The Payroll Blog

News, tips, and advice for small business owners

Have a Healthy New Year

Posted On
12/18/2018
By
Stephanie Davis

In some ways it feels like we were just talking about New Year’s Resolutions, and other times we realize just how jam packed the year has been and how much has happened. If you’re looking to start the new year on a fresh start, we understand and have you covered. In the past, we did a series on focusing on three different areas of health: physical, mental, and financial. After all of the fun of the holidays with shopping, and eating all of the delicious food, if you need some inspiration about how to start the new year a bit healthier, we have some ideas.

Working On Your Fitness

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity every week for adults to live a healthy life. For moderate activity this could be brisk walking, swimming, or household tasks such as mowing the lawn. Vigorous activity would include running or aerobic dance classes.

This is all great information, but how do you set yourself up for success in trying to actively hit these numbers?

  • Use your calendar. Since time is one of the top reasons people have for not exercising, setting your workouts on your calendar could be helpful to make sure you actually follow through. Studies have shown that people who schedule their workouts are more likely to stick to them. By scheduling your workout the same way you would a lunch date or meeting, you are making the commitment to show up for your health, and making it harder to bail on your plans.
  • Find a buddy. Imagine it’s 5:30am, your alarm just went off, and you need to get around for your morning workout. However, your blankets are warm, you’re tired and just don’t want to go. Now imagine you have a friend waiting for you – how much more likely are you to get yourself up and around? Having somebody depend on you to show up is going to help you stick to your workouts. Additionally, during your workout, you may find yourself less likely to quit and even work harder because you have somebody there pushing you. Finding ways to include others on your fitness goals is great for success. Want to mix it up at work? Set challenges with employees such as seeing who can get the most steps in a week or picking a challenge to accomplish together during work, such as a plank challenge.
  • Be realistic. As hard as you try, there are just going to be some weeks that your fitness goals don’t go according to plan: you find yourself dealing with a nasty cold, work deadlines that can’t be avoided, or a fun vacation. It’s going to be hard to give your all every day, so just set realistic goals. For example, on the week you have to work late, vow to take more stretch breaks through the day or try to take any calls standing or walking.

Take Care of Your Mind

Today more than ever there is an extra emphasis on mental health. People are more open about the struggles they have and stress they experience, and are collectively finding ways to make mental health more of a priority.

  • Figure out what self-care means to you. Self-care is often associated with face masks and Netflix bingeing, but it’s so much more than that. Self-care simply means making time for activities that relax and charge you, and bring you happiness. This could mean making the time for reading more books, getting back to a hobby you have abandoned, or working your way through a new cookbook. Having these activities that you enjoy is important to stay healthy and keep you from getting burnt out.
  • Choose your social activity carefully. Ironically enough, while social interaction is positive for personal health, social media can be damaging to mental health. On social media, we are flooded with everybody’s “highlight reel” – this means people are posting the positive things they want you to see. When people view these highlight reels, they start to feel inadequate, and feel bad if they don’t think they are doing as much in life as peers. In addition to these struggles on social media, people are quicker to lash out and make negative comments more easily when they are behind a screen compared to face to face interaction. Dealing with “trolls” can be exhausting and draining, and again, damaging to mental health. Taking a break from social media is a wise step if you are feeling overwhelmed and stressed by everything that is happening online.

See Green All Year

Taking care of financial health probably isn’t something you think about too often. Money is a subject that makes people uncomfortable, and it’s easier to spend money than it is to save. As a small business owner, this can be tricky when it comes to issues such as managing cash flow for your business. When focusing on finances, people tend to focus on paying off debt, and saving more, but this can get overwhelming fast. So how can you turn things around and plan for the new year?

  • Create a savings plan. We have previously talked about the different steps you can take when it comes to saving in your personal life and on business expenses. While saving money is great, it’s important to have an end goal in mind, or else it’s going to be harder to stick to your plan, and there is no point in saving for something aimless. In general, it’s best to be prepared for emergencies in case anything should go awry in your personal life or your small business. Saving up a solid emergency fund for your fixed expenses would be a good place to start with your savings goals. If you enjoy challenges and find them motivating, there are plenty of savings challenges to choose from to reach your goals. A common example is the 52-week savings challenge: you start by saving $1 the first week, and increase the amount each week until you’re saving $52 at week 52. If you follow the challenge all the way through, you can expect to save $1,378 in one year.
  • Evaluate your expenses. Do you find yourself not having a clear picture of what your expenses are? For some, it’s easy for automatic expenses like unused subscriptions or gym memberships to continue each month, which is a big waste of money. Take inventory of what your expenses are and cut, or potentially try to negotiate a better price. If you’re struggling with cash flow in your small business, it could be helpful to take prioritize business expenses so you can continue to stay in the green, and pay your employees on time.
  • Help your future self. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment, which is sometimes a good thing, just not when it comes to your finances. It’s important to think about the day you want to close up shop, or pass onto somebody else, and take a break from working. Additionally, as a small business owner, helping your employees plan their future by offering a 401(k) plan is a great way to attract and retain good employees. The two common plans business owners choose between are a traditional 401(k) and a safe harbor 401(k). This new year, if you don’t already offer a 401(k) plan, or aren’t even contributing to one for yourself, spend a few minutes getting that started, and do your future self a favor.

Bottom Line

As you can see, being healthy comes in various forms. It may be slightly overwhelming to think about any changes you need to make, but just keep in mind that small changes make a difference, no matter the area you are trying to improve. The best thing you can do to improve your health, is to make a solid plan, set small goals for yourself, be realistic, and overall, be kind to yourself as you work towards your goals. Being a small business owner is an important and rewarding job and to keep your business being the best it can be, begins with you.