Losing weight tops every New Year’s resolution list. If you are looking for a healthier lifestyle, what if you approached weight loss differently this year? Here are three ideas on new ways to lighten your load — and I’m not just talking about shedding pounds.
The weight loss struggle is real, literally and figuratively. Many leaders struggle with imposter syndrome, work/life balance issues and feeling overwhelmed, at times experiencing these simultaneously. These stressors can feel like you are carrying an extra 15 pounds or more around. Pounds not seen on a scale can affect your health as much as body weight pounds.
A leader’s attention is pulled in all directions. The complexity and shear number of responsibilities a leader takes on can at times feel daunting and more than you can handle. The constancy of this state causes stress, which leads to feeling overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed has nothing to do with how smart a leader is; rather it is the capacity of the mind and body to continually work in a stressful state. Staying in this vicious cycle will cause cognitive fatigue in anyone and impacts a leader’s ability to be effective and make good decisions.
When recognizing overwhelm, a good decision would be to make a New Year’s resolution to lighten the load. Determining what is truly essential, such as focusing on one priority versus 10 at a time, can help a leader decide what to forgo and what to push to a later date. Understanding what needs a leader’s attention and what can be delegated is another way to shed those invisible pounds.
Leaders often display perfectionistic tendencies. The drive to always be perfect, look perfect and act perfect so that no one on the team figures out that you don’t know all of the answers and — questions why you are the leader — is tiring. The stress eventually allows self-doubt to creep in and imposter syndrome takes hold. Imposter syndrome is the feeling that you do not deserve to be in the role you are in regardless of all of the experience, hard work and education you put in to get you there. This affects the leader emotionally and can hinder a leader’s effectiveness and career progression. Imposter syndrome can manifest itself in different forms such as procrastination, affecting the whole team in depleting time, resources and employee morale. Dr. Brene Brown calls perfectionism “the 20-ton shield,” saying, “We carry it around thinking it’s going to protect us from being hurt. But it protects us from being seen.” If this resonates with you, wouldn’t dropping the weight of those 20-tons be a great New Year’s resolution?
Work/life balance seems to be a myth, and can be an entire article. What isn’t a myth is that, in speaking with leaders, many confirm they take their work to bed. This means a laptop, cell phone, tablet, folders and possibly more surround the place meant to help them relax and recharge. Not only does this contribute to overwhelm, but it also doesn’t allow the mind enough down time or time to bond with loved ones. Everyone needs a sacred space where work does not penetrate personal life, and your bed should be one of these spaces. Creating a healthy boundary between your workspace and wellness space, and not an electronic one, will allow your mind and body the opportunity to replenish the energy you use throughout the day, including getting a good night’s rest.
Lightening your load by learning to delegate, reprioritizing what is essential or allowing your true self to be seen instead of striving for perfection may not be accomplished overnight. They can be accomplished by establishing new habits in 2022, and potentially achieved in 120 days if you are diligent and also allow yourself grace on the days you blow it.
So how can you lose weight overnight? On average a laptop weighs 3 pounds, a tablet weighs 2 pounds and a phone (depending on its cover) can weigh 1 pound. If you were to remove all of these devices from your bed, you could lose 6 pounds overnight. And that’s a great place to start in your New Year’s resolution.
Laura Bonich is the founder and CEO of The Leaders’ Lighthouse. Laura has over 20 years of restaurant and hospitality industry leadership and sales experience with brands including Burger King, H.J. Heinz, Campbell’s and more. Her areas of expertise are leadership development, solution-based sales and emotional intelligence. Laura also hosts the Nourishing Talk Podcast, published on Apple Podcasts and Spotify