As leaders, I think we all know intuitively that we need to pay attention to our own health and wellness in order to be at the top of our game. However, making healthy choices, whether it involves eating well, exercising, or getting adequate sleep, can take a back seat to the busy work and life demands of a leader.
For leaders looking for some good ideas to improve their well being, I can recommend Tom Rath’s recent book Eat Move Sleep. You may recognize Tom as the grandson of the founder of StrengthsFinder and a bestselling author and leadership expert in his own right. What you may not know is that Tom has been quietly managing a serious illness for more than 20 years. I was surprised to hear him speak last year at a national conference and tell about his long battle with cancer and his resulting quest to keep himself alive through nutrition, exercise, and rest. His new book is a result of wide range of information he has collected on the impact of eating, moving, and sleeping.
His main point is that small choices can lead to big changes, especially as you make good decisions automatic by building them into habits.
I’ve experienced the small choices/big changes effect first hand. Over the last year, while trying to manage the effects of chronic facial pain, I made a couple of small choices to improve my overall sense of wellbeing. I decided to exercise more in hopes of increasing endorphins to manage my pain. More specifically, I challenged myself to exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day. To make this happen, I also committed to utilizing the workout facility in our office building over my lunch hour and I bought a used stationary bike at home for days when I can’t get outside to exercise.
Those choices meant no longer scheduling lunch meetings when I could avoid it and scheduling time on my calendar for exercise either at work or at home. It has now become automatic for me and I’m seeing some additional health benefits as a result, like stress reduction and maintaining a healthy weight.
What small choices might you consider to make big changes in your well being?