I’m the furthest thing from a Zen monk. But I am fascinated by their methods and the simplicity in which they live their lives. Their calm and peace no matter the situation and their concentration and mindfulness of every activity. It is really impressive.

As a fitness entrepreneur, you already know that you can’t live a completely Zen lifestyle. There are too many things to balance, too many stressors, too many moving parts to live every day and every moment mindfully.

But what if you just focused on a few Zen-like characteristics? I personally think your life will be much more enriching and enjoyable. Because if you’re not careful, a day becomes a week becomes a month becomes a year. You blink, and it’s all a memory.

Here are 5 ways to me more mindful, appreciative, and to simply start enjoying the moments before they become a memory.

1. Breathe. That’s it, just breathe. As you inhale right now think about your chest filling up with air. Think about your breath as you exhale that same air after it has served its purpose in your body. Something as simple as pausing for a moment to think about your breathing can have a profound effect on your overall well being. Close your eyes for a moment and think only about the air you’re breathing in and the air you’re breathing out. Think about nothing else. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Guess what? You just meditated and performed one of the healthiest activities you can do for yourself. If you can pause a few moments every day just like that, and think of only your breathing and block out the rest of the world, you’re on your way to a much healthier mind and life.

2. Do only one thing at a time. This is tough for us. A fitness entrepreneur wears every hat imaginable, from manager and trainer to salesperson and janitor. It seems impossible to focus on only one task at a time, but I encourage you to try.

If you find yourself with a to-do list a mile long, a dozen partially finished projects, phone calls to make, letters to mail, marketing to plan, an office to organize, a gym to clean, members to pay attention to, bills to pay, programs to design… Whew! It’s not easy to focus on one thing at a time. But do it anyway. Close your door, put on your headphones, and don’t allow any interruptions while you’re working on that task.

3. Complete that one thing. In addition to focusing on only one task at a time, you must learn to complete that task. Stop letting distractions rule your life. How many 15 minute tasks do you have on your list that have ultimately taken a week or more because you bounce from one task to the next? I lived many many years of my life thinking that multi-tasking was one of my greatest skills. I now realize in my elder years that multi-tasking is the worst thing a person could ever do. The old adage “You get paid for done” applies here. Single-tasking and completing a task before moving on to the next is the key.

Having 12 browser windows open, moving a simple task from yesterday’s to-do list to today’s, then finding yourself having to move it to tomorrow’s to-do list isn’t fun, nor is it productive. Those minutes slipped by and became hours, and trying to multitask is actually keeping you from owning your life because you won’t focus for 15 minutes to take one of those tasks to completion. The most productive people I know focus on one task at a time until they can mark it off of their to-do list.

4. Carve out some “Me” time. Don’t rush into your day. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and sit and breathe and sip on that cup of coffee rather than racing out of the house with a to go mug, scrambling to get to the gym. Take a nap. Plan a date on Friday with your spouse or significant other. Have dinner with your family. Walk your dog and leave your phone at home. Book a vacation for this Summer.

It is important to have moments and events to look forward to. As ironic as it sounds, I believe that the more time you take for yourself and the more fun things you have to look forward to, the more productive you are. I’m sure there is an official name for this phenomenon, but I don’t know it. I do know though that those moments when you’re not scrambling through your day, the moments when you can relax or de-stress or enjoy the moment for the moment’s sake, those are the best parts of your day and of your life.

5. Focus on the necessary. What activities, if completed today, will provide the most meaning and satisfaction to your life? Once you’ve identified a few, pick the most important and do it. Who are the most important people in your life? Tell them right now how much they mean to you.

What else is necessary and unnecessary in your life?  Do you need 20 pairs of shoes, a $500 car payment or that 70″ television? Maybe. Only you know what is truly important to you. Get rid of the rest. As my friend Tyler Durden says, “The things that you own end up owning you“.  Shed the unnecessary, focus on the necessary, and live your life with fewer burdens.

I’m sure there are plenty of other ways for you to be more Zen-like, but that list above I feel is a great start. Once I started focusing on the importance of the little things, the necessary things, I became a better, more productive, and happier person.

Not enough people build their lifestyles and wellbeing into the design of their business. When the business says jump, you say how high and you allow it to run your life day after day after day. Certainly you didn’t skip the grind of corporate America, simply to find yourself in a daily grind of your own. Take control of your business, work the schedule that makes you happiest, focus on the things you love most, and eliminate, delegate, or automate the rest.

And don’t forget to breathe.

    30 replies to "Zen and the Art of Gym Ownership"

    • Stacie

      Love it!

    • Marcus

      Hey Curtis. I try to be mindful every day of my actions. But you’re right, since starting the studio last year I find myself putting out fire after fire, and in turn, burning out my own fire. Thank you for the reminder of the simple ways to center myself to lead a more focused life.

    • Jacob Evans

      Good stuff here guys. Looking forward to more!

    • Asher

      This was a great reminder. Thanks Chris!

    • Hey brother.. Solid piece. I wish you’d write these more often because they always get me motivated! Until the next one…

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