One of the most common reasons people tell me they struggle with working out is time. I know this story very well because it’s the same reason I used years ago.
I worked full time, had two small children and my life was always on overdrive. I was tired all the time so didn’t see how I could possibly add a workout to my schedule. Where would I find the energy much less the time to do it?
It took a health scare for me to make getting active a priority. It’s kinda embarrassing for me now when I think about it. Why didn’t I care about me enough to make my own well being a priority?
Maybe I’ll do some self analyzation in another article to talk about that! 🤔
Looking back on it all, I can tell you what had to change and what actually made a difference. If you want this to work for you, you’ll have to be willing to do three things first.
- Value yourself enough to change.
- Be honest with yourself about yourself.
- Call yourself out on any crap and lameness that you are feeding yourself. (aka, your list of excuses)
Are you ready for this? Great, let’s go!
We have two tasks to accomplish here.
First, analyze the current situation.
- What does your life look like now?
- What’s your schedule?
- What are you doing on repeat every day?
Then we need to decide how when and where to add some time for exercise to your life.
Analyze your days.
Review how you are currently spending your time.
Write down everything you do in your typical day from the time you wake till the time you go to sleep. Your list should include time blocks. For example…
5 am to 6 am: Wake and prep for work.
6 am to 6:30 am: Get the kids out the door for school.
6:30 am to 7 am: Drive to work
If it’s different for different days, do one of these for each day of the week.
Be ruthlessly detailed and painfully honest when mapping our your typical days. If you spend 15 minutes in bed surfing the internet on your phone each morning, write down.
This is for your own self-reflection. I promise I won’t ask you to share it on Instagram. You just need to be brutally honest with yourself about where your time goes.
Now, grab two different color pens, crayons, highlighters or whatever you can use to color code things on the daily schedules you just mapped out. Mark each activity as follows:
- Color 1- Need to do.
- Color 2- Optional or can you delegate it.
Color code everything on your list based on these categories.
What are you saying yes to when you should be saying no?
At the end of this exercise, you will find yourself in one of two places.
- You will have a clear view of your current time wasters.
- You will have everything marked as a “need to do”.
If you land in place two, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that you aren’t being completely honest with yourself. Scroll back up to the beginning of this article, review that list of three, let those marinate in your mind for a bit, and then do this exercise again. I’ll wait….
Did you land in place one this time? Awesome! Next steps…
Ok, now we’re going to take what you learned about yourself and create some “make time for a healthy self” magic!
Decide what healthy activity do you want to adopt.
Remember, right now you are choosing something to add, not something to subtract.
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to overwhelm you by adding more to your already full plate. Subtraction is part of this process as well and we’ll get to it later so keep reading.
What do you want to do to get active?
- Take walks?
- Ride your bike?
- Go on hikes?
- Try a spin class?
- Start doing push-ups?
- Finally, use the treadmill you bought during the New Year's resolution season last January? I’m not judging, I’ve done it too!
Got one? Great! Write it down and hang on to it. You’ll need it shortly.
Time for subtraction!
Choose one or more things from your “optional/delegatable” list and delete or delegate them.
I realize that for some of you, this will be like cutting off your hand. Understand that this “nobody can do it better than me” need for control is what’s making you tired, frustrated, and ultimately unhealthy.
If you really want to increase your wellness you’ve got to be willing to let go of the things that are making you less well. That’s what carrying extra weight (mental or physical) does.
So are you really serious about this? If so, it’s time to let this stuff go.
OK, have you made your selections? Great! Put a big X on these items and let’s take the next step!
Schedule your healthy habit.
Go back to your one healthy habit. Remember that healthy thing you chose that you want to start doing? Thanks to the subtraction exercise you just did, you now have time to do it!
Drop it into your newly discovered pockets of free time and voila! You officially have designated wellness time! #selfcare
Your pocket of time is not long enough for your chosen activity.
No worries, take your activity and minimize it so it fits in the amount of time you have. Maybe you walk a mile instead of three. Bike for 30 minutes instead of an hour.
Your primary goal is to build the habit of being active. The amount of time for each window really isn’t important at this point.
You’ll get much more benefit from a small habit done daily (compound effect) than a big one done sporadically.
You’ve made the habit small but you still aren’t consistent.
Then your habit is not small enough. Yes, I’m serious!
Make it ridiculously small if you need to. So small that you will roll your eyes at yourself for even thinking about not doing it.
Same principle here. Size doesn’t matter. The compound effect does.
Check out the book if you want to learn more about how this compound effect thing works. It’s one of my favorites. The Compound Effect (affiliate link)
Your plan is only as strong as the systems you build to support it. You do this in two ways. Tracking and accountability.
Track your progress.
How will you know how you are doing if you don’t track what you are doing and when you’re doing it?
Your system doesn’t have to be complex. All that matters is that you have one. I suggest keeping it as simple as possible.
You can mark off days on a calendar or use your favorite tracking app to get the job done.
Try the DBTC! (Don’t break the chain) app if you want an easy way to track and view your progress on the go.
Have you ever heard of the "Don't Break The Chain" (DBTC) motivation technique used by the famous American stand-up…
There’s nothing like knowing that someone is watching to keep you on task.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’re interested in progressing. And most people who want to progress also don’t want to look like a slacker.
So use this natural tendency to your advantage and get an accountability partner. Having someone to check in with will make you much more likely to stay consistent. And if you have trouble finding someone you can count on to help you keep your commitment, you can always call on me!
Try Coach Leslie Brooks, Healthy Habits & Mindset Coach for free! I help over-scheduled people make time for self-care…
The choices you made yesterday have built the life you have today. The choices you make today will build the life you have tomorrow.
With some reprioritization, a small goal and a focus on consistency, it won’t be long before you’re living your dream of being healthy, happy, and strong!
Tell me about the healthy habit you’ve chosen! When will you start? How will you track? Who will you be accountable to?
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Coach Leslie is a fit mindset and habits coach. She helps her clients build healthy mindsets so they can achieve mind, body, and spiritual wellness. For more from Coach Leslie Brooks, follow her on Instagram @coachlesliebrooks, Facebook @coachlesliebrooks, or Twitter @lesliebrooks. To work with Coach Leslie, visit her website at www.lesliebrooks.com.
Workout with her and the rest of the BeFit Studio team! For more info about BeFit Studio, visit https://www.be-fitstudio.com/ or follow us on Facebook @befitstudiogwinnett or Instagram @befitstudiogwinnett! Your first class with us is free!