Each month in this column I ask a different question to you, the ExitEvent Entrepreneur. Thought provoking questions that are meant to get you to sit back and think. Each month I offer insight into the question, along with common mistakes made by (us) entrepreneurs, and a key take-away for you to think more about. My goal – to increase your self-awareness as an entrepreneur and a leader.

Insight— January is the month that is always the most predictable. The gym in our office building was quiet throughout the year, allowing those of us who chose to work out consistently a fairly private facility. But every January, things would change rapidly. The gym would be packed…you guessed it…New Year’s resolutions to get in better shape.

But as I said, January was predictable and so was February. Come February 1, the gym was semi-private again because the majority of people who made those resolutions had broken them…every year for 15 years the same thing happened. The sprinters gave way to the marathoners.

Common Mistake made— Entrepreneurs are indeed a different breed and for that, cheers to a fantastic 2017! But let’s face it, reacting is never as good as being proactive, especially when it pertains to your own health. And as we begin 2017, the experience I shared above is happening all over the country and the world. People realize that they have been inconsistent when it comes to their health and they jump in full force in the beginning of the year. Some of the most common responses I have heard over the past 27 entrepreneurial years are:

  • “I will work out more once we get through this startup phase”
  • “I will focus more on my health when we get through this rough patch in business”
  • “I will work out later today when the pace slows down”
  • “No time to work out- we are changing the world!”

Key Take-away— Regardless of whether we were in a startup phase, growing or downsizing rapidly, with or without children at home, and regardless of the number of employees we had, I chose to put my health at the top of the list of priorities. I chose to set an example for those who worked for me that it was not just okay, but encouraged to spend part of your day taking care of yourself and your own health.

We bought gym memberships—and we did not spend every day of our entrepreneurial lives eating breakfast, lunch and dinners at our desk!

“It is only when the rich are sick that they feel the impotence of wealth” —Charles Caleb Colton

I write this column as a 55-year entrepreneurial veteran who has been through every up and down imaginable, and through it all I kept the marathon perspective when it came to my health. I scheduled it first every day. When I packed for a trip I packed first for the workout that I could fit in during my travels. I chose to make it a priority and at age 55 it is indeed the greatest gift I have ever given myself. Most columns the word “we” will show up much often but I use the word “I” in this one to emphasize the point that this is a very personal issue for each and every one of us to think more about.

I am challenging all of you to make your own health a priority, and to allow yourself to be selfish in this one area of your life. It is indeed one of the rare cases when being selfish is actually the right model to set for the rest of your organization. There is time to take care of yourself and change the world, if you take on the marathon mindset instead of the sprinter mentality.

In fact, I had tremendous ideas come to me as I was working out over the years, and you will too. That is if you give yourself the chance and permission to live a life that includes putting your health as a top priority. It is indeed the gift that keeps on giving.

So when is your next health date with yourself?