We’re still fresh into the new year, which most likely means those ambitious goals you set at the beginning of the year are still fresh on your mind. Besides the goal of making more money, the next popular goal among entrepreneurs is centered around getting health. And rightfully so. Your health needs to be treated as a premium investment as opposed to being written off as just another expense.
While the motivation for better health among entrepreneurs isn’t lacking, it’s the unique challenges of an entrepreneur's life makes reaching their health goals a little difficult. It could be unintentionally placing their health on the back burner for more sales, time management issues or a lack of organization, among many other things that serve as the adversary to their desired results.
With that said, one big area where entrepreneurs struggle mightily is with their nutrition. Through working with entrepreneurs and conversing with numerous others, these three surprising reasons are why entrepreneurs consistently fail with their healthy eating efforts.
1. Failure to understand themselves
Many people looking to get healthy immediately debate between ketogenic, intermittent fasting or some other type of diet. But, the successful entrepreneurs who master their health long term begin with understanding their own psychology.
What’s the goal? Why do I want this particular goal? How do my current day-to-day operations look? Am I highly stressed or not-so-much -- this plays a big part in deciding the nutrition plan? Am I disciplined and in favor of structure? Do I like to frequently eat or not?
This can go on forever, but you get the point. It’s important to diagnose yourself, identify past tendencies, and anticipate future behaviors. Doing this work up front helps you get to the root cause and better fail-proof a plan for your entrepreneurial lifestyle. The initial work creates unwavering confidence in yourself because you have formed certainty through creating a precisely tailored plan.
As Malcolm X says: “the future belongs to those who prepare for it today." Perform a health and fitness audit on yourself by asking some of the questions above so you’ll have more clarity and awareness of what will and won’t work.
2. Failure to prioritize sleep
Before obsessing over diets or specific workouts to implement, prioritizing your sleep needs to be a non-negotiable activity. Sleep affects your emotional intelligence, mental abilities, leadership capabilities, performance, charisma, company revenue, relationships and everyday decision making.
Sleep deprivation is linked to higher body fat levels, along with affecting key hunger hormones such as Leptin (a hormone influencing satiety) and Gherlin (a hormone influencing appetite). When sleep deprived, Leptin decreases while Gherlin increases -- which means your hunger signals are telling you to eat while the signals to indicate you’re full are decreasing.
This leads to stress eating and afternoon binges around the office because your body isn't in a peak state due to less sleep. As we all know, quick spikes of energy from the office snacks leads to sharp declining spikes as well.
If you’re looking to master your nutrition this year, start by making sleep a priority. Set morning sleep habits and unplug from electronics at night. To help with sleep, commit to unplugging 60 minutes before bed, and write your to-do list for tomorrow to avoid any unnecessary mental chatter as you’re trying to sleep.
3. Failure to create a personal standard of performance
Bill Walsh lead the San Francisco 49ers to multiple Super Bowls during his time because he installed a standard of performance. In his book, The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership, he describes it as “a way of doing things, a leadership philosophy, that has as much to do with core values, principles and ideals as with blocking, tackling and passing; more to do with the mental than with the physical.”
From the coaches to the players, everyone had a standard that they had to hold themselves to. So, what does this have to do with your nutrition? Everything.
Adopting a standard with your eating habits eliminates the guesswork while creating systems and structure. One key area to focus on is the delivery of your food throughout the workweek.
You’re most likely busy which means you have less time to cook meals or sit in traffic and food lines to get food. With that said, a powerful strategy is to outsource your nutrition just as a business outsources tasks so they can better allocate their mental bandwidth to other tasks. Using a meal delivery service is a powerful tool because you know exactly what you’re putting into your body. More importantly, you’re saving time which can then be allocated toward growth revenue strategies and key relationships in your life.
When it comes to succeeding with healthy eating as an entrepreneur, it starts with adopting the philosophy of running your body like a business which means systems, routines, important KPI’s and accountability are essential to succeeding in the long run.
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This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com. Minor edits have been done by the Entrepreneur.com.ph editors