Take Care of Yourself in 2013

new year's resolutions to take care of yourselfYou’ve probably heard the old saying that the #1 key to success is survival in and of itself. Yet putting so much time and effort into work endeavors, it’s easy to neglect the relevance of your own personal survival, which must be rooted in good health and well-being. So with the New Year having officially kicked off, now is the time to make a fresh start on this front. Commit to taking better care of yourself through diet, exercise and rest. Specifically, create and manage time for it, planning your calendar to support the activities that will ensure your success. A healthier you will be a happier you, who won’t just survive — but thrive!

As with every New Year resolution, this commitment is about changing, which is typically tricky and challenging to manage. So stay on track, following this advice:

Put your health first. Earlier in my career, I had real difficulty with work-life balance. My time management skills were poor causing me to work extra hours to get the job done. As a result, I worked 12-hour days which resulted in me missing many medical and dental appointments along the way.  Eventually, the neglect caught up with me when I ended up with some serious and extremely expensive dental issues that could have been prevented if I’d simply gone to those checkups. Had I put my health first, I would have been a lot better off. It’s been a good lesson learned, one to which most of us can relate. Not only was the dental problem pricey to fix, but it was painful and cost me time away from the job as well.

Develop a “Work Smarter” Mentality. Continuing with the above example, there were a few folks in the office who seemed to know how to work smarter and still get great results. Their priorities were in the right places and, importantly, well balanced. They occasionally took time to do things for themselves and were frank and unashamed about it. People respected them, and these team members ultimately evolved into some of the best leaders I’ve ever known.

Manage your energy level. The most precious resource on which you have to draw is your energy. It affects everything from your attitude to your productivity and your profitability. Moreover, it impacts others’ moral and motivation, too. Your energy is always externalized, so when it’s up or down, positive or negative, people notice. Recognizing this, successful leaders learn how to manage and improve their energy, so it’s consistently beneficial. They implement healthy, sustainable strategies (exercise, diet, nutrition, recreation, rest, etc.) that produce the lasting, positive impacts they desire.

Set regular goals. MAP is constantly reiterating the importance of setting professional goals, but personal goals are equally critical to developing your personal best. When it comes to your health and wellness, outline several broad goals and then chart out smaller monthly objectives that are tied to those goals. For example, if you want to lose 40 lbs. this year, create a 12-month plan to shed the fat and keep it off. This will invariably include lifestyle changes tied to diet, nutrition and exercise, all of which will be managed through relentless self-discipline and self-imposed accountability. Charting this outline for change is a solid, good step that will keep you on track, seriously boosting your odds of success.

As a leader, what strategies are you implementing in your culture to foster the “professional vs. personal well-being” balance?

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