Another year is upon us, and you may be wanting to kick off 2014 in a healthy way. But resolutions are like diets: they often fail. Usually because they don’t address your ingrained habits.
In his book, The Knack, my friend and mentor, Norm Brodsky writes about the importance of developing strong mental habits to help drive your entrepreneurial success. Without good habits in place, you are bound to repeat mistakes, waste time and money and squander opportunities that may lead you to your next big achievement.
Developing strong habits will also lead you down the road to success when it comes to your health. This year, instead of resolving to lose weight, or manage your stress better, decide instead to change a core habit that has led to your weight gain or your stressful life. Once you have made a choice about which habit you are going to change, work on it daily until you have mastered it.
Here are seven habits to consider in the New Year that will help move you closer to your health goals:
1. Eat breakfast. Busy entrepreneurs often skip this important meal which can have detrimental effects on focus, concentration, and decision making abilities. Plus, skipping breakfast can lead to increased cravings for sugary, refined foods as well as overeating at night. By committing to a protein-rich breakfast, like eggs, you will go a long way towards balancing your appetite and cravings, making it easier to make better food choices the rest of the day.
2. Eat for health. Cut out processed and refined food and embrace a whole foods diet, paying particular attention to increasing your vegetable consumption. If regimented eating programs feel overwhelming for you, simply clean it up. Not only will you lose weight, but you will improve your health and longevity, too.
3. Exercise regularly. Ideally, you want to strive for 30 minutes of concentrated exercise four times a week. But for entrepreneurs with hectic lifestyles, that may feel like another chore. If that's the case, shoot for just 10 minutes a day. Jump on the treadmill or take a 10 minute walk on your lunch break--just get moving!
4. Go to bed earlier. Studies have proven that lack of sleep can lead to obesity, disease, and elevated stress levels. Getting adequate sleep is one of the most beneficial things you can do for yourself. If it is your habit to stay up late, commit to going to bed at a more reasonable hour. If you bring electronics to bed, make your bedroom a tech-free zone. Read before bed and you will likely fall asleep faster.
5. Go on a TV strike. Television--particularly those 24-hour news channels--is a big contributor to nervousness, anxiety, and depression. If your stress levels are high, shut off the TV and go for a walk, call a friend or check out a movie instead. Filtering out the mindless chatter of the TV will also help with sleep.
6. Fire up the grill. Busy people tend to eat out a lot, opting for convenience rather than high quality foods. But every time you eat a meal in a restaurant you can walk away having consumed as much as an entire stick of butter! Rather than loading up on these calories, commit to cooking more at home. Get a cookbook and experiment. Make nutritious soups and freeze them for quick meals. Get a stove-top grill for healthy salmon or chicken dinners. Keep plenty of vegetables, washed and cut up, in the fridge. Add them to salads or toss with a little bit of olive oil then roast for 15 minutes in the oven for a healthy side dish. Not only will your body benefit from home cooking, so will your wallet.
7. Create smoke-free zones. If you are a smoker and have found it hard to kick the habit, think about the place you tend to smoke the most and then make that a smoke-free zone. By eliminating the one place you do the most puffing, you will dramatically reduce the amount of cigarettes you smoke in a day. Also consider trying e-cigarettes.
Adopt some of these habits, and you'll be well on your way to a happier, healthier new year!