There really just aren’t enough hours in the day. Life is busy! We have so many things we need to get done in 24 hours…and it’s just not enough. Work, sleep, eat, meetings, chores, errands, meet up with friends…before you know it you’re overdue on a whole laundry list of things…oh and there’s the laundry too! I have a whole screen of my phone (multiple homescreens) dedicated to my “To Do”. That’s it, right there! That’s not even the whole list…those widgets scroll. I even have to color-code it to keep it all straight. I’m sure some of you can relate.
Bottom line is…how are we supposed to be expected to juggle everything we’ve got going on AND get a workout in? It’s crazy! What if you work a 12 hour day? What if you’ve got the kids to worry about? It just. Doesn’t. WORK.
Well…On this lovely Motivational Monday morning…I’m here to tell you…We have to make it work. “BUT HOW?! I just can’t do it!” Yes. You CAN. And it’s not as daunting as it might seem.
OK… I know what you’re probably thinking.
You’re probably thinking I have no idea how busy you are, how much you have to get done, and how much this just doesn’t work for you. Well…that’s just the thing. It’s not GOING to work for you. You have to make it work. You have to work. Nothing worthwhile in this world comes easy. Your ideal body is no exception to that rule. It’s never easy adding something else onto your plate, and that goes doubly so for a commitment of this magnitude. Last August, if I knew what this was going to become…300 lb me probably wouldn’t have gone for it. 300 lb me would think 188 lb me was insane.
What I find is that most people staring a workout regimen in the face aren’t looking at that big of a picture – they’re looking at day one. Or week one. They’re looking at 45 minutes squeezed into their day, or an hour, an hour and a half, even two hours when all’s said and done getting to the gym, working out, showering, coming home…oh no Darrell…that’s SO much time I don’t have!
That’s the thing…
If that’s the mentality…you probably just don’t want it bad enough yet. I know I know…I don’t know you, I have no idea what you want…
Truth of the matter is, when you want something bad enough, you will move mountains to make it happen. If not, you won’t move very far from the couch. I know plenty of people who say they don’t have time, they’re SO busy…but somehow find time to watch hours and hours of TV each day…(“I Don’t Feel Like It” Syndrome, anyone?)
The important thing to know is: There is ALWAYS a way to make it work.
So, I’ve done a lot of talking but I haven’t told you how yet.
You have to take a good hard look at what you’ve got going on in your life. Look at your daily schedule. You probably have a LOT of free time that you don’t even realize you have! My college fraternity – Delta Chi, has a part of their scholarship program dedicated to Time Management – I’m pulling this directly from that program…because it works. Take a blank weekly schedule like the one below (you can download it from http://www.time-management-abilities.com/printable-planners.html under “advanced planners”:
Fill it out in order of:
1. Work (include travel time and getting ready…be reasonable)
3. Meals (including cook time)
We’ll pause here. All the remaining time, right now, is “free time”. Yes, I know, you have SO MUCH you need to do…that’s not free time. Well…here’s where the next step comes in…Prioritizing.
Yes, there’s a lot you need to get done. Ok, great. This is the time where you need to decide what is ACTUALLY important. You might surprise yourself. Things like doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping (gotta have food to eat, right?) picking the kids up from school or bringing them to sports/activities/etc are going to be high priorities. Many of these things likely have to happen at a certain time, so that’s going to bump them a little higher up on the priority list as well. All of the other little things you need to get done are probably lower priority items. So, let’s go ahead and put those high priority items on the calendar. So now we have
1. Work | 2. Sleep | 3. Meals | 4. High Priority Items
And the rest is free time. There’s still probably a good bit of free time left each day, right? It might be occurring at strange times, but it’s there. This is the part where you can shimmy a workout in.
Yes, I know…you still have SO MUCH you need to get done. That’s what prioritizing is about. If you’re still reading this, you’ve already decided that getting your health and fitness straightened out is a high enough priority that you can shuffle some lower-priority things around. So, let’s find a convenient place to stick that workout. I like to work out first thing in the morning…energizes me, gives me a boost for my day, gets it out of the way and…frankly…at the end of a long day I’m worn out and there’s a good chance I could lose motivation. I recommend you work out as early as you can. The earlier you work out, the more energy you’ll have and the more successful your workout will be.
So now we’ve got
1. Work | 2. Sleep | 3. Meals | 4. High Priority | 5. Workout | 6. Low Priority
Now you can fit all of those other lower-priority items into your day. Throughout the course of the week, I’m sure there’s enough free time to get everything done that you need to get done. You probably even STILL have some free time left after that! This will even work for the people who work crazy shifts.
Yes, this is not a fool-proof system. There are some people out there who work two jobs, three jobs, are going non-stop, and might not think they have time. Well, these are the people who need to take “make it work” to heart. I know plenty of people who will sacrifice something to make the workout happen. Sleep just a little bit less, get up a little bit earlier, go to bed a little earlier or later, take a little less time to eat, get ready for work a little bit faster…You need to look at your schedule once you’ve gone through the list of work, sleep, meals, and high priority items and think hard about what or how you can shuffle, squeeze or re-arrange to make it work.
I challenge you to stay strong and put the workout into the schedule before the low priority items. The only reason I wouldn’t count the workout as a “high priority item” is because it doesn’t have to happen at a particular time. High priority items should be the kind of thing that either HAS TO happen first, or has to happen at a particular time (such as a doctors appt., or getting to a business before it closes, etc).
I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error getting my schedule to work. I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Working in a restaurant, my schedule is different week to week…I have to make it work. As I’ve gone through these 5 different programs I’ve done, I’ve gotten a little better at it each time. But, as I get more and more dedicated to my fitness I have to look a little harder at my schedule. I’ve designed an endurance training schedule for my half-marathon run that is pretty involved…I’m juggling a workout program, running, and yoga. I have commitments with Delta Chi, my Masonic Lodge, work, my fiancee, etc etc. I’m making it work. You can too.
In almost every case there is a way to make it work. You just have to find it. If you can’t, reach out to me at Darrell@SoTHISIsFitness.com and I will do my best to help you figure it out. If you find you’re having a hard time keeping your priorities straight (or doing the prioritizing in the first place) or want a community to help keep you accountable and share your struggles, please feel free to join the “So Fit” Family on Facebook. It’s a special community within the “So THIS Is Fitness…” world where we share our successes, seek support during tough days, seek and share advice and keep each other motivated to be and do our best and get to the goal we’re all chasing.