Time is our most precious commodity. Once it’s gone we never get it back. It’s finite and with today’s “go, go, go” environment it’s easy to put health and fitness on the back burner. However, I’ve noticed over the years those who prioritize exercise and nutrition never make the excuse, “I just don’t have the time.” They make the time. Sometimes that means getting up a little bit earlier, not having as much down time, or skipping out on an event with friends. This isn’t to say those who make health and wellness a priority don’t enjoy life. Far from it! It just means making minor adjustments so you’re not lying on a surgeons table at 50 years old having heart surgery because you made eating chicken wings and drinking beer during the game a priority over healthier alternatives. Here are a few simple methods to make time for a healthier, better you…..
- Track One Week Day and One Weekend Day
This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Simply, take a notepad or use your phone and record what you do in 15 to 60-minute increments the moment you wake up. The purpose of this exercise is to show how much time many of us waste every, single day. I work 12hrs a day and have extra work to do when I’m not training clients. Surprisingly I have very little time to workout but I make the time. Here’s an example of what my day looks like:
5:00AM to 5:30AM: Coffee, Word Puzzle
5:30AM to 5:45AM: Travel to work
5:45AM to 6:45AM: Train Clients/Eat Meal #1
6:45AM to 7:00AM: Check emails/messages
7:00AM to 8:00AM: Train Clients
8:00AM to 9:00AM: Train 1-on-1 Client
9:00AM to 10:00AM: Train Clients
10:00AM to 11:00AM: Train Clients/Eat Meal #2
11:00AM to 12:00PM: Train 1-on-1 Client
12:00PM to 1:00PM: Train 1-on-1 Client
1:00PM to 2:00PM: Workout/Eat Meal #3 (aka Protein Shake)
2:00PM to 2:15PM: Travel home
2:15PM to 3:30PM: Read/Respond to Messages/Create Blueprints/Design Nutrition Plans/Miscellaneous/Eat Meal #4
3:30PM to 4:00PM: Walk dog
4:00PM to 4:15PM: Travel back to work
4:15PM to 4:30PM: Get gear ready for next session/respond to messages
4:30PM to 5:30PM: Train Clients
5:30PM to 6:30PM: Train Clients
6:30PM to 7:30PM: Train Clients/Eat Meal #5
7:30PM to 7:45PM: Travel back home
7:45PM to 8:30PM: Shower/Prep Food for tomorrow
8:30PM to 9:30PM: Relaxing w/ GF, watch a show
9:30PM to 10:00PM: Read/Eat Meal #6 (aka Protein Shake)
10:00PM to 5:00AM: Sleep
As you can see I have a very productive day. I don’t like to say the word busy because busy means avoiding important tasks and not getting real work done. If you’re busy you’re doing something wrong and need to reorganize your day (I didn’t say it would be easy but it’s manageable). If you take this exercise to heart you’ll find you have a good 1 to 2 hours worth of wasted time (and that’s being conservative). Use the extra 15 to 30 min. at night to prep your meals for tomorrow. Once you know how to cook healthy meals it really only takes 30 minutes. Or, get up 30 to 60 minutes earlier than normal and do a body weight exercise routine or walk on a treadmill. You don’t have to rocket out of the gate when you first make these changes to your routine. Start slow. As time passes you’ll gradually make these new routines daily habits. Once a habit is established it’s very hard to break it.
- Make New, Healthy Habits Easy To Do
Once you’ve completed the daily journal exercise it’s time to allocate the extra minutes you have in the day to healthy, easy-to-follow habits. An example would be keeping fresh fruits and veggies on standby. Fruits make a better snack than chips. Veggies make it easy to chop and cook up a healthier side dish with your meal instead of macaroni and cheese. Purchase your groceries and prep them on the weekend (the days you’ll have the most time available). Keep a gym bag with a change of workout clothes and sneakers so you never have an excuse not to go to the gym. Go for a relaxing walk on Sunday mornings with a friend, significant other, or family member. Keep it simple. Keep it easy.
If you’re having trouble then you should focus on one change at a time. It can be grocery shopping and meal prepping on Sunday. It could be waking up early and walking for 15 to 30 min. Whatever the change, focus on that one thing for 1 month. It’s enough time to help get a habit started. If you feel you can handle more habit changes then let them happen organically during those 30 days. Habits that develop naturally are much easier to maintain.
Taking things a step further (and easier) I strongly recommend putting these new habit changes in your calendar! We’re slaves to our calendars so we might as well make them work for us. Set a reminder every day/week so you don’t forget to apply those habit changes. At the minimum, if you don’t do it at least you can’t use the excuse, “I forgot.”
- Review and Reassess
In the Marine Corps we called this process AAR (After Action Report). After a mission we immediately reviewed what happened. Everything from what went right to what went wrong. Once completed, we would improve the good aspects of the mission to make them even better and correct/remove any problems we encountered. This same process works for your healthy and fitness habits.
After a week look over your schedule a take note of the new routines you accomplished and the ones you didn’t complete. If you couldn’t successfully complete certain routines then ask yourself, “Why?” We’re you just too tired? Did you forget? Was there not enough time available? Asking these questions helps find a solution to improving these habits. If it seems too difficult then put that habit on the back burner and 1) pick a new habit to work on or 2) focus on the successful habits and make them solid.
STAY FIT MY FRIENDS!