Tag Archives: motivation

Fitness Tidbits From One of the Best

In today’s post I wanted to share with you some of the musings from someone whom I consider to be one of the best in the business, Thomas Plummer. Mr. Plummer is a veteran in the fitness industry as both a trainer and business consultant for over 30 years. In July of 2019, I finally had the privilege of seeing Mr. Plummer for the first time in 25 years  at two sessions at the 2019 NSCA National Conference. I also got to speak with him personally at the hotel gift shop. As an astute follower of Mr. Plummer’s knowledge, I can tell you he shoots straight from the heart in telling the truth that most weak minded people would find insulting or offensive. I’ll let you decide for yourself as I share with you some of his clippings from recent posts/articles and see if you agree.

A Training Client’s Code Of Responsibility

  • I will find a coach whom I trust and stick to the plan. I will not try and outthink my trained professional.
  • I will accept who I am now and not try to be the person I was physically 20 years ago.
  • I understand that no matter how many times a week I go to the gym, there is no magic workout that will overcome a lousy lifestyle. If I want big change, I have to make big change, in not only how I approach fitness, but how I live too.
  • I will always remember that there will be days when I just don’t feel like it and even the act of just showing up and getting it done is far superior to doing nothing at all.
  • Good coaches lead but aren’t magicians. I still have to do the work if I want the change. My fitness is my responsibility.
  • I understand that the ultimate goal of any fitness plan is the quality of life. Looking good is nice, but living healthy and feeling great is everything in life and fitness.
  • I realize that about 99% of all the garbage on FB and YouTube may not be true and I will trust my coach instead of the magic exercise or supplement of the week.
  • I will not lie to my coach about food, or wine, or what I ate Sunday watching the game. And no matter what I say, I realize my body can’t lie and what i ate is what I wore in today so I might as well as write it all down.
  • My goal is to get to the point where I understand that fitness is motion, and motion is life, and the best day of my life is when I just go out for a long walk for the simple pleasure of moving that day.
  • I will understand that my coach is a professional, the same as everyone else who supports me in life, such as my doctor, accountant or chiropractor, and that I understand he or she needs to get paid decent money for putting up with my nonsense every week.

Things to Ask and Ponder Yourself

  • Why don’t you fight back?
  • When did you quit on yourself physically?
  • What day did you decide it is no longer worth taking care of your body?
  • If you are in your 30s and not happy with your body now, but not doing anything about it, what kind of health and body will you have ten years from now?
  • Isn’t being there to watch your kids grow up important enough to get you to move?
  • Is hanging on the back of the shopping cart because you are too lazy to stand up and walk the life you want?
  • Are bad food choices worth dying early?
  • Do you really want to spend your years watching others live full and active lives while you sit and do nothing but make excuses?
  • Do you use the time excuse when you spend hours a day staring at screens?
  • Do you use the money excuse when you could at least walk and hour a day and change your life?
  • Do you blame not knowing when you could hire a coach for only an hour a month if you don’t have much money to start you in motion?
  • If not now, then when?
  • When will you realize your life and how you live it is your choice?

Age is Not an Excuse

  • You choose your age.
  • You define your own age by the choices you make each day as to how you will live.
  • You can be in your 50s and choose to live as 35.
  • You can chase fitness and healthy food and have a body that screams 35.
  • You can jump rope, chase the grandkids, run on the beach, and love the one you love.
  • Or you can ignore your health, tell yourself 50 is getting older and you are slowing down, watch television for four hours a day, wear frumpy old lady clothes, wear the same hairstyle you did in high school and be 50 doing everything you can do to be 65.
  • You can be the 40-year-old guy with the too-much-time-at-a-desk forward head lean thing going on with the muscle-free rounded shoulders, old dude pleated pants to hide the belly (it doesn’t) and ignore that your choice of lifestyle is killing you, or you can fight back, join a gym, get a coach and turn back the clock to a mentality and body that says 30, not 40 looking a bad 60.
  • You can move, eat better, dress better, and realize age is just a condition of your mind and you choose to be the youngest version of yourself possible or you choose to live 20 years past your time.

The Choice is Yours

  • You choose to sit, others choose to move.
  • Most of the diseases of aging are self-inflicted and we know they are coming
  • You refuse to exercise, you are a self-inflicted statistic in the making…and you do know it is coming your way.
  • You just didn’t wake up some morning, stand in front of a mirror naked and realized, “how the hell did this happen to me? I look like a bad clay project done by a bunch of four-year-old drunks.”
  • You became that nasty artwork in the mirror by choice, by one lazy day at a time, by one donut as a snack, by too much, too much of everything bad for too long.
  • But today, if you choose, you can turn back the clock.

Best Wishes to Everyone

  • May you always keep your shoulders one inch wider than your hips.
  • May you always have a butt that only needs one chair. One butt, one seat; that is a basic rule of life.
  • May you always remember that if you are wearing it, then you ate it and if it is on the hips it came through the lips.
  • May you always remember that lying to your coach, and yourself, in your food journal helps no one. Entering one glass of wine, but drinking one bottle, does make it difficult to help you lose weight, although you might be fun to hang out with.
  • May you always have a belt buckle that points east and west, not mostly to the south.
  • May you always remember that hardcore purists die alone in the dark without friends. Being 90% good equals a life of health and friends.
  • May you always remember that the best day you will ever have in life is today. Doesn’t matter who you use to be. Doesn’t matter who you will be. Does matter who you are today.
  • May you always remember that your kids, family and friends are worth a few hours a day without your phone in your hand.
  • May you learn whomever wrote, “He who dies with the most toys wins” was wrong. He should have said, “He who dies with most experiences wins.” Life is about what you do and how you live, not about what you own.
  • May you always remember that not trying at all is worse than actual failure. Not trying because you don’t know where to begin is a lie you tell yourself because you are lazy. Do something, even if it is wrong, and keep moving forward. You can fix a mistake moving forward, you can’t ever fix doing nothing.
  • Always remember that even one small act of kindness changes someone else’s life, and maybe your own soul. Petty people who are continually angry are the people the world can do without. If you are one of those, grow up in 2020. Your friends and family will be grateful.
  • Always remember that no matter how bad your day is, somewhere in the world are people who don’t have fresh water, enough food or the simple safety we assume to be part of life. Even when life is tough, you should still be grateful for your life.

Learn the Power of Saying NO

  • Say no to drainers of life who expect you to carry their load.
  • Say no to anyone who wants your time and energy but gives nothing back.
  • Say no to taking on so many projects your own life and business hurts.
  • Say no to your television and get a life today.
  • Tell your phone you are breaking up and today I can’t scroll with you.
  • Say no to toxic people who do everything they can to keep you from succeeding.
  • World, today the answer is no to you, but for me, I am all about yes.
  • My life is short. I will only spend time with the ones I love or the ones who inspire.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

What Motivates You?

Motivation is defined as the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way. An individual’s motivation may be inspired by others or events (extrinsic motivation) or it may come from within the individual (intrinsic motivation). Motivation is of course different for everyone, but it begs the question, what motivates you? Is it intrinsic or extrinsic? Some people have no idea what motivates them while others will simply say they need motivation. I want to share with you a personal story, journey if you will, that just concluded for me in the hopes that perhaps you too can find some motivation and begin your own journey.

MS City to Shore

20 years ago I embarked on a journey I thought would be one and done. I liked riding my bike, so I was looking for some charitable event which involved riding endless miles on my bike. I came across the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s annual City to Shore Bike Tour, or MS 150 as it was known back then. The 150 represented the 75 miles from Cherry Hill, New Jersey to Ocean City, New Jersey and back across over two days. Perfect! I also had the honor, if you will, of knowing someone first hand who was living with this disease, my aunt’s sister Diane. As the years would go on and many rides later, my sister in law Susan was also diagnosed with MS. Multiple sclerosis is a progressive disease that causes damage to the central nervous system (CNS), manifested in outward and silent symptoms. Although there is no cure yet for MS, many treatments are available that can help slow the progression of the disease, which is why I continued to fundraise in hopes that even more treatments could be found and perhaps even one day a cure. So one year quickly became 20, and every year I looked forward to the next. The inspiration and motivation I drew from those who lived with the disease pushed me on even further. So you might be asking, why stop now? And the answer is simple – to find other ways to continue to help those in need.

The “Road” Tests

I had every reason not to ride a second year after an incident that occurred my very first year. About 27 miles from the finish (I had chosen to ride the now optional 100 miles on the first day; 75 the second) I had an awful crash. It was a completely freakish thing, but I had an open compound fracture of my right humerus and a broken right hand. Drawing on my own intrinsic motivation, I could not wait to get back on my bike again the following year and complete the ride, which I did. About 12 years later I crashed again in yet another freakish accident, but this time only skidded across the macadam with some flesh wounds. Unlike the first time however, I was able to keep riding and complete the ride, even more motivated this time to ride yet again. And then two years after that, an extremely freakish mechanical issue with my bike occurred as I had stripped the crank completely off of the bottom bracket with 8 miles to go, hence unable to finish the ride. So I rode again, and again. This ride had become such a huge motivational journey in not only the desire to help others, but also myself by not giving up due to setbacks. If those I was riding for weren’t giving up, then neither was I.

Your Turn

Perhaps for you it starts with a charity walk/run where families are encouraged with kids and animals in tow. It could be to support a cause that has meaning to you, or it could be just for fun to get you moving. Even better, maybe you’ll volunteer at any one of the hundreds of events held locally (they’re always in need of volunteers) to support those participating. Many volunteers find their motivation at the very events they support and then become a participant the following year. They became motivated to do what they had seen others finish. While there’s no perfect time to get started, why not make it now? No matter the event, I can’t even put into words the euphoria I feel every time I cross a finish line about what I just accomplished. So find something that motivates you, and go after that euphoric feeling. And don’t worry about what others might think, because believe me when I tell you that everyone at any event is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone about to partake in the journey ahead. And while everyone prepares differently, ultimately everyone does the same course.

By the way, I’m not done riding yet.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Some Fun and Interesting Stats:

• 20 years riding in the annual MS City to Shore Bike Tour (one year was actually cancelled due to hurricane fall out)
• I’ve raised over $23,000.00 for the National MS Society
• I’ve biked over 3,000 miles
• I used two different bikes: Bianci Brava and Trek 5000
• I had two crashes; one really bad, one not so bad
• Rode through 2 hurricane-esque storms
• Met some incredible, inspirational people on the ride, including a Japanese woman who rides every year in her Sunday best and just this year, a 70 year old woman who just discovered riding a few years ago and was hanging with me
• My wife accompanied me for 2.5 rides
• My sister accompanied me for ½ ride
• Made some very good friendships with guys who have gone on to participate in triathlons and ultra marathons

12 Days of Fitness 2018: Day 12 – 31 Days

(This is part 12 of a 12 part series to provide you with some helpful health and fitness tips over the holiday season)

Today’s post I share with you something I saw in an article from my friends at My Fitness Pal earlier this year. It’s a challenge of sorts, 31 days to be exact, that you can start anytime, anywhere. All you have to do is be willing to follow it, stick to it, and keep a really good attitude. When the New Year hits, everyone gets all jazzed up about turning a new leaf. So no matter how trivial or mundane the task may seem always understand that little things add up to big things and success breeds more success. Give it a whirl and see if you are able to catch some success.

  1. Drink a glass of water first thing
  2. Take the stairs
  3. Prepare a vegetable in a new healthy way
  4. Put your phone away at meals
  5. Walk 500 extra steps today
  6. Log your water intake today
  7. Take stock of your progress and repeat one task from this week
  8. Log breakfast everyday this week
  9. Eat a new to you vegetable
  10. Get to bed 20 minutes earlier than usual
  11. Do 20 squats
  12. Go no-added sugar today
  13. Clear gadgets from your bedroom
  14. Take stock of your progress and repeat one task from this week
  15. Log lunch everyday this week
  16. Go meatless for dinner
  17. Get at least 7 hours of sleep tonight
  18. Eat an extra serving of something green and leafy
  19. Add 5 minutes of exercise to your day
  20. Take an Epsom salt bath
  21. Take stock of your progress and repeat one task from this week
  22. Log dinner and lunch everyday this week
  23. Take a new to you exercise class
  24. Get 30 minutes more of sleep tonight
  25. Do 10 push ups, 10 lunges, 10 squats
  26. Turn off your phone 1 hour prior to bedtime
  27. Hold a plank for 1 minute
  28. Foam roll before your workout
  29. Get outside
  30. Take a walking meeting
  31. Get 8 hours of sleep tonight

Happy Holidays to you and your families and blessings for a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year!

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

 

Just in case, here’s what you might have missed:

Day #1 – Weight Loss Once and For All
Day #2 – 10 Pieces of Equipment Everyone Needs to Work Out at Home
Day #3 – Are You Afraid of Eating Fruit?
Day #4 – Healthy Foods?
Day #5 – 21 Ways to Combat Emotional Eating
Day #6 – 8 Reasons Why Your Workout is Failing You
Day #7 – The Problem With Added Sugars
Day #8Dieting Made Simple
Day #9 – The Best Exercise You’re Probably Not Doing
Day #10 – Insulin and Insulin Resistance
Day #11 – What Does It Mean to be Healthy?

The Unspoken Truths of a Fitness Journey

download (1)Beginning a fitness journey can be a daunting task. You know and heard that it’s good for you and the benefits far outweigh any negatives associated with it. Yet there’s always that excuse or bit of reservation for beginning or continuing the journey. I’m not here to sugar coat this. For one, the journey is not easy. It requires a lot more than just going through the motions. Secondly, it’s a lifestyle – not just an activity, and finally, despite all the recommendations it all really boils down to what’s best for you. Even with all of the science and research that supports the benefits of a fitness journey, there are just some things that you need to come to expect that are experienced by everyone in their journey, regardless of the goal.

You Need to Define Your “Why”

This has to be the first and let me be clear – this does not mean setting a goal. Why do you exercise? Health reasons? Lose weight? Perform better in a sport or activity? More energy? Stress relief? Look better naked? Saying all the above is incorrect. Saying one or more of those is also incorrect. You need to define and focus on your “why”. Then and only then is it plausible that you may achieve some of those other benefits. The reason the “why” is so important is that it puts a laser focus on ALL of your choices, not just when it’s convenient or appropriate. Anything other than for yourself will not stand the test of time.

Somedays It Just Won’t Happen

News flash – not everyone is motivated all the time. As active as I am and as much as I know, trust me; there are days I would like to do nothing more than lay in a hammock all day long. You won’t always be motivated and that’s perfectly normal. You need to understand and appreciate that motivation is not what carries you through this journey. You have to embrace the process and be consistent. Consistently making excuses is not a good habit to long term success; you’re kidding no one but yourself. Even on those days when you just aren’t feeling it, do something active anyway. Sometimes even something can be better than nothing.

Fitness Is Not Linear

Progress would be great if everything was always on the up but it’s not. Does your stock portfolio always progress by going up? Fitness is measured on a continuum with peaks and valleys. There will be periods of great progress and periods of slow or stagnant progress. Even the top athletes of the world cycle their training so as not always to feel as if they’re hitting the accelerator 24/7/365.  If you’re consistent with your exercise, learn the difference between slow progress and stagnation. Don’t keep doing the same thing over and over again, hoping for a different result

Don’t Compare Apples to Oranges

One of the worst things that you can do as you go about this journey is compare yourself to others. There will always be someone out there who is fitter than you, leaner than you, stronger than you, and so forth. Don’t pay attention to them. What works for some may or may not work for you. This is your journey so the only person you need to worry about is yourself. The only comparison you ever need to make is are you better than you were yesterday.

Don’t Be a Hero

Fitness is not a competition. In a society full of ego and judging it’s easy to get sucked into a battle that either you have no place being in or constantly fight with no ammunition. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the great changes that are taking place, and you might think that more must be better. Unfortunately, that usually leads to slowed progress, burnout, illness or injury. No one gets an award for doing multiple workouts a day, multiple times per week. Appreciate that rest is not a sign of weakness; it is a vital component of process.

Nothing Wrong With Having Fun

It’s called “working out” for a reason but the minute it starts to be more like work, fitness is lost. When I’m speaking to groups I will ask how many people brush their teeth. Without a doubt everyone’s hand goes up. When I ask how many people enjoy brushing their teeth, I’ll be lucky if two hands go up. The point of this is to show that most people brush their teeth because they know of the dental and overall health benefits to doing so despite not enjoying the process. Exercise has tremendous benefits but unlike brushing your teeth, you have numerous ways to enjoy that process. Find something that brings you an inner sense of joy—something that makes you feel alive when you do it, and that’ll be the workout that changes the way you view fitness. When you enjoy the activity, it won’t feel like work and you’ll naturally want to exercise regularly.

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Getting Into The March Madness Spirit

imagesI am not a fan of college basketball, that is until it’s time for March Madness. 68 of the best teams in college basketball are selected to play in a single elimination tournament bracket where every game can be your last or another step to the coveted NCAA championship. It’s a great stage of athletes playing with a survival mentality and an opportunity for the underdog, little known team to have a chance at grabbing some wins and headlines when no one even gave them a mention previously. So you’re probably wondering what this has to do at all with health and fitness. As I appreciate every day, there’s a lesson to be learned at every corner and no one taught better lessons than former basketball player and coach, John Wooden.

Words of Wisdom

John Wooden, nicknamed the “Wizard of Westwood,” was head men’s basketball coach at UCLA where he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period—seven of which were consecutive. He was beloved by all players and coaches, especially some of his own such as Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. But Coach Wooden was also renowned for his short and inspirational messages he shared with his players on how to be successful not only at basketball but in life. Following is a list of some of his best all time one liners. Enjoy as there is great lessons in every one of them no matter what walk of life you lead.

  • There are no shortcuts
  • Always be progressing
  • Give it away to get it back
  • If you wish to be heard, listen
  • Laugh with others, never at them
  • Never mistake activity for achievement
  • Nothing is stronger than gentleness
  • Persistence is stronger than failure
  • There is no substitute for hard work
  • We get stronger when we test ourselves
  • Happiness begins where selfishness ends
  • You are more influential than you think
  • Failing to prepare is preparing to fail
  • Discipline yourself and others won’t need to
  • Learn from the past, don’t live in the past
  • Fear no opponent but respect every opponent
  • Hard work is the difference. Very hard work
  • Take what’s available and make the most of it
  • You never fail if you know you did your best
  • When you are through learning, you are through
  • What is right is more important than who is right
  • The time to make friends is before you need them
  • The worthy opponent brings out the very best in you
  • There is a price to be paid for achieving anything
  • You can do more good by being good than any other way
  • The difficult challenge provides the best opportunity
  • Once the opportunity arises, it’s too late to prepare
  • Greatness is being your best when your best is needed
  • Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating
  • The smallest good deed is better than the best intention
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation
  • Tell the truth, that way you don’t have to remember a story
  • Everybody has a suggestion, not everybody has a decision
  • For every artificial peak you create, there is a valley
  • Be interested in finding the best way, not in having your own way
  • Time spent getting even would be better spent trying to get ahead
  • Being average means you’re as close to the bottom as you are to the top
  • Ability can get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there
  • You can’t control what happens to you, but you can control how you react

Til next time, train smart, eat well, and be better.

Building Success Through Motivation

How-to-Build-Up-Team-Spirit-for-Small-Business-Success-300x199One of my favorite sayings is a Chinese proverb that says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”.  As a fitness professional, I am always working with those who are highly motivated or who are seeking to be motivated.  But what exactly does it mean to be motivated and is there a difference between those that are and those that are not?  The answer is really quite simple: those that are successful have taken that critical first step.

The root word of motivation is “motive.” The definition of motive is, “a reason to act.”  Most can pinpoint a “reason to act”: need for better health; wish for more money; want to lose a few pounds; a desire to play more, work less, etc. While it is certainly important to have a reason to be motivated, most only identify the reason but fail on the follow through, or the first step.  The first step is not simply identifying the motive; that’s just lip service.  The real and first critical step is taking action and taking action requires a thought process that comes to some naturally and to others requires a little nudge. These lessons can easily be learned by simply observing a baby.

Imagine a baby who on its own learns to crawl, then learns to stand, then ultimately learns to walk. Does the baby have to be motivated to take those steps? No. They come naturally.  But when the baby wants to eat, it will take the necessary steps to ensure that he/she is fed (parents are all too familiar with this).  The lesson here is that if you are comfortable with a crawl, then you will watch everyone else go by.  But if you are truly hungry, you will do whatever it takes to accomplish the task.  Getting motivated has more to do with seeing the end result, the benefit, than it does the steps involved in the process.  However, to begin that journey, you still must take those initial and critical steps in getting and staying motivated.

  1. Have a vision for your life. This is the cognitive or rational side of motivation. It is your vision. You have to have a vision that is big enough to motivate you. If you are making $50,000 a year, it isn’t going to motivate you to set your goal at $52,000 a year. You just won’t get motivated for that because the reward isn’t enough. Maybe $70,000 a year would work for you. Set out a vision and a strategy for getting there. Have a plan and work the plan.
  2. Get motivated every day. It is possible that your initial motivation doesn’t last for whatever reason.  Therefore, you should renew it each and every day.  It doesn’t make motivation a bad thing. You simply have to realize that if you want to stay motivated over the long term, it is something you will have to apply to each and every day.
  3. Fuel your passion. Much of motivation is emotional. Emotion is a powerful force in getting us going. Passion is an emotion, so fuel your passion. Set yourself on a course to have a consuming desire for your goal, whatever it is. Do whatever you can to feel the emotion and use it to your advantage!
  4. Work hard enough to get results. You can build on your motivation by getting results. People want the quick fix; the prize; the instant gratification of achieving something without doing the necessary or required ground work. But there is simply no denying it – the harder you work, the more results you will get and the more results you get, the more you will be motivated to get more. These things all build on one another.
  5. Ride the momentum when it comes. Sometimes you will just be “on” and sometimes you won’t. It is the cycle of life. When you aren’t clicking, put your head down and plug away. When you are clicking, pour it on because momentum will help you get larger gains in a shorter period of time with less energy. That is the Momentum Equation! When you are feeling good about how your work is going, ride the momentum and get as much out of it as you can!
  6. Put good materials into your mind. Read and listen. Read good books. Read books that teach you new ideas and skills. Read books that tell the stories of successful people. Buy them, read them, and get motivated! Buy great music and listen to it.  Listen to podcasts, radio shows, lectures, seminars, or motivational tapes that do more to inspire your mind than aggravate it.

Success is just a step away.  Take it one step at a time and the journey will be worth the trip.

Featured in September 2008 Issue of 422 Business Advisor

Overstressed and Overworked

imagesTo paraphrase a very familiar patriotic tune, “Oh beautiful for spacious skies……….from sea to shining sea.”, America truly is a magnificent place to live.  Built on the values of our forefathers, the United States grew from a mere thirteen colonies to fifty strong and thriving states. Now within its third century, the United States sits as one of the most powerful nations in the world.  The question is, is it worth it and what does it ultimately cost?

As they say, getting to the top does not come easy.  Hard work and a little bit of luck go a long way.  However, consider that even with all of the advances in technology and the conveniences of the modern day world, that employers lose an estimated $150 billion annually in revenue due to stress related costs.  In today’s work force, employers and employees alike are forced to do more with less in addition to working long hours, which puts them under constant pressure to do their jobs faster and better. Stress in the workplace can result from any one of several situations, such as a need to respond to others’ demands and timetables with little control over events, family responsibilities, financial dilemmas, etc. The demands placed upon us often times can exceed our resources and when this happens, feelings of anger, disappointment, and frustration increase. Over time, this situation can result in working environments where employee motivation is negatively affected by increasing stress levels, thus resulting in decreased performance, increased absenteeism and higher health care costs. To an employer, stress costs time lost in productivity, absenteeism, poor decision making, stress related mental illness and substance abuse.

A three year study of a major corporation revealed an alarmingly disturbing association between stress and its affects on time, productivity, and money lost at work.

  • 25% of Americans suffer from a mental health problem rooted in stress.
  • 75% of Americans describe their jobs as stressful.
  • 50% of workdays lost annually in the US are stress related.
  • Over 50% of work days lost annually in the US are stress related.
  • Over 46% of all employees are stressed to the point of burnout.
  • One out of four American workers suffers a mental health problem rooted in stress.
  • In 2000, those at-risk for stress related illnesses were revealed as the costliest risk factor, accounting for $6 million, or 7.9%, of total expenditures.
  • In 2001, health care spending by employers averaged $5,266 per employee.
  • In 2004, approximately 75% of Americans described their jobs as stressful, which clearly links stress to high health care costs.

Research continually reveals that emotional stress has an immediate and profound affect on our daily performance.   Furthermore, it contributes to our health problems, and as Americans, we absorb the rising health care costs.  But is it that we are just simply overstressed, or are we overworked?

In a Chicago Tribune article titled, “Call It a Day America” (May 2002), a survey had showed that 37% of American workers work more than 50 hours per week.  It also discovered that Americans have the least amount of vacation time in the industrialized world, averaging two weeks per year as compared with European workers who average six. In Europe, vacation is a guaranteed right mandated by federal statutes.  Here in the States, there are no legal rights to a paid vacation. Vacation time however, should be a higher priority when you consider that the average American works 12.5 weeks more than German workers, 6.5 weeks more than British workers, and 6.0 weeks more than they did 20 years ago.   There could be numerous reasons as to why we are reluctant to take time off from work, such as not wanting to fall behind schedule or thinking our bosses will perceive us as not working hard enough. But in the long run, it puts us all at risk for any one of the stress-related illnesses.  Basically, we are overworked and over our heads by trying to do it all, all the time.

In the New Year, make it a point to set time aside not only to vacation, but to devote time to unwinding or de-stressing from your daily grind.  Activities like exercise, yoga, massage, meditation, reading books, etc. can be both a distraction and a benefit to your health.  Do whatever you can to not be swept into the rut and take care of yourself.  Afterall, it is one beautiful country to enjoy, “…from sea to shining sea!”

Featured in October 2006 Issue of 422 Business Advisor