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On the road to success, entrepreneurs or ambitious ladder-climbers often forgo their health by focusing so much on work that their health suffers, they gain weight and they are physically drained. Bad health and weight gain are often a manifestation of an overworked mind and body, and underfed soul. Don’t let your ambition be the catalyst for bad habits. There are ways of ensuring a healthy lifestyle that will not only allow you to be healthy and happy, but also successful.

Here are seven steps to guarantee that you will lose excess weight or maintain a healthy weight while building your company or your career. Additionally, they are seven sure-fire ways to be happy and live a joyful life.

1.) Plan the work, work the plan. To reclaim your health and your life, create a project plan just like you would for your business. Make sure that it includes a realistic timeline, key performance indicators and discrete deliverables. If your goal is to lose weight, start by giving yourself an achievable timeline, work out what the key factors are going to be in getting you there and set your goals. Having a plan is important, but sticking to the plan and working at it will be the only way to achieve success.

2.) Timeline: Be realistic and know that depending on your starting point, this might take years, not months, and not weeks. And then a lifetime after that.

The real secrets to living a healthy life are to be patient and be consistent. Like businesses take time to succeed, so in life do we need time to achieve our goals. Bad habits often take a long time to form, so it would follow that they will take time to amend. Make your health and weight a long-term and sustainable goal – a part of your lifestyle.

3.) Key Performance Indicators: body fat, clothing, feelings, appearance.

If weight loss is your health goal, do not use the scale as your main metric. Make it more about achieving a loss in body fat percentage, being able to wear the clothes that you want (or could from years ago) and how you feel. Being focused on the scale only makes us want to push the timeline forward and that only encourages us to try and rush the timeline, which in turn leads us back to unhealthy habits and disillusionment.

4.) Discrete deliverables: more sleep, more water, lots of exercise, limited unhealthy beverages and foods, reasonable work hours, and regular non-work activities. ALL THESE THINGS CONSISTENTLY.

Sleep: at least eight hours every night
Drink Water: at least 2 litres a day
Diet: Eat at least 3 meals a day that are balanced and healthy – minimize caffeine and alchohol

Exercise: at least five times a week. This should include a combination of aerobic and anaerobic activities. Figure out what you like doing and do it for 45 — 60 minutes every day. Getting someone to do it with you also helps to keep you on track, so find a buddy and get them out there with you.

Curiosity and expression: what did you love when you were younger? Get these things on your calendar and cultivate them just for you. While it feels like a potential drain on your “all day every day” work calendar, taking these steps will in fact increase your creative abilities and recharge you for better execution at work.

5.) You are likely not in the life-saving business, so draw lines about your work hours. One of the sure-fire ways to burn yourself and others out is to always be “on.” Set yourself boundaries, don’t respond to e-mails after 6pm in the evening and make sure to set aside focused, non-interruption hours to get important tasks done instead of trying to fit them in amongst the normal challenges of every day.

6.) Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s all small stuff. This is not about ignoring the details, but about putting your work-centric approach into perspective. Is what you are working on worth snapping at employees or family members? Worth not sleeping? Worth gaining weight? Worth spinning up your team on a weekend when they should be re-charging so they can come back strong on Monday? Very rarely is the answer yes to any of these things.

7.) This is for life, not just for now. The second you think “I’ve made it to my goal, now I can finally stop all these healthy mind / body things” is the second you risk slipping back into the awful habits that robbed you of your health and vitality. This is a commitment for life and one that you need to make sure is sustainable.

So there you have it. Seven steps to a better you. Make sure that when you implement these healthy habits, they are achievable according to your schedule and your personal limitations. These seven steps can lead you to your future self and to a more self-fulfilled future.

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