Personal Health

Like Running a Business, Getting in Shape Takes Lots of Small Steps to Succeed

We often see fitness as a binary issue. Either you’re working out and eating healthy or you’re not. But this is like telling your employees either we’re a successful company or we’re not.

The problem with this mindset is that it leaves no room for progress.

Every entrepreneur knows setting smaller goals is necessary to achieve long-term results. Yet when it comes to fitness, those same people get caught up in the long-term goal of losing weight and ignore their biggest motivator: momentum.

Related: Live a Healthier Life by Making Consistency Work for You

Key performance indicators help us measure progress for everything from employee retention to customer-conversion rates. They ensure we’re not just treading water or repeating the same mistakes, but rather pushing us where we need to be -- whether it’s in five months or five years.

This same strategy is useful for motivating yourself to get in shape, and once you’ve started achieving your goals, doing more gets easier.

Set your fitness KPIs. Any change -- from taking a five-minute walk every day to getting down to a specific weight -- requires making long-term adjustments to your behavior. Just like building your business, you’re more likely to become healthy if you set goals and measure your progress.

Here are five KPIs everyone should use for personal fitness:

1. Consistency. This is the key to building momentum and making lifestyle changes. No matter what activities you do, make them consistent.

2. Diet. A healthy diet of fresh, real food is essential for fat loss and muscle gain. You can’t be healthy and disregard the sustenance you give your body, it just doesn’t work.

3. Weight training. Your fitness routine should include some weightlifting, even if you’re not aiming to be a professional body builder. It’s important for bone and muscle strength and maintaining a healthy weight.

4. Cardio. Aerobic workouts are important for overall health and disease prevention. Exercises such as swimming and biking strengthen your heart, lungs and muscles and lower your risk of developing osteoporosis and heart disease.

5. Rest. You won’t improve if rest isn’t a part of your routine. This includes getting enough sleep and resting your mind. If you’re mentally burned out, you won’t have energy to train.

Related: Plan for Chaos: How to Stick to Your Health Goals When Life Gets Crazy

Once you understand these basic health requirements, you can set more specific goals for each KPI. However, you’ll need a plan to accomplish them. Here are four strategies I use to meet my goals:

Have a mission statement. As entrepreneurs, we intrinsically understand why we need mission statements. It gives us an identity, a framework for growth and a way to focus our efforts. My mission to be a fitness model means using diet, cardio and weight training in specific ways.

Use an easily visible chart. Regularly update a chart of weekly fitness-related metrics to see your routine and progress. I keep track of my weight, cardio times, weight training days and sleep patterns.  

Keep a journal about your fitness experiences. Journaling is a great way to track your progress and plan your next steps. I keep a log of my thoughts and energy levels every day. This helps me tweak my diet and training for maximum effects on my energy levels.

Use rewards to energize your daily routine. Give yourself rewards for completing small goals. For example, if I get my weight and cardio workouts done first thing in the morning, I reward myself with a trail mix or chocolate protein bar. This helps me achieve my goals and gives me a positive way to start my workday.

As the company leader, your health affects everyone. When you’re out for a week or lack energy during the day, your employees and business suffer. So don’t be intimidated by big goals.

Continually growing and expanding your business is all about leveraging your small successes. Likewise, you’ve got to balance your good work with fitness to actually get healthy.

Getting started is the hardest part, so what are you waiting for?

Related: 5 Ways to Turn Your Workstation Into a Workout Station