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THE INC. LIFE

These 5 Unhealthy Habits May Block Your Success, and They Are Not That Difficult to Break

The stress and demands of entrepreneurship may have led you to some unhealthy habits. Unfortunately, these only result in more stress and possibly the failure of your business.

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BY Marla Tabaka - 05 Nov 2018

These 5 Unhealthy Habits May Block Your Success, and They Are Not That Difficult to Break

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The stress of entrepreneurship easily pushes business owners into patterns that have a negative impact on their physical and emotional health. As a result, these bad habits also have a devastating effect on the health of your business, so don't put off breaking them for any longer.

1. Energy drink consumption.

This is not the way to keep your energy up. Many studies confirm the health risks associated with energy drinks, which are mostly attributed to their high sugar and caffeine levels. The risks range from mental health problems in the form of anxiety and stress to increased blood pressure, obesity, kidney damage, fatigue, stomachaches, and irritation. Energy drinks can also contribute to risk-seeking behavior, such as substance misuse and aggression.

  • If you have a strong need for caffeine drink moderate amounts of coffee instead. Energy drinks can contain up to 100 mg caffeine per fluid ounce, eight times more than a regular coffee at 12 mg.
  • Drink water. Practically every part of your body is suspended in water. When dehydration sets in you will become fatigued. Counter this with 8 glasses of nature's energy drink per day.
  • Eat and drink protein. Studies at the University of Cambridge found that protein has a much stronger effect because it stimulates the cells that keep us awake and fuel the calorie-burning fires. They say that the amino acids found in lean sources of protein like eggs, edamame, and pork loin will keep your body running and mind alert.

2. Sitting too long.

Even if you exercise for 30-minutes a day it does not offset the risks associated with sitting for long periods of time. Sitting for too long can lead to obesity, unhealthy blood sugar levels and type 2 diabetes, increased risk of heart disease, and general inflammation in the body.

  • Stand when you're on the phone and at meetings.
  • Have walking meetings.
  • Get a standing desk.
  • Stand up at least every 30-minutes and stretch.

3. Inconsistent sleep.

Did you know that over 6000 fatal car accidents per year are attributed to sleep deprivation on the part of the driver? Long-term sleep deprivation leads to less active immunity protection cells called natural killer cells, which play a major role in the host-rejection of both tumors and virally infected cells. The list of physical health ramifications associated with loss of sleep is long, but entrepreneurs are most immediately frustrated by the effect on cognitive performance. From word function to poor decision making, sleep deprivation over time can and will have a negative impact on your business.

  • Seven to eight hours per night is the standard. Set an appointment to go to bed at the same time each night and set an alarm to wake at the same time. Your body's time clock will grow accustomed to the routine and slip into naturally over time.
  • Use meditative techniques at bedtime.
  • Avoid work, television, and stressful conversations for at least one hour prior to bedtime.

4. Living and working in isolation.

Entrepreneurship is a lonely journey and working from home doesn't help. There are clear linkages between social isolation and the cardiovascular system, neuroendocrine system, and cognitive functioning. It also leads to depression, cognitive decline, and sleep problems.

  • Use video conferencing instead of the phone.
  • Attend conferences and meetings more often.
  • Take breaks and get outside. Just being around nature and people helps.
  • Work from co-op spaces or a coffee house a couple of days a week.
  • Carve out time for family and friends on a regular basis, daily if possible.

5. Checking the cell phone too often (especially at night).

Harvard researchers found that blue light can drastically influence your sleep schedules (by up to three hours). Some studies indicate that blue light prevents the restorative REM sleep, adding to the sleep deprivation problem. Eye strain causes headaches, which in turn limit your ability to concentrate and function at 100 percent.

  • It's best to avoid your devices at night time and first thing in the morning, but if you must use them purchase a pair of blue-blocking glasses.
  • Take breaks from your screens every 20-minutes.
  • Focus your eyes on distant objects every 20-minutes.
  • Use "Night Shift" on your iPhone, iPad, or PC.
  • Install an app that filters the blue/green wavelength at night.
  • When possible, go back to the old-fashioned pen and paper method for note taking and list making.

Most researchers say it takes between 21 days and one month to break a bad habit. Methods like the Emotional Freedom Techniques can easily move you through them in much less time. Entrepreneurs usually possess a very strong will; strong enough to stop a bad habit simply by deciding it's time to stop. You can do this.

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