I’ll Get In Shape After This Proposal, and Other Lies We Tell Ourselves

The Number 1 Lie
The number 1 lie the general population tells themselves at the beginning of each new year: This year I will finally get in shape. I’m going to be a new person starting January 1! 

The number 1 lie people like us tell ourselves is: I’ll get in shape as soon as this proposal is over!

Staying healthy during a proposal is a test… (one with a high flunk-out rate)! We can all appreciate the stress and intensity of proposal time. You get out of normal routines of eating well, exercising, getting proper sleep, and self-care in general. 

It is tempting to turn to junk food or an evening cocktail to treat yourself and temporarily relieve the stress of the proposal. It is equally tempting to tell yourself, I just need to grind through this. I don’t have time to exercise now. The team needs me and I don’t want to let them down. 

The Importance of Having Self-integrity
You believe you’re putting the team’s and your boss’ needs first because you have integrity. You are a person of your word. You always meet your deadlines and you always keep your commitments. And of course, these are all fantastic professional attributes. But how can you claim you have integrity without having self-integrity? 

Self-integrity is about keeping the commitments you make to yourself.  Have you ever considered why we often think to ourselves that it is not okay to miss a commitment or break a promise to another person, but we are perfectly fine with breaking promises or commitments to ourselves routinely when it comes to our own physical and mental health?

You may feel like you are letting the team or your boss down if you take time for yourself to take care of your fitness. However, the opposite is true. You aren’t being selfish by taking time away from other commitments to invest into your own health. Better health enables you to become a better leader, employee, friend, spouse, significant other— a better version of yourself. Good health is about more than just the number on the scale. Here’s a list of 45 reasons to exercise that extend beyond weight loss.

How Proposal Pros can Stay Healthy all Year Long

Stretch that stress out.

Let’s face it — it’s “easier” to take the path of least resistance and be unhealthy than it is to get healthy. 

Or is it? 

The New York Times #1 bestselling author, James Clear, lays out easy and proven ways to build good habits and break bad ones in his book “Atomic Habits.” In a recent blog, he notes that he gets feedback everyday from readers thanking him for helping them get healthy or accomplish some other goal. 

Clearly (no pun intended) if it works for folks all over the world, Clear’s methodology may also benefit folks like us in proposals, capture, and business development. We have every reason NOT to be healthy, but if the methodology truly is “easy” it may be worth further exploration.

The 4 Laws of Better Habits
The controlling idea of Atomic Habits is that your tiny (or atomic) habits— repeated over time — form your identity; but you can build better habits replacing the undesirable habits and take on a new and improved identity. Clear outlines 4 Laws to building better habits:

Law 1: Make it Obvious – arrange your environment in a way that it “cues” you to do the habit you wish to adopt. For example, pack your gym bag the night before and put it by the garage door, so in the morning when you leave you can’t use “no clean laundry” as an excuse to not go to the gym.

Law 2: Make it Attractive – make the habit “irresistible.” Reward yourself only after doing the thing you need to do. For example, if you really want to check Facebook, first do the habit. After you pull out your phone, do 10 burpees, then check Facebook.

Law 3: Make it Easy – with repetition habits become more automatic. Make it easier to do the habit you want and harder to do the habits you don’t want. For example, hide the unhealthy food in the back of the refrigerator and put the healthy food in the front. 

Law 4: Make it Satisfying – to stick with a habit over the long-term, it must be satisfying. For example, find an accountability buddy whose company you enjoy that also shares your health and wellness goals. 

Elimination of Bad Habits
Eliminating bad habits is also important when you are trying to adopt healthy, new habits… (What? Eating a cheesecake isn’t a great choice of rewards after a five-mile run?) 

As proposal, capture, and BD professionals, sometimes it is the sheer amount of work in the day that stops us from adopting the healthy habits we want. It is not for lack of trying that we fail to change. It is the ringing phone, the overflowing email inbox, or the late night text message from the boss that stops us. 

Acclaimed podcaster and best-selling author of The 4-Hour Body and The 4-Hour Work Week and other books, Tim Ferris offers office workers advice on 9 habits to stop now in this now classic blog post. (I am personally guilty of about 8 of these.) 

7 Winning Tactics During the Proposal “Busy Season”
I have a well-used bag of tricks that I go back to throughout the year. Late winter is the season where each year, I harden my resolve to stay on track. I use these tactics and they tend to help during proposals.

  1. Exercise in the early morning before work. 
  2. Stock fridge with healthy meals and snacks and avoid carry-out
  3. Carry an over-sized, reusable water bottle to make it easier to drink more water throughout the day.
  4. Identify the other “gym rat” or “health nut” on the team. Use them as your accountability partner on your proposal team by casually asking about their workouts or runs that day. If one of you misses a day you can start giving each other flack. 
  5. Join an exercise class or running group where you make new friends and foster friendly competition.
  6. Even if there’s not enough time for a full workout, resolve to move every day—e.g. taking a mid-day walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from the entrance.
  7. Go to bed on time so you can sleep a minimum of 7 (preferably 8) hours.

Final Thoughts
The most important takeaway from this is to keep your self-integrity in tact. If you’ve committed to being healthy this 2021, put your health first. Nothing is more important. The labor and sacrifice in doing so is well worth the rewards you reap.

Thank you for reading. Please like, share, or comment on what was most valuable to you.


  • Jennifer Namvar

    I am a capture director, wife, mommy of 2 young kiddos, lover of travel, and fitness enthusiast from Fairfax, Virginia. I craft real-life stories about #govconlife to "edu-tain" capture, proposal, and BD pros. Shoot me an email at video@apmp-nca.org and connect with me on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifernamvar/