habits comprise 40 percent or more of the daily decisions we make.
Here are seven things entrepreneurs can do to stay on top of their business AND their health.
1. Learn something new every day. Healthy entrepreneurs are lifelong dreamers. They work hard, play hard and think harder. They love to read, listen to audio books and absorb as much knowledge as they possibly can. Not only do they educate themselves about topics relevant to growing their business, they also seek knowledge about what it takes to be healthy. They know healthy behaviors have a direct impact on their business.
2. Set goals and create systems to achieve your goals. Healthy entrepreneurs These folks also understand that knowledge without application is the quickest path to failure. They go beyond learning -- they apply. Because they realize the day-to-day journey and seemingly tiny steps are the only ways to achieve their end goal.
3. Spend your “downtime” wisely. The average person spends around 3 hours a day watching TV. Don't be that person. To stay healthy, focus on staying busy building your business, taking care of yourself and your family and trying to change the world. One recommendation is to meditate or take time to write down your goals.
4. Make exercise a priority. A healthy body will help cultivate a healthy mind. Yet the CDC says 80 percent of adults don’t get the recommended amount of exercise. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans say that adults should get 2.5 hours a week or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and two strength training sessions per week. Even if you’re crazy busy, find 10 minutes here and there. It will help with alleviate stress and get those endorphins pumped up to take on startup challenges.
5. Eat less junk food. Think of food as fuel: The higher quality fuel you put in your tank, the better you’ll perform. You don’t need to diet or cut foods out to eat healthy either. Just eat more real food -- stuff that comes from nature -- instead of processed junk and fast food. By doing so, you could help improve your energy endurance (no sugar crashes) and mood, among other benefits.
6. Sleep more. All entrepreneurs experience the grind of late nights, early morning meetings and last-minute deadlines. But healthy entrepreneurs know that sleep is vital to their success. Whether you rise early and tackle your important projects first thing in the morning or you’re a night owl, find a consistent sleep routine and stick to it. And never underestimate the power of a good power nap to recharge your brain.
7. Create balance in your life. Healthy entrepreneurs treat health as a lifestyle. You can't put a Band-Aid on a bad business plan, just like you can't eat healthy for a week and expect to lose weight. Successful entrepreneurs wholeheartedly embrace healthy living: They work smarter, not harder.
Entrepreneurship and health go hand-in-hand. Each will teach you valuable lessons about the other.
Aside from family, friends, and relationships, there are few things more important in your life than your health and your career. When you passionately pursue both of these things you can experience a longer, more fulfilling life.
Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of The Healthy Eating Guide. He shows how to lose weight without dieting and keep it off using science-backed techniques. Sign up for free blog updates to his website for weekly tips on getting healthy, fit, lean and happy.