December is the great revealer…
If health is something you think you HAVE to do, there are so many opportunities to lean out this time of year.
End-of-year school events, work functions, catch-ups. Busy, busy, busy.
If health is something you WANT to do, there are so many opportunities to lean in this time of year.
More sun, more outdoor activities, more fruits and veggies in season, more movement.
While most wait till Jan for the “perfect time” to get started…
A few decide to kick start things in December, even if busy, even if not perfect, they start making those 1% improvements.
I want to share a couple helpful strategies that work well with our clients (all business owners and high-functioning professionals) and I think will help you too.
This is less about the new “tactic” and more about new mental models in which to think through to create success in your health systems.
As business owners and high-functioning professionals, many of the traits that allow us to be successful in business, tend to hold us back in health.
So here are three concepts I hope you find helpful to create some momentum through December to hit the ground running in 2024:
What have I got to GAIN rather than lose?
I think a lot more busy humans would succeed in their health efforts if they looked at what they had to gain, instead of constantly focusing on what they had to lose…
What I mean by this is that 99% of society is only ever “motivated” to finally make a change to their health when it gets bad enough.
Said another way, we’re forced to change our lifestyle because of something we no longer want to experience.
And the health industry caters to this.
The masses focus on restriction, labelled foods as “bad” and “good”, giving us rules and diets to follow.
What if instead of waiting until it got to this point, the goal was shifted to wanting to get MORE out of life so I’m going to make some changes to feel better:
More energy for the kids
More focus and capacity at work
More confidence or pride in clothing.
More intimacy or energy with partners.
I’m not sure about you, but this subtle shift feels a lot more enjoyable and sustainable.
Build your engine rather than downsizing it.
Now that we’ve tackled the initial thought, we can now tackle the actions.
Because saying something makes sense, then continuing with the same actions is useless.
This is where breaking the “diet” mentality really takes some work.
When we focus on restrict, restrict, restrict. We’re constantly trying to create a “deficit” in our food intake.
However imagine instead of restriction, we put more of our focus on simply burning more.
This is less about doing more running or cardio.
And more about rebuilding our engine.
We’ve all seen the stressed-out business owner finally look after his health and drop some body fat, only to put it all back on in 6 months.
This is because quick results can absolutely be achieved with simple “restriction” and willpower.
But long-term change requires this shift from eating less to burning MORE.
Let’s give you a practical example.
If you tend to eat more sugar when you’re busy/stressed/tired.
Most “experts” will tell you that restricting sugar will be helpful – kind of obvious but equally unhelpful as we just start to beat ourselves up for not having the “discipline”.
Instead, a more helpful suggestion (that’s helped thousands of our clients) is instead of focusing on what to cut out, let’s focus on what to REPLACE it with.
For example, focusing on protein as the anchor of each meal not only means you’ll gain a lot more nutrient value from meals, but you’ll also feel fuller and more satiated so you won’t feel like eating as much sugar as before!
On top of this, protein is more “metabolically expensive” meaning it’s harder to break down and actually burns up to ⅓ of its energy value (or calories) from digesting it.
Simply put, by shifting the foods you eat, you’re burning more calories without doing any more exercise.
You place this “tweak” alongside an emphasis on sleep quality and muscle mass, you’re a fat-burning furness!
Half arse is better than no arse.
This one personally took a very difficult time in my life to really appreciate.
I went from the classic in-demand health expert with all the standard answers, to a major motorbike accident wreck needing to rebuild from the ground up.
I was no longer hitting new PBs.
I was no longer motivated to train.
I was no longer in shape and “fit”.
Whether it’s a big accident or simply finally deciding to get your health back on track, the struggle is the same.
The gap between where you are and where you want to be is excruciating.
Now this is where the fascinating part comes up with business owners and high-functioning, professionals that I’ve seen more times than I could count…
The all-or-nothing attitude.
Great in business, helps you get lots done, break through to new levels and push through resistance.
But in health, this 100% or nothing simply becomes 0% more often.
Because health is not an A to B project, it’s not a finite timeline.
You don’t GET into health and then you’re good.
You (hopefully) want to STAY healthy for life.
This is why Step 1 (what you have to gain) and Step 2 (how you feel good) are so important because if you want it to be long-term, restriction and guilt are not very helpful strategies.
In a world where you demand a lot of yourself and life demands even more, the only way you stay consistent is by giving yourself permission to feel good at 80%.
Especially this time of year.
When asked to write this article about health, I could have gone in one of a million directions.
Nutrition, stress, digestion, sleep, mental health, hormones, aging, movement and so much more.
But after spending 20,000+ hours working with busy individuals like you, I feel that more “info” is never as helpful as more context.
As a mentor said to me once: “We’re drowning in info yet starving for context”.
Hopefully, these 3 mental models allow you to approach health with a more compassionate, sustainable and reliable framework for which to build on.
If you’re a business owner or busy professional working hard to do good in the world and wanting to look and feel healthy in the process, you’re my kind of person, you CAN have both.
In your corner,