Switching from unhealthy habits to healthy ones is no easy task. But you’re a young entrepreneur – you’re not about the “easy path!” You work hard at everything you do. Your goal is success in all things. And if it’s not already, your health should be included in your success goals. Healthy habits will spill over into the rest of your life, including your entrepreneurial path. When you function on enough sleep, good health, and overall well-being, you set yourself up for maximum business success!
But what are “healthy habits?” And how can you adopt some without having to change your entire lifestyle?
Starting healthy habits when you’re young is the best way to bring them with you into adulthood. And no, you don’t have to make major life changes. Start slow and easy. We’ll show you how.
PICK ONE AREA FIRST
Trying to change your diet, exercise routine, sleep habits, and mental health improvement overnight is a recipe for disaster. Figure out your most urgent need first. This might be:
- Better sleep hygiene
- Healthier eating (NOT calorie-counting)
- Smarter study habits
- More physical activity (NOT “exercise”)
Picking one area at a time will keep you from getting overwhelmed. You’re more likely to succeed at adopting healthier habits if you focus on one part of your life.
You might have heard the phrase, “slow and steady wins the race.” Keep that in mind as you change your habits. Start with just one thing in the area you’ve chosen.
- If you want to eat healthier, switch out regular potato chips for something like Wheat Thins or PopCorners.
- If you want to move around more, try something easy and quick like a 5-minute stretch routine or a brisk walk around your block.
- If you want to study better, try a free study app.
- If you want to improve your sleep habits, try going to bed just 10 minutes earlier than usual
Someone who has never exercised before probably shouldn’t plan to run a marathon within a month. And if you’ve never meditated before, don’t get your hopes up to sit still for an hour on your first try.
When you wrote your business plan, you probably included micro-goals to hit on the way to your big goal. Do the same for developing healthy habits. While it’s great to think about a healthier lifestyle overall, set some micro-goals for yourself to reach first. That might be switching one drink per day from sugary soda to water, ultimately switching to water all day long in a month or two. Accomplishing these micro-goals gives you a sense of accomplishment, which helps you keep going.
HAVE AN HONEST CONVERSATION WITH YOURSELF
What’s keeping you stuck in your rut of bad habits? Take a few minutes and think about why you do the things you do.
- If you’re constantly pressed for time, consider adopting some time-saving hacks
- If it’s a matter of convenience, try to plan things further in advance or get more organized
- If you lack energy or focus, look at our list of ways to avoid burnout
- If it’s something else, consider asking for help from a trusted adult or mental health professional
USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM
You’re more likely to stick with new, healthier habits if someone else is going through it with you. You can encourage each other when you feel low, share tips and tricks you’re learning, cheer on each other’s successes, and stay accountable. Not only will this person help you stay on track, but you can feel good about helping them, as well!
Can’t find a healthy habit buddy IRL? Use a virtual buddy!
FOCUS ON PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION
A lifetime of healthier habits is a journey, not a destination. One day of backsliding isn’t the end of the world. Just get back on track as soon as possible.
We know that young entrepreneurs tend to be high-achieving perfectionists. But habits don’t develop overnight. You probably took a few years to get into the habit of doing homework yourself, without being nagged by a parent.
Starting a new habit is easy. Keeping it and integrating it into your life until you no longer have to think about it is harder. According to one study, new habits take anywhere from 18 to 254 days to stick! The important thing is forward momentum. Don’t give up after one bad day, or even a bad week. Emergencies arise, routines get sidetracked, and you might get sick or go on vacation. Focus on the fact that you are trying. You can always start over when and if necessary.
SCREENS ARE HABITS, TOO
It’s easy to zone out while you’re scrolling through TikTok. And zoning out leads to unhealthy habits. Spending all day online can make you lose track of time so that before you know it, the day is done, you’ve gotten zero physical activity, and ate an entire pack of cookies.
While you’re incorporating healthier habits into your life, make screen-free time one of your goals. No one is saying you have to go completely off-grid during non-school hours. Just think about starting with 10 minutes per day that you go without your phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet. Ten minutes that you can take a short walk, pack a healthy snack for tomorrow, spend time with family, or read a book.
IT ALL ADDS UP
Before you know it, you’ve completely swapped out sugary soda for plain water all day long. You’re not only walking around the block three times a week; you’re now walking a mile or two every day. You’re going to bed earlier and waking up more refreshed than ever.
Once healthy habits become your routine, you might start to notice how much better you feel overall. You’ll have more energy during the day, which will lead to better grades. You’ll feel stronger. Your memory will improve. Pretty soon you’ll want to feel like this all the time. You won’t want to go back to your old ways!
Are you a Florida-based young entrepreneur looking for a college scholarship? Click here to learn more about how the Kantner Foundation can help you!