How to Approach Fitness Like a Business and Succeed

Gillian Sisley

I’m a successful entrepreneur, but am garbage at keeping an active lifestyle. Can I use what I’ve learned from business-owning to finally achieve a healthy level of regular exercise?
Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

There are certain things in life I seem to be relatively successful at.

I’m fairly decent at cooking — I can freestyle a recipe and hit it out of the park.

I’m pretty good at giving loved ones inspirational and motivating pep talks now and again.

I even seem to have a knack for building my own businesses.

And yet, there is one area of my life I’m entirely garbage at — exercising.

I believe in the undeniable importance of being healthy, but am just pathetic at maintaining a regular and necessary exercise routine.

This has been a lifelong challenge of mine, and it’s still a work in progress.

I spent a lot of time recognizing that my complex history with self-image was a big factor in this challenge, but that grace period can only go so far — and it’s about time I stop using my history of body image issues as an excuse to not pursue fitness now.

So, I started to wonder — if I’m not good at exercising in general, what’s something that I am good at that I can replicate to increase my chances of success?

The answer hit me like a bolt of lightning — the thing I’ve realized I’m really good at? Being a business owner.

That got me thinking — if I’m looking to succeed at fitness, could I achieve that by using the same mindset and tools I use to build successful businesses?

As I mapped out my strategies for success, it all started to make sense — turning my fitness journey and relationship with exercise completely on its head.

Go with the seasons.

I believe in businesses having seasons. That theory has served me very, very well over the years.

Spring and summer are for planting seeds and watching them grow, adapting the ideas that aren’t working as well, and watering life into the ones that are thriving.

Fall is when we collect our harvest and celebrate our successes, while also analyzing the data and figuring out why the things that went wrong didn’t work.

Winter is for rest and hibernation, and in this period we strategize our next steps for the new year, preparing to plant new seeds.

Exercise should be no different.

It should be okay to have some more active seasons compared to others.

The goal in my mind isn’t to kill it everyday, it’s to develop a practice that will allow for long-term success that is sustainable.

I don’t hustle 24/7 in my own business — I allow for seasons of rest and restoration.

So why do I not show myself that same grace when it comes to exercising? Instead, I shame myself for not doing enough which actually empowers me into total inaction.

There’s nothing healthy or happy about that process.

Do what is working in the present.

Some weeks I work exclusively from my office, others I work from my couch.

Sometimes I even pop into a coffee shop.

My decision to work any which day is decided by what I think will set me up for the most success.

Fitness should be no different.

While in business I can easily adapt to change and be flexible, when it comes working out I am stubborn and set in my ways.

All summer of this year, I claimed it was “running season”. Because last year I ran so much, I would not budge from this idea.

In the entire summer I went out jogging one time.

Jogging obviously wasn’t working for me, and yet I continued to beat the dead horse.

Time to allow for some of that every important flexibility!

Do the work in a space that inspires you.

As a professional, it’s paramount that I keep my creative juices flowing. No flow means no work, no work means no money.

I put a lot of effort into my home office. I decked it out with a blank and pops of colour, and my pièce de resistance is an entire wall of curtain lights to keep me feeling cozy and inspired.

I love working in my home office.

So while my desk is in this dreamy space, take a wild guess where my elliptical and work out gear was hanging out?

You guessed it — my dark, dingy, unfinished basement where it’s cold, and no one really wants to go.

Believe you me, there’s nothing inspiring about that basement.

That setup certainly wouldn’t see me as successful in my fitness journey over the winter.

So what did I do?

I moved my elliptical and work out gear up to my office.

Since making that move, working out is dreamier and more enjoyable.

Additionally, as my elliptical sits opposite my desk, I’m looking at my elliptical machine throughout my work day to remind myself to exercise later, which certainly assists in holding myself accountable and being consistent.

Final word.

To achieve any form of success, you must acknowledge both your strengths and weaknesses and find a way to work with both of them.

Absolutely no one is perfect.

We all have weaknesses and pitfalls that will get in the way of our success.

We all have strategies and life hacks that will work, and many others that will not.

Often, what works for someone else may not work for us.

Like many things, the process of elimination comes into play here. And in this process, that means there will be many attempts that may not work out.

There may be some falls, and some minor failures. Those are inevitable.

It’s not whether or not you fail that matters— because you definitely will.

What counts is whether or not you get up again, following those failures.

The best way to ensure failure is to stop doing something entirely.

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