Entrepreneurs, more than anything else, are goal-oriented. They’re driven.
That mindset is what pushed you to create your own path and build your own business.
So it wouldn’t make sense for you to commit to the same cliche New Year’s Resolutions we’ve come to hear every year: I’ll eat better; I’ll start going to the gym more; I’ll find time to work on my mental health.
You need a goal that’s more ambitious. A goal with a bigger payoff that helps you become a better entrepreneur, paying bigger dividends. That’s why, as we’re about to enter 2020, you should commit to completing an endurance race as your New Year’s Resolution.
The name alone is fitting. To endure is to go through something challenging, and entrepreneurs deal with challenges every day. From a mental standpoint, you’re already built for this.
Endurance training also mirrors the life of an entrepreneur. Endurance training is cardiovascular endurance, which helps pump oxygen and nutrients through your bloodstream to your muscles -- similar to how your entrepreneurial actions helps ensure you deliver your products or services. Consistent action creates a positive end result.
The key to success is choosing to take action. Whether it’s a marathon, half-marathon or a 10K, pick a distance and dedicate the hours needed to reach your goal. The benefits that come with endurance training will extend far beyond your physical ability to complete the race.
As soon as you begin training you’ll notice parallels between training for a long endurance race and being an entrepreneur -- and how it can better prepare you to tackle challenges at the office.
This year, as you are thinking about your business goals for 2020 along with your personal goals for 2020, consider a goal that will help you achieve both. Training and completing an endurance for your New Year’s Resolution this year is that very thing, and here’s how.
Boost Your Creativity
Thinking outside the box is essential for successful entrepreneurship. Elon Musk wasn’t playing it safe when he decided to run an electric car company and a rocket company concurrently.
But sometimes your mind can run into a dead end and is unable to get around a particular hurdle. This is where your resolution to train for an endurance race comes in handy.
There’s mounting research linking exercise to improved creativity. In particular, regular exercise has been connected to improved divergent and convergent thinking, two main factors in creativity. Divergent and convergent thinking is also critical for thinking through hard problems and seeing what’s possible in ways you’d never considered previously.
In short: pushing your body during training will liberate your mind and foster more abstract thinking.
And at the same time, endurance training requires ingenuity. It’s going to challenge you to find more time, somehow, in your busy schedule to train. It’s going to challenge you to be more efficient. You’ll need to reinvent yourself, just as you did when you decided to become an entrepreneur.
Think of an hour spent training as an hour spent on your business. The creative ideas you’ll need for 2020 will be supported, not hampered, by the time invested in preparing for your run.
Improve Your Health
You can’t run your business effectively when you’re not feeling well. Your health is the foundation for your business. Without it, you lack the energy, stamina, and vitality to overcome the mental and physical exhaustion that comes with being an entrepreneur -- and your business will suffer because of it.
Endurance training, though, will help solidify your company’s foundation. Research shows endurance training improves metabolism and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. This helps you shed weight, and makes your heart stronger.
If your goal is to manage your business for years to come, training for an endurance race can help make sure you get your business across the finish line.
Creates Necessary Mental Downtime
Training is an opportunity to unplug.
Most of us spend too much time on our devices, with the average American spending more than 5 hours per day on their smartphones. Entrepreneurs tend to be even more wired-in, needing to stay on top of running their business and keep themselves available to employees for decision making as well as their clients or customers.
Ironically, that same business tool and piece of technology that allows you to run your business effectively, your smartphone, taxes your cognitive ability and divides your attention. It actually makes it harder to successfully run your business, by making it more difficult to stay focused on long terms goals and sometimes even the task at hand.
By carving out time to step away from your devices, you offer your brain refuge. This helps calm your mind and lets you tap into the sympathetic nervous system, allowing you to process all of the information you’ve been bombarded with throughout the day.
Running while listening to Spotify is enjoyable. I enjoy it, too. But the research -- and testimonials from several C-level executives I’ve trained and consulted over the years -- indicates you’re better off disconnecting from your phone and temporarily blocking the endless stream of information coming your way.
Endurance Training Mirrors Entrepreneurial Training
Your training before any endurance race is not only endurance training, it’s entrepreneurial training. Both require you to push beyond preconceived limits.
You’ll inevitably run into a “wall” countless times while training for your race. You will get to a point where you physically and mentally don’t think you can go on. But in building up the stamina needed to complete your resolution, you’ll discover strength and fortitude to press forward.
Consistently exceeding your previous best times and distances will prepare you for the moments that count, and those walls you run into while training mirror the walls you encounter running your business.
To be a great entrepreneur, it takes the same moxy and mental fortitude it requires to run a long-distance race. Your training will only help reinforce the characteristics needed to better run your business.
Simply working towards a goal helps build confidence. And while success is challenging, it’s also rewarding. That’s why when we hit our targets our brain releases dopamine, reinforcing habits that got us there.
Physical changes will come when you put the time into training for an endurance race, and that’s a great reward, but the mental benefits and increased confidence that result from such an ambitious resolution can’t be overlooked.
Feeling good about ourselves and our accomplishments as we reach new levels from our endurance training gives us the psychological reinforcement needed to be bold, take risks, and lead our companies with conviction.
So this year, before settling on the most accepted and common resolutions to lose weight, exercise more, and find a hobby, why not roll all three into one very specific goal that ultimately helps you achieve all three of those goals while providing so much more? Just consider all of the mental and physical benefits that come with training for an endurance race, and its appeal should be clear.
Hopefully, you’ll feel galvanized to approach this resolution head-on. If you do, but aren’t certain where to begin, contact me directly for a complete custom training plan. Together we’ll help you reach both your personal and professional goals in 2020.