As an entrepreneur, executive or other high-performing leader, you’ve got more “to do’s” on your list than any one human being can realistically finish. Yet you know how to set your priorities and get the important things done for your business, even your family and your home.
Why then, don’t you eat more greens, eat less takeout pizza, or drink less wine (soda, beer, etc.)? Why can’t you get your healthy eating skills down in the same way you’ve got your work skills down?
I’ll let you in on a little secret:
It’s not because you’re lazy, you just aren’t cut out for being a healthier person, or you don’t have the willpower.
One of the main reasons is you haven’t yet developed a system to make healthier eating an easy and natural part of your life. Much like in your work life, until you have a system, it’s not going to be easy to get it done time after time.
Systems aren’t only for work. You have systems in other parts of life that you may not have even realized. Take your morning routine, for example. Whether or not you purposefully set one up, you have a system in the morning.
Once you get out of bed, you follow a series of steps that end up getting you to work on time, or otherwise starting your day off on the right foot. No doubt you’ve tried a few different morning routines and found the system that works best for you at this time.
And then you continue without having to think much more about it.
Does that sound like something you’d like to have happen in your life with healthy food? I’ve been helping entrepreneurs, executives and other high-performers accomplish this throughout my career, and it’s what I help readers to do in my new book, Eat to Lead.
Let’s create one system for better nutrition together right now.
Just like when you set up any other system, you 1) define the goal, 2) plan a system, 3) then put the system into practice and refine it.
Define your goal.
Work on one small goal at a time so you don’t add unnecessary overwhelm to your life. Don’t overthink it.
Here’s an example: Let’s say your larger goal is to drink more water and less coffee. You might pick a smaller, more specific goal of drinking one glass of water, first thing the morning.
Plan your system.
Let’s say, after a little thought, you decide you’ll pour a jug of water in the kitchen at night, so it’s ready for you in the morning. Your idea is that when you see the pitcher in the morning, you’ll remember your goal, and you’ll have a drink before doing anything else.
It’s a good plan. That’ll be one more glass of water than you normally have each day and it’s a great step in the right direction. Know that any new healthy habit you implement will have compounding effects.
Practice and refine.
Give yourself at least a week to refine your system for successful implementation. No more than two.
In this example, as you go through your week, you may find it’s easiest to drink a glass of water while you’re making breakfast for the kids. You have your coffee with breakfast as usual. Surprisingly, you find you need less coffee when you’re more hydrated. You also find that you can pour the rest of the water from the pitcher into a mug and drink it on your commute to work.
After working on that one step for a week, you’ve created a great little system in your life for drinking more water and being more hydrated.
In this scenario, your system had compounding effects, much like in reality: Pouring a pitcher of water at night made it easier for you to remember and drink water in the morning. Unexpectedly, it has increased your morning energy, improved your daily hydration, and reduced the amount of coffee you need in the morning. And just like your routine for getting up and out the door, you’ve gotten your first system in place for better self-care.
What small system can you start today that’ll help you eat better tomorrow?
If you liked this article, you may be interested in my book, Eat to Lead, where I lead readers (who are leaders) through six weeks of small steps towards healthier eating. “This book by smart nutritionist Luci Gabel guides you in making your own personal food decisions that lead to higher energy levels, more brainpower, better sleep, weight loss, disease prevention, and more. The pace is designed to fit into the life of a busy professional.”
—Lee Constantine, Publishizer