At the beginning of every year, entrepreneurs set lofty resolutions, both professionally and personally. These goals serve to promote and encourage better habits and lay the groundwork to achieve greatness throughout the year.
By February, most resolutions will have become a distant memory.
I am no exception to this, which is why I review my goals regularly. At mid-year, I check in with the big resolutions I set earlier in the year, monitor progress and adjust accordingly. And while most business professionals will have their own widely varying goals and ambitions, I believe every entrepreneur can relate to and benefit from these five.
1. Covet thy sleep -- and sex.
When I was in college, struggling with stress and sleep problems, the best piece of advice I received was to remove homework, books and television from the bedroom and maintain my bed for sleep (and sex) only. The rationale was that by conditioning your body to sleep when it is in bed, and nothing more (except sex), then your body will naturally tend to slumber once you put yourself down.
It truly works. I also recommend spending the money on a comfortable bed. Considering you spend one-third of your life in it, your bed is one of the best investments you can make.
2. Covet thy morning routine -- at the same time every morning.
In addition to solid sleep habits, it is important to develop and keep a morning routine that helps get your day started properly. One part of my routine I have adopted this year, which has done wonders for my energy throughout the day, is to wake up at the same time every morning. In the past, I awoke at a different time, especially on weekends. Like sleep, however, you can condition your mind and body to be awake and attentive at the same time every day.
If getting up the same time every day is difficult for you, try giving yourself a 21-day challenge. You will be surprised at how great you feel after your body is conditioned to your new schedule.
3. Covet thy coffee -- at the right time.
Coffee has long been associated as a drink we consume early in the morning or late in the afternoon to give us energy throughout the day. Recent research, however, has demonstrated that the best times to drink coffee is between 9 a.m. and noon and between 2 and 5 p.m., when our levels of cortisol, the natural energy hormone, are at their lowest. Also, as tempting as it may be, resist coffee late in the afternoon to avoid disrupting your sleep cycle. This same rationale holds true for all energy drinks you may consume.
Not a coffee drinker? Perhaps it is because you have not experienced the delight of a truly great cup of java. To create better coffee, try buying whole beans and investing in a grinder for your home. Once you have had good cup of joe, you will not turn back.
4. Covet thy eating -- in solid form.
News recently about the incredible growth of meal replacement companies in Silicon Valley stated that, in some cases, tech employees were consuming almost all of their calories in soy protein shakes throughout the day in order to stay focused on their coding work. I am not personally aware of the health implications of this, but as someone who consumes protein shakes regularly, I cannot imagine living on them.
The takeaway is that regardless of how you consume your calories, make certain you are putting the right foods in your body. It is easy to fall into bad habits, especially when time strapped and stressed, so stick to an eating strategy with goals and action items. You will be happy with the investment of time to do so.
5. Covet thy focus -- and avoid YouTube.
YouTube is the king of distractions. Who has not opened a browser, meandered to YouTube, and found themselves a drooling mess two hours later none the wiser.
Heck, I spent 30 minutes finding the two-minute coffee video in this article.
I use YouTube as an example of a distraction. The truth is that our lives have become consumed with distractions, from email to push notifications to those annoying numbers displaying on our smartphone apps (in-app notifications). All of these diversions of our attention have led to a crisis of half work, or never being focused on one specific task. While you may pride yourself on your ability to multitask, evidence continues to mount about how unproductive multitasking can be.
To stay focused on big and important tasks, turn off the notifications, set designated times to check email, and by all means stay away from the “mental black hole” that is the YouTube video search.
No doubt, habits take time and commitment to develop. They also require regular reviewing and reiterating, at the very least every six months. As I sit on my couch at 4 in the morning to write this, I clearly have drifted from a few of these important habits, which is why I felt compelled to check in, adjust and move forward with new ambition. Hopefully you can find the inspiration to do so as well.
Now, is it time for that first cup of coffee?
What other mid-year reminders do you give yourself? Please share in the comments section below.