Avoiding the Shortchange Effect in 2017

Military experience gave you the skills and expertise that make you a perfect candidate to become an entrepreneur and run your own business. You are a confident leader, you understand teamwork, you are decisive, you persevere, and you embrace both training and structure. These are all key factors to your future success in business, and even more so if you choose to become the owner of a franchise. But there is one important area that is far too often overlooked – your physical health.

One thing you might not miss from your active military days is the grueling physical aspect of your service. Without doubt, your time in the service put in you the best shape of your life. Although it is tempting to retire your running shoes now that you are no longer required to do physical training, this could result in you falling victim to what I call the “shortchange effect.” Essentially, the shortchange effect is when we deprive ourselves of our minimum-critical health elements and thus, perform sub-optimally. Let me explain why this is important and how your success in business depends on avoiding it.

If there is one thing all new business owners and entrepreneurs wish, it would be to have more hours available in the day. Time quickly becomes your most precious resource, and the demands of running your own business make it seem as if there is never enough of it. For many business owners, things like sleep, nutrition, and exercise tend to lose priority in the effort to squeeze more time out of each day. But what these busy entrepreneurs probably might not realize is that skimping on one's well-being can not only have a negative impact on their health, it also affects one's performance as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Here are four ways for you to avoid the shortchange effect in 2017:

**1. Beat the Shortchange Effect by Getting Enough Sleep**

Are you someone who can get very little sleep and still function? What if I told you that you might be underperforming at many different levels because of this? For the adult human body to stay healthy and for the brain to work at peak capacity, you need to get at least seven hours of sleep each night.

In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) notes many people are sleep deficient and do not even realize it. If you do not get over seven hours of sleep each night on a regular basis, you start building up a sleep deficit or debt that will eventually do you more harm than good.

Here are some signs that you are not getting enough sleep:

- You need stimulants, like caffeine, just to get through the day and maintain focus.
- On your days off, you need a great deal of extra rest.
- You often need a “power-nap."

If you recognize yourself in any of these scenarios, it may be time to rethink your priorities and long-term goals.

**2. Avoid the Shortchange Effect by Eating Right**

How well your body runs also depends on the fuel you put into it. The old phrase “garbage in, garbage out” originated in the early days of computer programming, but it is also applicable when it comes to your diet. If you fill your body with highly-processed foods, which often contain toxins and chemicals, your body and brain will not be getting the nourishment needed to provide peak performance.

Eating well does not have to be rocket science. If you focus on less-processed whole foods and lean proteins, get plenty of vegetables and fruits, and back off the sugars and carbs and highly-processed foods, you will be fine. Easier said than done, though, right? It does take both time and effort to make it happen, but where your health is concerned, it is worth it in the long run.

**3. Sidestep the Shortchange Effect by Staying Hydrated**

At least two-thirds of the human body is made up of water, and you need a constant supply of it to maintain your energy and focus. You may not always feel thirsty, but these cues may indicate you are not well-hydrated:

- You have headaches.
- You often feel tired or sluggish.
- Your urine is dark yellow.
- You crave sweets throughout the day.

Something to remember when it comes to staying hydrated? Steer clear of the sugary, carbonated beverages so widely available today. There are no health benefits in these drinks. Instead drink plenty of purified, plain water.

**4. Say No to the Shortchange Effect with Regular Exercise**

Pop Quiz: What is a great way to keep in shape, boost your energy, and sharpen your focus? The answer is surprisingly simple: keep a regular workout schedule.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends at least 150 minutes (or two-and-a-half hours) per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes (one hour and 15 minutes) per week of vigorous exercise (or some combination of the two).

Moderate exercise includes activities like:

- Walking briskly
- Bicycling slower than 10 miles per hour
- Water aerobics

Vigorous exercise includes activities like:

- Jogging or running
- Bicycling over 10 miles per hour
- Swimming laps

While exercising might be at the very bottom of your to-do list, keep in mind that there are many aspects of running a business that depend on your physical health. By staying fit, you can avoid certain preventable diseases like type II diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. What does this mean in terms of business? Less time in the doctor's office means more time for productivity at work. Not to mention the fact that if you feel better, it is simply easier to focus and to accomplish tasks.

You would never let a client shortchange your business. Why let your health habits shortchange your productivity? Optimize your sleep, nutrition, hydration, and exercise to ensure you will be physically ready to rise to the challenge of running your own business. Make this a key commitment in your life for 2017 and you will undoubtedly be paving the way to your most successful year yet.

*David E. Omholt is a franchise advisor with Veteran Franchise Centers (VFC) – a RecruitMilitary strategic partner. His company offers a free service to veterans looking to learn more about the franchise buying process and options in the market. Omholt is a Certified Franchise Executive (CFE) and a frequent speaker on the subject of franchising on talk shows, at industry conferences, and on college campuses. He has been both a franchise licensor and a franchise licensee. Omholt is available at 866-246-2884 or david@veteranfranchisecenters.com.*