Living a healthy lifestyle positively impacts the quality of my life and the success of my business. I have found that being active, eating healthfully, and practicing mindfulness are the three essential components to physical and emotional health. They work together to keep both the body and mind in top condition.

Here are a few tips that have helped me and others to live a healthier lifestyle.

1. Set Goals

We know that setting goals is how things get done in the business world; why not apply the same strategy to improve your lifestyle? The SMART framework for goal setting is an easy way to start and will help you achieve goals in any area of life.

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-Bound

I made the decision to train in the martial arts when I turned 40 (call it my mid-life crisis, some people buy red sports cars, I decided I wanted to kick some butt, LOL and take it off my bucket list…who doesn’t love Chuck Norris and Lucy Lu) I also decided to really limit my intake of sugar and wheat (I was diagnosed as wheat intolerant after the birth of my son, about 13 years ago)—it made an almost immediate impact on my energy, focus, and bloat/weight.

2. Find an Accountability Partner

Having someone to hold you accountable immediately increases your motivation. Statistically, people who exercise with a buddy are significantly more likely to reach their fitness goals. Studies by Stanford University and Indiana University found the following to be true in regards to physical exercise:

• Having an accountability partner increases the amount a person exercises a week by 78%.
• People that work out alone have a 43% dropout rate while people who work out with a buddy have a 6.3% dropout rate.
• Women who exercise with friends burn 236 calories a workout, while women who work out alone burn 195 calories a workout.

Make sure that you find an accountability partner who has similar goals as you. It can be discouraging if they are way ahead of you and it can hold you back if they are way behind you. Accountability is a key aspect to achieving your fitness, nutrition, and meditative goals.

3. Start Today

Improving your lifestyle will benefit your personal and professional life – why wait until tomorrow? Find an accountability partner, pick a challenge from the suggestions below, write down your goal, and get started!

Sample Physical Activity Challenges:
• Sign up for a kick-boxing class (love this!!)
• Train for a 5K. If you’ve never ran a 5K before, try using an App such as “5K Runner” to get started
• Take a dance class. Zumba is always a fun option! I do it at least once a week.
• Commit to taking the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible
• Take a walk during your lunch break

Nutrition Challenges:
• Drink 4 bottles of water during the work day
• Cut back on the amount of sugar in put in your coffee and/or in your diet
• Forgo the cupcakes, cookies, and brownies in the break room, take a small piece of better quality dark chocolate (like Ghirardelli)—50 calories of fulfilling flavor, with health benefits!
• Substitute the side of fries with a side of vegetables
• Bring a piece of fruit with you to work every day for the “cravings/energy dip moment. I recommend (organic) apples: they taste great, have low glycemic and really get you to chew/enjoy the process of “eating”

Mindfulness Challenges:

Check out lasts week’s post, The Value of Mindfulness to Your Business, to learn more about its impact on productivity, creativity, and concentration.

• Take a yoga or meditation class at least once a week
• Start off your day with 5 minutes of deep breathing. Taking a moment to be present at the beginning of the day can have a huge impact on our focus and productivity throughout the day
• Eat a meal in silence with no distractions. (don’t eat at your desk). When we eliminate distractions, we tend to taste more and eat less!
• Turn your phone on airplane mode for 30 minutes at least once a day
• Avoid watching TV one night a week

I hope that these simple tips motivate you to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Remember, any habit can be broken in about 30 days—a good or bad one. Stay focused!

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