Here we are. Thinking “Yep, I tend to use lack of time as an excuse to skip exercise”.
Well… at least we have each other…
And 6 new ideas to work with!
Lack of time is the #1 excuse to skip a workout. So what’s gonna be different this time? What’s the thing that really gets to shift so that you feel you have time for it all?
The 6 steps below are formulated to lead you to that answer. These steps can really pave the path to a sustainable, fit lifestyle! Even if you walk away from this and incorporate only one of the 6 steps, you will be moving forward on your path to habitual fitness.
The purpose of this post is to inspire (#fitspo) motivate and offer simple ideas you may not have tried yet in order to FIT it all in.
There will be clickable resources, as well as a FREE printable version of these 6 Steps To Create Time for Your Fitness
So here we go!
Step #1: Track How You Spend Time NOW.
To get where you want to go, start by knowing where you are.
When left to our own guess-timations, we tend to give ourselves a little more credit than we deserve.
Most people I talk to (I know I have been guilty of it too) drastically overestimate their level of fitness and health when asked how often they work out, how intensely they exercise, or even how much they eat. We think we are doing better than we really are. So what are the guidelines?
I personally believe that a fit lifestyle is comprised of more than just one cookie cutter routine.
However, when I’m talking about this “missing the mark” and overestimating your state of health, it is based on scientific guidelines of health and nutrition that have been in place for years.
Here’s an example:
In May, 2014, researchers from New York University in Toronto studied a group of sedentary individuals who were to comply with the minimum exercise standards according to the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, which are pretty much identical to the American Guidelines.
After the individuals were given the guidelines, clear on them, and affirmed they could uphold the guidelines in testing, very few actually reached the suggested heart rate (75% of their max heart rate which is calculated based on age) when asked to perform vigorous intensity on the treadmill.
Moreover, they were asked to go at the slowest pace they thought possible and still be considered moderate exercise, meaning they would still receive significant health benefits. Only around 25% reached a heart rate that would be considered within the moderate range, the rest were below.
This point can be directly related to your own estimation of both how intensely you are exercising, and also the volume of exercise you are doing.
So, it’s time to put the facts to the test.
If you “don’t have time to go to the gym”, I’m going to challenge you to track your time for one week. You can find your own FREE time-tracker sheet here from author and time expert Laura Vanderkam.
Step #2: Write Down Your Ideal Weekly Workout Schedule and WHY it is Important to You.
Writing down your ideal weekly workout schedule gives you an idea of:
- How it will look different than the schedule you discovered from step #1
- Where in your week you can realistically fit in exercise (remember, any is better than none, a 10 minute jog is better than nothing!)
- Your personal exercise goals, not what someone else says you should be doing or what you’ve tried in the past and given up on.
This step is super important because it gets you visualizing what you want your fitness routine to look like, and more importantly…. Brainstorm on the second part of the step… your “why?”
Let me give you an example from my life. The area I lack motivation, knowledge, general skill, and so on… is finances.
I am like the yoyo finance organizer, I’ve tried Mint, I’ve had friends meet with me for hours on end and set up excel spreadsheets, I’ve bought budgeting books, saved receipts, met with goal coaches about staying organized. At the end of all that, I felt like that person that “has tried everything” and nothing seemed to really stick.
So I decided to simply write out what my vision is of how to track my finances, and that brought me clarity. What brought me to committed action, however, was writing down my “why?” Why did I feel it was important.
Well, it is important for me to be responsible with my money. I have a vision of expansion with wealth and responsibility of what I see myself creating in this world. And if I don’t put in the work in this area out of my comfort zone…. well, then my dreams for my life will likely never happen.
Finances may not become my biggest strength, but now when I notice myself avoiding it or falling off from my vision, I go back to my “why”, and I can turn on a dime and be committed to it.
Same goes for your fitness. Discover your “why”
- To be a fit healthy parent
- To live a long prosperous life
- To feel energized and vibrant throughout your day
- To achieve balance in all areas of life like work/spirituality/career/health/recreation
Whatever your reason is, it will tug at your heart. Go deep with it, write it down. Say it out loud
“I am committed to living a healthy, fit lifestyle because it allows me to…”
Step #3: Dive Into the Gap
You are doing great! You know what you are doing. You know what you want to be doing. Now, the best part!
You get to hone in on what’s in the gap. What are the “obstacles” in between you and your ideal fitness routine?
What’s really the issue? Is it really time? Or is it that I:
- Don’t like exercising
- Resist spending money investing in my health and fitness
- Have some past events/emotional reasons why I am not fit and healthy (some people subconsciously keep themselves “fat/ugly” so that they don’t attract sexual attention, perhaps due to abuse in the past or were told in some way it was bad to be “too pretty” or too handsome”. It may also be another issue rooted in your past.
Take at least 20 minutes to write down any and all reasons you can come up with to answer why your step #2 is not identical to your step #1.
*Note: Own it. Come from a place of you being the only one responsible for what you are creating. It’s not about self-beatup or making you wrong. It’s about placing the power with you and you alone to create your ideal fit lifestyle.
This step alone may bring an epiphany or breakthrough for you. “Wow, I hate exercising and just realized it” lol or “Hmmmm, I always seem to prioritize work and saying yes to others over my own health and wellbeing”.
Step #4: Experiment with these 7 Time-Creating Methods.
By now you likely have clarity on what you’re doing now, what you want to be doing, and why it’s not happening. Congratulations! It’s time for baby steps! Try it all, keep what works.
- Set timers for other tasks- Wash the dishes in 15 min., Send out emails in 20min., Clean living room in 20 min. etc. It is a great way to get tasks done with focussed urgency, and surprise yourself with all the extra time you have created!
- Schedule workouts like you schedule meetings- This is for all who tend to say “yes” to everything except for yourself. Put your workout in your phone and treat as important as a board meeting or picking up your kid from school. You’ll be there. Period. If someone needs you at the same time, you say “What other times are available for you?”
- Set workout dates with friends/family- Shift your previous conversation of “I need to take care of the family, I don’t have time to workout” to… “Hey honey, hey kids, guess what we get to do today? Go hiking up to a lake (or play beach volleyball, play basketball at the park)”. You can also research gyms that have kid care, or organize a kickball tournament with a big group of people.
- Split workouts- This is for the long work day folks. Research shows that 2 10-min workouts are, in general, just as effective as one 20 min workout. The secret is adding fitness into your already-existing routine. For instance, perhaps it’s waking up 15 min earlier to go for a run before work, and then hitting the stairs at work during your lunch break for 10-15 minutes.
- Cut out time-suckers- Make more time for your fitness by cutting out time-suckers you discovered in step #1. What do you get to let go of? Social Media? Tasks you could easily delegate? Needing everything to be perfect?
- Go to sleep earlier- If you only did one thing to improve your overall quality of life…. this would be it. It will translate over to feeling energized for fitness (especially a morning workout which is what the most consistent exercisers do)
- Plan your day the night before- This gives you a vision to stay on task and on purpose throughout your day.
Step #5: Always have an accountability partner
- Pick someone who will stand for you to do your best and be honest with you. We are 95% likely to accomplish a goal when we ask others to hold us to it.
- Align to a structure i.e.- one check-in call a week, text 1 daily fitness action you are committing to (cook meals/yoga/run/class/meditate), reward system when certain steps are accomplished.
Step #6: Meditation
Increased clarity and coherent brainwave activity is a proven benefit of practicing meditation.
I know for me, it seems I hear it over and over…. meditate, meditate, meditate. And I honestly feel like my brain can’t sit still long enough, or I’m not “doing it right” or I don’t think it’s working.
I’ve learned that the one thing I can control is pushing play on the track. Because if I never even do that, it’s definitely not working lol.
I like to listen to guided meditation. Short ones, lol. 20 Minutes or less.
Below are 4 guided mediation links that support me in creating my meditation practice. Just hit play and breathe!
- Deepak Chopra 6 min meditation “The Life We Desire”
- Dr. Pedram Shojai- 15min Tai Chi Qi Gong Moving Meditation
Thank you so much for being with me today. If you learned something new, were inspired, or know someone who would benefit from this post:
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