You know those days when you are super productive and super efficient? You hit all of your targets for the day and go to bed feeling accomplished and maybe even a little smug? For me, those days almost always occur when I’m feeling fit and energized.
This is no coincidence. We’ve all heard of Michelle and Barack’s 5 am workouts in the White House. There is no doubt, a successful entrepreneur is often a fit entrepreneur. But what of the rest? Those who are slick in business but fail to apply the same regime to their health and wellbeing. Or those who can’t seem to get either aspect sorted.
After listening to the language used by hundreds of new clients over the years, there is one thing they all have in common. They all have assumptions (based on myths) that are often stopping them from even getting started on improving their fitness. So let me debunk the 3 most damaging myths I encounter and give you 3 of my top tips to focus on instead.
MYTH #1: You need to tackle everything at once
How many Mondays have you vowed that this week will be different? This week you will cut out sugar, fat, alcohol, fast food, fizzy drinks. This week you will work out every day except Sunday. Sound familiar? There are many reasons presented by the fitness industry for us failing to achieve these goals week in, week out.
But there is one reason rarely discussed: that it is simply too much for us to bear. That we humans have a finite amount of willpower. We can only endure flexing our willpower and saying no to temptation and the familiar so many times in any given period. Therefore, we are repeatedly setting ourselves up for failure.
TOP TIP #1: Make 1 small change
Contrary to almost every other diet and regime promoted on the market, I prescribe the “1 Small Change” approach. This allows you to focus your efforts on embedding 1 new healthy habit at a time. Something interesting happens every time I tell a client to focus on only one thing. They do that one thing well and thereby don’t feel as if they have failed at the first hurdle.
This then initiates a ripple effect. This Sunday evening, try choosing one healthy habit instead of one new lifestyle. I recommend starting with a protein-rich breakfast that includes a small amount of slow release wholegrain carbohydrates and 50% fruit or veg on your plate. The ripple effect of a healthy breakfast is often avoiding the mid-morning chocolate ‘snaccident’!
My go-to breakfast is 5% fat Greek yogurt with 3 types of berries and a sprinkling of low sugar granola. Working from home, I afford myself the luxury of having this after the school run. It means I don’t have to eat too early for me and I can enjoy it in peace. In the summer, I have it in the garden to up the decadence factor.
MYTH #2: Habits are fixed in 14 days
This one has been doing the rounds for decades and was started by a statement that was embellished and misconstrued by the press. Based on studies done, it actually takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit. When we believe it should only take 14 days and then we don’t see sufficient progress in that time, we give up altogether and put it down to lack of willpower.
TOP TIP #2: Set up for success
When you slip up (and you will), focus instead on the events and thoughts leading up to the slip-up and more importantly, how to prevent it next time. As a working from home entrepreneur you have a massive advantage here – you can control the food and drink that enter your house.
No office bun runs, birthday cakes and Friday treats. The solution at home is simple – don’t buy it as you WILL eat it. As for others in your home, I only buy my kids single items of rubbish to eat that day. Multipacks may save you money but they cost you your figure.
MYTH #3: Workouts are a cure-all
As entrepreneurs, you will most likely be familiar with the saying “sell them what they want, give them what they need”. In the fitness world what people want is workouts, but what they need is to fix their diet. Most people are seeking weight loss, at least initially. And it’s a lovely idea that we could achieve this by simply working out a few times a week and a few tweaks to our diet.
But it is well-nigh impossible. You cannot out train a bad diet and believe me, I have tried. Even elite athletes don’t eat carb-loaded diets anymore. In his book, Serve To Win, Novak Djokovic attributes going from a laughing stock on the tennis circuit to world number 1, to changing his diet.
TOP TIP #3: Just move your body
Instead of bemoaning the fact that you can’t fix everything with a few workouts, turn it on its head. Celebrate the fact that you can massively improve your weight and health, without the gargantuan effort of getting out and working out. In fact, I advise my clients not to add any workouts to their existing routine (even if they are doing none) for at least the first month.
We focus on nailing nutrition alone and doing only low-level activity. That is, simply moving your body. Again, for home-based entrepreneurs, this is great news. While we may struggle to fit in a full workout, the dog always needs to be walked and we can make our time work by listening to a podcast, having a walking meeting, or simply using it as blue-sky thinking time. Quite literally.
So, if you’re feeling a bit sluggish and are maybe struggling with traction in your business, try building up yourself first. It doesn’t have to be and shouldn’t be, an Everest sized task. Choose one small change for this week, get all your ducks in a row for success (couldn’t resist the quack pun!) and forget the crazy workouts. Just move.If you’re feeling a bit sluggish and struggling with traction in your business, try building up yourself first. Choose one small change for this week and get all your ducks in a row for success. Just move. #Youpreneur Click To Tweet
Margaret Shenken is on a mission to disrupt the “all or nothing” approach perpetuated by the fitness industry. She owns Fuse-Fit, a group fitness franchise and also helps professional women over 30 master their fitness and diet. She will be launching the ‘1 Small Change’ online fitness programme very soon.