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From Where We Sit

For a healthy and succesful you

James Joseph Benjamin J. Araullo James Joseph Benjamin J. Araullo

A few months ago, I finally had my executive checkup after years of putting it off for fear of what the results might be. If you knew about my unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity, you would be cautious as well. In retrospect, it was a silly reason, and so I decided to just go ahead and get it over with.

The results were not as bad as I thought, but neither were they as good as they should be. They found me overweight, or “obese,” as I was way over the recommended weight range for my height and age. The doctor explained to me what could happen in the long term if I didn’t make certain lifestyle changes. It was definitely a wakeup call, especially for a father of a five-year-old whom I intend to see grow up well into his manhood.

Since that day, I resolved to live healthier. From my research, I realized that achieving a desired fitness level is a lot like reaching your career goals. There are things to learn that are applicable to both.

Eating right and exercise are what we often hear suggested by people when they talk about a healthier lifestyle. Proper nutrition and consistent strength training are the foundation of achieving your fitness goals. These two lifestyle changes must go hand in hand.

Likewise, in our career, we need to balance the development of our hard and soft skills. Just like in nutrition where we need to have a balanced diet, or in strength training in which we need to train all the muscle groups, we need to cultivate both our hard and soft skills, and not neglect one in favor of the other.

As we journey to attain our fitness objectives, we may encounter plateaus. Plateaus often cause an abrupt halt to the progress that had already been attained, such as weight loss or muscle gain. Plateauing may often discourage us from pushing some more to lose those final five pounds. In overcoming fitness plateaus, the best advice is to shake things up. It is important to regularly change our workout routine and diet to give our body new challenges that would break through that plateau.

Similarly, in our careers, we need to constantly challenge ourselves and adapt to the changing times, or else we get too comfortable in our current position and stop seeking out new challenges or opportunities.

Attaining our fitness goals may sometimes take longer than expected. The challenge is how to trust the process and be patient. You cannot expect to lose 25 pounds overnight or hope to achieve 3 percent body fat from your current 25 percent after just a few sessions of exercise. It’s all about the grind and being consistent in your healthy habits day after day.

As I relate this to our professional careers, we need to grind it out and gain valuable experience along the way to reach our career goals.

A promotion is not earned overnight, or after a month’s hard work. We have to work for it, and it takes time.

Lastly, make sure to have fun. I know it’s an old adage, but it still rings true. Eating right does not have to mean eating bland food, or that running is too boring, too exhausting, or whatever. There are a lot of recipes out there that are both nutritious and delicious. Also, there are different kinds of exercise aside from the traditional resistance exercises, such as high intensity interval training or tabata training.

Similarly, with our careers, work does not have to be all drudgery. We can volunteer for new roles or responsibilities that will refresh our focus and excite us at the same time. We can also initiate passion projects that are both beneficial to the organization and ourselves.

I did make some changes to my lifestyle, which I am truly proud of. I am able to eat a more balanced diet and exercise a whole lot more. As a result, I am now within the recommended weight range and no longer considered “obese.” I feel a significant difference in my body. I am lighter and more energetic. Seeing my efforts come into fruition only made me hungrier (pun intended) to be more fit.

Such can be applied to our careers as well: even if we have accomplished the target we initially set for ourselves, we need to keep moving ahead and set new and higher goals each time an old one has been reached.

James Araullo is a senior manager with Audit & Assurance at P&A Grant Thornton. P&A Grant Thornton is one of the leading audit, tax, advisory and outsourcing firms in the Philippines, with 21 partners and more than 850 staff members. For your comments, please email or For more information about P&A Grant Thornton, visit our website


As published in The Manila Times, dated 01 November 2017