Have you asked yourself these questions lately: “Why can’t I get a regular exercise program going?” “Why have I been trying to exercise for so long, and still can’t get it together?” If so, you probably have some pretty convincing answers, too.
The most common answers are: “It’s not something I can do now because I’ve got (fill in the blank)… kids, a big job, bills to pay, dinner to make, calls to return, e-mails to send, deadlines to reach, dinners to go to, etc.”
Even though more than 60% of the population or more doesn’t exercise regularly, there is a percentage of the population that does. Somehow, they fit it in. Is it because they have less to do? It would be easy to think that, but it’s not the case. The truth is, everyone has a seemingly endless list of things to do bills, work, e-mail, laundry, dinner, dishes, kids, job, etc.
So, what is the difference between people who exercise and people who don’t?
I’ll let you in on the secret now: People who successfully fit exercise into their life put something else aside to do it.
If you’re still reading this, you’re probably thinking “There is absolutely nothing in my life that can be put aside. If there was, I’d have figured it out a long time ago and I’d be (fill in the blank) getting more sleep, spending more time with my kids, reading more, spending more time in my garden.”
That may be true, and it may not. Whether it’s exercise or anything else you’ve been having trouble fitting into your life, there’s a way to overcome the obstacle of “no time”.
At any point in the day when there is a bit of free time, just take notice of what it is you choose to do. Do you choose to do the dishes and then put the laundry in? Do you choose to send a few more e-mails, then respond to the ones that just came in after that? Do you do a little web research and then follow some links on Google or catch up on Facebook for an unplanned hour? Do you choose to watch a favorite TV show? Just start to notice where your time goes, and how much time you spend on things that don’t necessarily need to be done right at that moment. Also take note of what things you could do in less time.
When you pay attention to how you’re spending those little bits of spare time, you’ll start to see where you might be able to fit a ½ hour or so of exercise in. The truth is, the other things will get done if they’re important. You’ll stay a little later at work meet the deadline. You’ll stay up a little later to finish the dishes or put the laundry in. You’ll return those e-mails within a shorter amount of time without being sucked into the Facebook/ Google/ Twitter abyss. You’ll Tivo your favorite shows for the weekend, or watch them while you’re exercising. I’m willing to bet there’s something in your schedule that can be put off for a short while, or shifted around a bit, to make room for exercise and no one will know the difference (except maybe your waistline).
Finally, if you tell me you’re at work all day and the family takes the last bit of your attention and energy at night, I would say: How about exercising during your lunch break and eating a bag-lunch? The average person takes 15- 20 minutes to eat a meal alone. Or, squeeze in a little time in the morning for a short workout before you take your shower, or while your child naps. Even better, get your partner to watch the little ones while you take 30 minutes to an hour for yourself and then return the favor. Each bit of time will add up. With exercise, anything you do over and above what you’re already doing makes a difference, but you have to be consistent.
Pay close attention to how you choose to spend your time, and you’ll find the space for exercise. Soon you’ll be saying things like: “I exercise regularly”, “I’ve been exercising for a long time”, and “I feel so much better when I exercise, I wouldn’t miss it”.