When you’re living in today’s world, it’s a challenge to remember to get anything done. We’re all running around trying to get everything done, and if you’re a business boss mom, this challenge is amplified even more because you’re managing yourself and all of your kids. In the end, when you’re the one doing all of the managing, it’s most important for you to be taking care of yourself first. Here’s a quick run-down of five ways you can systematize to run your health practically on auto-pilot, so you won’t have to worry about your health impacting your entrepreneur lifestyle.
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It really is possible to make your diet into a system. You probably already do, in a way, but you call it habit. The most important way you can turn your diet into a system is by planning your meals. It sounds so much harder than it really is, I promise. You can start with baby steps, just by writing down a list (or typing it, if that’s your preference) of your nutrition guidelines.
What does that mean? Simply write out a list of the foods you do and don’t eat. Now you have a reference for planning your meals, and for making your grocery list each week. If it’s not on the “I DO eat” list, then you don’t buy it.
Planning your meals is also really easy once you get started. The trick is to compile a list of the recipes you like. For me, this looks like a binder with tabs. But for you, it could be note cards, post-its, a list of links in a word processor document, or even a Pinterest board (but, set a timer before you head over to look at your board, if you go that route. We all know what happens when we go down that rabbit hole…)
So now you have a list of foods you eat, and a collection of recipes, and now you just need to plan your meals. To make it really easy, I have a meal planning e-book with printable templates.
Once your meals are planned, you have to schedule your meal prep time into your calendar. This could be each day for 10 minutes, or it could be an hour one evening a week. Decide what you’ll try, and if your first try doesn’t feel great, try again!
Exercise is arguably harder to get done than meal planning. I mean, let’s face it, you HAVE to eat, but do you HAVE to work out? Oh, all right, I know, healthy people exercise. So let’s choose health.
To make your exercise into a system, you have to have a plan. Where do you get one? Make one up, use your favorite search engine, or buy a program from your favorite health coach (which I am not, but I know quite a few if you need a recommendation). Whatever it is, print it out so you can reference it.
Take that plan and schedule it into your calendar. Yes, I mean each time you’re going to go exercise. And, not just the time you’re actually ‘working out.’ Allow yourself time for a shower, too. This is how things happen, by scheduling our priorities to make sure the most important things happen first.
My favorite way to systematize my fitness, is using my fitness tracker. I have been tracking my laziness for the last few years. I love collecting data. I have something like 5 years of Fitbit data on my account (and actually, you can sell your data too…). I always know even on the days when I don’t have a workout scheduled if I am on track with my steps. Hitting 10,000 is a challenge sometimes when you work on a computer most of the day. Just sayin’...
The easiest thing for me is to always take the longest way. Stairs instead of elevator when available. Parking the car far out in the lot. Walking through every aisle in the store. (Well, you might find something cool if you go through them all too! haha) The point is, make your steps something you don’t even have to think about, and it’s an automated system.
Keeping yourself healthy isn’t a small task. One of the easiest ways to make sure you have a solid illness-prevention strategy is to systematize your medical care. I have lots of appointments (yay for autoimmune issues!), so this is a key system for me. The main piece is to always schedule the next appointment with the provider BEFORE you leave the office. And, not just to schedule it, but put it into your calendar (unless you’ve just been to the eye-doctor and your eyes are dilated - it’s impossible to see your phone in that case!).
If you’re not sure what medical appointments you need, you can easily find a list online by your age range. At minimum, you should be on a routine physical exam schedule with your primary provider. Starting this practice early is imperative, because you want to collect data for your health markers over time. This is how potential problems are caught before they are terminal illnesses. When you look up the listing of appointments you need, go make them! Then you’re ready to go with scheduling them again as you complete them.
If you’re not in a place where you get regular medical care, you’ll want to track some of your indicators yourself. There are many free clinics that will do screenings for you - blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, BMI, cholesterol, etc. Take advantage of those, or pay for the tests yourself every couple of years. You’ll see a trend of your own health over time, and know when something is changing.
This often overlooked aspect of managing your health is one of the easiest to solve. To combat stress in your life, schedule yourself some downtime! You’re the one in charge of your time, so choose what you do with it. Maybe that means get a massage. Take a hike. Drive somewhere. Whatever you can do to relax, your health and your business will thank you. If you’re struggling with making the time for you, check out this ebook for some helpful ways to take care of yourself without sacrificing your business.
You can also give yourself permission to say no to too many meetings, commitments, or obligations. If someone asks you to help out with something, be honest with yourself and with them, and say no if it’s too much for you to get done without stressing yourself out.
Schedule your bedtime! There are studies that show people who stick to a regular sleep schedule are actually healthier overall. Not everyone is an early bird and gets up at 4 AM like me, which is totally acceptable. It’s not critical what time you personally go to bed, as long as you’re fairly consistent. You’ll sleep better if you sleep at the same time because your body gets used to it.
And while you’re reviewing what your ‘normal’ day looks like, review your task list too. What things are you doing in your business that you really don’t like to do? Those things are causing you unnecessary stress. Delegate them out! (I’m here for you when you need help in figuring out how to delegate them.)
Life’s not worth living if you don’t have people you care about and who care about you. Relationships are the only thing you take with you when you die. Schedule yourself time each day or week to spend with those people you want around you. No, you don’t have to literally schedule the exact time you’ll call each person. But block off some time to connect with people.
If you have relatives farther away, or in different time zones, a set day/time check in might actually be appropriate for you. Neither of you can forget if it’s in both of your calendars.
Do you set aside time in your calendar each week specifically to check in with your past clients? Keeping those relationships strong will bring you repeat business as well. They remember who you are, and will refer you to their colleagues because they know you care about them.
In short, relationships matter to your overall health, and skimping on them can turn into loneliness. Yes, even if you’re an introvert, and even if you live far out of town on a farm like I do. Even hermits need some human interactions, out from behind the computer screen.
So which of these five health-systems are you going to implement first? They all work really well for me, and my clients. I’d love to hear which one worked best for you, too! And share with me - do you have another way you systematize your health?