On any given day, I spend an average of 12 hours working. It’s how I was able to take a part-time consulting venture to powerhouse marketing agency with 23 employees, 45 clients and more than $2 million in annual revenue.
Everyone always wants to know the secret to my success.
People expect the answer I give to be some magical trick or complex formula that only the brightest and most successful people in the world have discovered or were lucky enough to stumble upon by chance, but it’s actually pretty simple. Ready for it?
I take care of myself.
I treat my mind and my body with respect. That’s it. I keep my mind and body in the best shape I can. That’s the not-so-revolutionary method I use to be more successful every day of the week. Well, it’s not the only thing I do to be successful, but it is definitely one of the most impactful things out of everything I do.
Why? Because it makes a difference.
There is plenty of research available that suggest that regular exercise and a healthy diet can lead to higher levels of productivity, happiness, motivation, and, not surprisingly, your ability to live longer.
One recently published study found that, “eating unhealthily is linked with a 66% increased risk of loss of productivity, while rare exercise is linked with a 50% increased risk of low productivity.”
In another study published in 2008, researchers who studied a group of 200 employees at one company found that seventy-nine percent of employees felt mental and interpersonal performance was better on days they exercised.
Finally, a scholarly paper authored by at least one Harvard professor makes the startling claim that, “a middle-aged person who gets the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise — defined as the level of brisk walking — can expect a 1-to-7 return: seven extra minutes of life gained for each minute spent exercising.”
Studies like the the ones mentioned above make it pretty hard to question the benefits of daily exercise and healthy eating habits, but if you still aren’t motivated, keep reading.
What Other Successful People Do
As I mentioned earlier, I’m not the only successful entrepreneur who takes health and wellness seriously. There are plenty of other people—from the present and from the past—who also invest(ed) in keeping their bodies and minds healthy. Let me share a handful of examples with you:
- Barack Obama eats breakfast with his family, reads the newspaper, and exercises before hitting the Oval Office around 9 AM
- Oprah Winfrey meditates by sitting in stillness for 20 minutes, twice a day
- Arianna Huffington practices yoga each morning and calls it one of her “joy triggers” (the other is meditation)
- Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour starts each day at 5:45 a.m. with an hour-long tennis match
- Al Roker, Whole Foods founder John Mackey, and model Brooke Burke all start their days off by making and drinking healthy smoothies or shakes packed full of energy-boosting nutrients.
- Winston Churchill apparently started his days off with a big breakfast, which was usually made up of a poached egg, toast, jam, cold meats, and grapefruit
Notice any common themes? These are successful, wealthy, powerful, BUSY people we’re talking about here, but they still make time in their day—every day—to take care of their body and minds. Because they know how much of a role it plays in their ultimate success.
How You Can Get Started
Starting a new exercise routine or diet might seem daunting, but don’t let that stop you from getting started. You’re not the only one who hates the idea of going to the gym every day to get a workout in. It doesn’t come easy for a lot of people. But a lot of people do it anyway, because it makes them better in the end. Want a great example of someone like that? Here’s a famous quote from Muhammad Ali:
“Even I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
Can you believe those words came from him? Muhammad Ali! The man who most consider to be the greatest boxer in the history of the sport! He hated training, but he did it anyway because he knew he had to if he wanted to be the best.
If you’re an entrepreneur and want to be the best, you have to be willing to put in the time and effort. You need to be just as committed to being healthy as you are to building a successful business. You can get started by following the recommendations below:
- Create a realistic exercise regimen for yourself and stick with it! Don’t be overly ambitious. You won’t get anywhere if you burn yourself out in a week by working out too often or too hard. If you hate running on the treadmill, try something else that still gets your heart beating and your blood pumping. Just find something you like that will allow you to get up and move.
- Plan your meals. Take the guessing game out of eating and make it impossible to make last-minute meal decisions that end up wreaking havoc on your body and, as a result, productivity. Make it a habit to cook and prepare your meals on Sunday night all at once so you don’t have to worry about it during the workweek.
- Take time to unplug and rest. Don’t forget that your mind is important in all this too. It needs the same attention and time that the rest of your body is getting. Take some time to unplug from technology and get out of the office. Do something else that makes you happy—go for a walk, meditate, take a vacation, etc.
- Develop a consistent sleeping routine. Try to go a week waking up and going to sleep at the same time. If you make it, try another week. Then another. See how long you can keep up with the consistency. It might be hard at first, but you’ll love it once you start to notice the extra boost of energy you get from a good night’s rest.
- Use apps and technology to make everything easier. There are a ton of great mobile apps that can help you make your health a priority. Use MyFitnessPal to track meals and physical activity. Use Sleep Cycle to get on a consistent sleep schedule. Use these health and wellness apps to connect with Apple’s HealthKit platform.
Your success as an entrepreneur now and going forward is dependent upon your willingness and ability to commit to making health and wellness a priority. Are you willing to do what it takes?