Editor's note: "The First 90 Days" is a series about how to make 2016 a year of breakout growth for your business. Let us know how you're making the First 90 Days count by joining the conversation on social media with the hashtag #Inc90Days.?
You are your business. You know that. But do you act like you know it? Do you do everything you can to maximize your most valuable asset -- you?
Probably not. No matter how hard you try, the pressures of work and family and life in general make it tough to focus on being as healthy -- and therefore as focused and on-point -- as you possibly can.
But that doesn't mean you can't change a few simple things that will make a huge difference -- and set you up to enjoy an even more productive year. After all, success is never overnight but is the result of a series of small, incremental, repeated steps.
That means you can start small, incorporating a few healthy habits that will not only pay dividends now but will also inspire you to take further small steps.
Every day, start doing these simple things.
1. Drink one glass of water 20 minutes before you eat.
We all need to drink more water. But instead of trying to start drinking 10 glasses of water a day, just drink a glass before you eat lunch and dinner. That's an easy way to up your intake.
Plus, there's a side benefit if you're trying to control your weight: If you drink before you eat, when you sit down at the table you'll already feel a little more full and won't be as tempted to eat past the point of hunger.
Need convincing that drinking more water is a good thing? Even mild cases of dehydration make you feel more gloomy and pessimistic, possibly because certain neurons may detect dehydration and alert areas of the brain that impact your mood. So don't just drink more water for yourself -- do it for the people around you, too.
2. Eat lunch differently.
Should you eat differently at every meal? Probably so -- but going all in is almost impossible to maintain. So just pick one meal to change.
The easiest is lunch. You're at work so you should probably keep it simple anyway, and you're away from your family so what you choose to eat has no impact on meals you eat together.
What's a healthy meal? One portion of protein (consider a portion an amount that fits in the palm of your hand) and a vegetable and piece of fruit. That could be a chicken breast, some carrots, and an apple. Or a can of tuna, a couple of cucumbers, and a banana. Or a piece of fish and a small salad.
(What if you're a vegetarian? You already know how to eat healthy -- so just make sure you haven't added a bunch of useless carbs to your meal.)
Think of it this way: A healthy lunch gives you plenty of energy for the afternoon. See it not as a "meal" but as "high performance fuel" that makes you more productive.
And it's one small step toward better controlling your portions at every meal.
3. Take a short walk.
One benefit of eating a healthy lunch is that you'll have a little time left over. (Or, if you want to free up more free time, eat what you brought for lunch while you're working.)
Then get up, get out, and take a walk. Cruise around the building. Get out and get some fresh air. Or do what LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner does and try walking meetings: Not only will new scenery change your perspective, but you'll have many fewer distractions as well.
A 15- or 20-minute walk will let you burn a few calories, burn off some stress, and feel better when you climb back into the work saddle. And you'll start to make fitness a part of your daily lifestyle without adding to your already busy schedule.
4. Help someone out.
Of course you don't have to formally volunteer. An easier way is to be alert for times when someone you work with needs a little help. Then pitch in; not only will you feel better about yourself, you'll build better connections and professional relationships, while helping someone who really needs help but probably would never have asked.
5. Go to bed earlier and get more sleep.
Generally speaking, you need seven or eight hours of sleep a night. (I know--you're not getting that much. But you should.)
So go to bed earlier and get up around sunrise. The more daylight hours you're awake, the higher your levels of vitamin D. Research shows vitamin D deficiencies are widespread -- which is unfortunate, since vitamin D impacts genes that help you resist autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases, and even cancer.
So start going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, and start making hay while the sun shines. As a bonus, you'll get a head start on your competition -- and that's an advantage you can always use.