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How I Train for Life: A VC Perspective on Wellness

It all comes down to discipline.

Photo Credit: Victor Freitas

As a venture capitalist, I’m always inspired by entrepreneurs’ passion and commitment to their ventures. They are willing to give everything they have to be successful. However, I’ve learned one of the most important things to do in order to sustain your top performance at work is to focus on your own personal wellness too.

Yes, we are all busy, but setting aside some time for yourself can prevent your work from suffering. If it helps, just think of your wellness as part of your job.

Treat it like a non-negotiable (because it is).

I now apply business principles to wellness, and because of it, I’m able to optimize my performance in all areas of my life. Wellness—mind, body, heart, and soul—is as much a part of my life as business (and it has nothing to do with being a Type A personality).

Some tips that have helped along the way:

1. Set the right goal. Every achievement, both personally and professionally, begins with a goal. If you don’t set a goal or know your desired outcome, then you’re simply going through the motions. When it comes to your wellness, be specific, and if you are an entrepreneur, be realistic: you can’t do everything at once. Instead of saying, I need more energy, focus on how you want to feel, why it matters, and the hours of sleep you must have to get there. Make a blueprint for your health, just as you would for business.

2. Remove all obstacles. If you know that you’re not a morning person, but the morning is the only time you have to get in a workout, then remove the obstacles that would keep you from achieving it. For example, ride your bike to work or park your car half a mile away; it may take 15 minutes longer to get into the office, but you’ll get a little exercise without hitting the gym. Those steps will remove any sort of excuse to stay in your comfort zone. Identifying what the common obstacles are to preventing your own peak wellness will ensure you reach your goals, one step at a time.

3. Figure out what you’re not willing to give up. If you know after work on Friday, the team typically unwinds at the local craft brewery and you’re going to want a beer, grab a glass of water before you drink your first beer and set a limit on the drinks you are going to consume. If you want pizza once a week, exercise directly before you have it, or make a healthier version at home. Wellness isn’t about giving up things you love—it’s about creating healthy relationships with food and movement that work for your lifestyle, not against it.

4. Know your willpower (or lack thereof). Speaking of working for your lifestyle, using the excuse of “not having willpower” isn’t an excuse. Start to clock when you feel you don’t have willpower. Is it when you’re stressed, tired, or hungry? Focus on what’s happening with your body when you feel this way: raised cortisol levels and that fight-or-flight instinct can make us believe we need the greasy fare or cocktail, but we don’t. If you add a nutritionally devoid meal on top of the stress, you’re going to add nutritional stress to both the physical and emotional stress. Pause, calibrate your attention, then ask yourself before you cave: what is my desired outcome? Is this decision purposeful? How will I feel tomorrow? This calibration often helps you make the right decision.

5. Develop a wellness routine. We all have the same 24 hours in a day, from the most successful billionaires to the beach bums in Costa Rica. The way you spend your time is your choice (even when you don’t feel like it is). Make sure you are developing a routine for wellness—not an exception, not a distracted jaunt to the gym, but time for you every single day where you can unplug, process, move your body, meditate, or even just go for a walk. In doing so, you will reduce stress and also do something positive for both mind and body in the process.

We are all training for life in some capacity, whether you realize it or not. Paying attention to daily habits, setting new goals for yourself, and applying principles of your previous success to your own health can do wonders for your body and mind.

Originally published at www.linkedin.com

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