Sometimes we get so excited about reaching our goals that we forget to take breaks. We work past midnight. We skip meals so that we can get in one more round of practice. We “forget” to take our vacation days.

Breaks just seem so unproductive. But can they help us achieve our goals?

Taking breaks increases your health & productivity

Multiple studies reveal the benefits of making sure that your mind and body are rested. Dr. Brooks B. Gump and Dr. Karen B. Matthews have tied vacations with lower mortality rates. Dr. Cheri D. Mah saw basketball players inch closer to peak performance by getting more sleep. Earlier this year we saw meditation increase people’s productivity at work.

Meditation boosts focus at work

Deliberate practice and productivity systems like Pomodoro advocate intense work intervals punctuated by short breaks. Scientific studies show that breaks help you stay productive and focused as you work. Entrepreneur Erin McKean actually takes breaks in order to increase her creativity:

“Working on something else is a great way to clear your mind of the ‘primary problems.’ There’s only so far you can run and only so many showers you can take to try to trigger that creative distance. Sometimes stepping away from the problem is the best way to solve it.”

So while consistency is key for behavior change, don’t forget to take a break!

How to start the habit:

Right now: Get out of your chair and take a quick 2 minute walk or pop your headphones in and listen to one song. It’s that easy to take a break!

Then: Start a habit of taking a break. Some commons ways people do this on Lift are: Meditate, Stop and Enjoy Life, Read, and Spend Time Outside.