How to Develop Healthy Habits When You’re Busy All the Time

Ever since I saw the headline that “Sitting is the New Smoking”, I’ve been trying to figure out ways to add more activity into my daily routine. But I have to admit, developing healthy habits is hard. Especially when you work from home.

And you’re busy. I can’t speak for anyone else but exercise moves way down on my priority list when I’m stressed out about a deadline. I know it should be the exact opposite. Getting a little activity would help to reduce stress and stay focused. But we sometimes fall back into old (and unhealthy) habits.

I’m very happy that I’ve been able to add activities like walking at my treadmill desk and cycling on my Cubii. I’m trying to eat healthier, which is so much easier when I’m home. I can pre-make meals in the slow cooker. And I’m more focused on my posture. The challenge for me is having healthy habits when I travel, because so many things are not in my direct control.

Which is why I was excited to meet Walter Lewis at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Annual Conference. Walter is a fitness coach and he was conducting exercise sessions bright and early each day of the event. I will confess I didn’t go to his sessions. My bad. But I did stop by Walter’s booth in the expo hall, picked up a stretch band, and talked with him about the challenges of staying healthy on the road.

Walter was very gracious to send me a copy of his book, “The 4 Healthy Habits of the Highly Effective Busy Professional”. I loved this book. First of all, the book is 85 pages. There is absolutely no excuse not to read this book. It was written with the busy professional in mind.

The second thing I liked about this book is it gave me some practical advice. For example, one of the chapters is titled, “Eat Healthy 85% of the Time”. Honestly, I can do that. Then the book goes on to tell me how to read a nutrition label. It reminds me of that old saying, “Give a man a fish..”. Tell me what to eat, I eat healthy for a few days or weeks. Teach me how to read a food label, I develop healthy habits.

Lastly, the book addresses metrics. As human resources professionals, we talk about measurement all the time – calculating cost per hire, turnover rates, employee engagement scores, etc. The book talks about tracking your activity, evaluating your results, and setting healthy goals. Concepts we’re very familiar with.

The big takeaway for me was I need to think about developing personal healthy habits very similar to the way I develop professional ones. Set a goal, plan my action steps, make it a priority, and celebrate my success. Walter’s book covers a lot more in those 85 pages, but that’s my ah-ha moment.

If you’re looking for wellness resources, consider picking up a copy of Walter’s book. We continue to hear about stress and burnout at work. Organizations want their employees to be healthy. Employees want to be healthy. While there’s no magic formula for developing healthy habits, sharing practical resources is always beneficial.

Image captured by Sharlyn Lauby on the streets of Miami, FL