Start With a Business Lifestyle (Not a Lifestyle Business)

198 pounds. Dammit.

I step off the scale and think, Two pounds away from the point of no return.

Something has to change. I need to eat better and exercise more.

I started telling myself this ten pounds ago, and yet.

If it’s so simple, why is the number on my scale creeping in the wrong direction?

I have vague intentions every day to eat less and move more, but honestly, I haven’t changed a damn thing.

I haven’t changed:

  • My meal prep (ordering pizza)
  • The people I spend time with (at Five Guys)
  • The level of attention I give to my potato chip consumption (willful denial)

When I finally make those changes to my environment and habits, I will be changing my lifestyle. And good things will follow.

It’s the same with starting a business.

I don’t have a lifestyle business. I have a business lifestyle.
Chris Lema (@chrislema) May 22, 2016

Having a business lifestyle means removing the obstacles and bad habits keeping you stuck so that making the right choices becomes effortless. You need to set up your physical, social, and mental environment for success.

Make it easier on yourself to do the work you are meant to do.

Don’t let the lettuce rot in the crisper

Step one of your healthy diet plan involves a trip to the produce market, and more kale than your body is prepared to handle.

You get rid of the junk food and fill the fridge with fruits and vegetables. If the chips and ice cream are not there, you can’t eat them. You’ll eat kale instead. Or so you tell yourself at the grocery store.

Buying vegetables is easy — using them is harder.

Storing up knowledge and skills, taking courses and reading business books helps you only when you use the information.

If you’re stuck in starting your business, you need to start using the information you have gathered, and stop procrasti-learning.

Researching your market and deciding how to differentiate yourself from the competition are critical first steps. But once you’ve done the preliminary research, you can test out your ideas and learn as you go.

Get the information you need, and put it straight to work.

Surround yourself with fitness models

I don’t mean that you should find oiled up, well-muscled, speedo-wearing companions.

Find people who model the behaviour you are trying to adopt, and invest your time building relationships with them.

Your social network has a huge influence on your health habits. When you dine out with health-conscious friends, annoyingly, they all decline to order dessert. Of course, you don’t want to be the only one. Who can enjoy triple chocolate cheesecake with a side of food-shame?

When your best friend is waiting for you at the gym at 6:00 am, you are not going to hit the snooze button and skip your workout.

Good habits are contagious. You will find yourself picking up new ways of thinking and working simply by being around the right people.

So if starting a business is truly what you desire, you need to start hanging around with the models of entrepreneurship that can help motivate, inspire, and hold you accountable.

These are all great ways to improve your social environment so your ideas can flourish:

  • Spend time on forums
  • Hire a business coach
  • Join a mastermind group
  • Attend a conference
  • Find local meet-ups

Start spending your time with people who are creating awesome things, and watch your mindset shift in a positive direction.

Passion is infectious.

Did you get your 10,000 steps today?

Fitness trackers and food logging apps are big right now in the health and fitness industry. That’s because they work.

Tracking your progress keeps you consistent with daily action towards your long term goal. Without consistent effort, it will be very hard to succeed.

With your business, having a long term vision is important. But the consistent action you take each day to get there is essential.

Break down your big goals into short term sprints, and track your daily action steps towards the finish line.

It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle.

When your business lifestyle is unshakeable, you can’t help but succeed. Instead of a short-term fix, you will have built the foundations for lasting success.

How to start: Gather the resources you need and put them straight to work.

How to stay motivated: Surround yourself with the right people.

How to succeed: Track your progress and take consistent action.

Do you want business (and life advice) from a punk rock drummer? Sign up to my weekly email Too Small to Fail.

Originally published at on April 3, 2017.

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