Elizabeth from ElizabethDall.com is taking over today and sharing her tips with you about how you can find and make time for exercise in your crazy busy life. Enjoy!
Take a minute to look at your to-do list. What’s on it? I assume there are errands to run, tasks to complete, and many more things that need your attention.
Now, (mentally) cross off all the items that are for other people, or do not serve you or help you take care of yourself.
Is there anything left on the list?
I’m willing to bet that it’s probably rare to find any self-care activities on our daily to-do lists. Because it’s not really urgent, right?
If we miss a workout one day, it’s not going to change much of anything. If we are overstressed one day, we can usually get through it and power through the next day. If we have goals we want to reach, sitting on the couch one evening and watching TV is not going to cause us to gain 10 pounds in one night, or change our health in any way.
But, it’s the repetition of one tiny habit that leads us down the path we go.
It’s the repetition of choosing to go for the chips before dinner instead of going out for a walk. It’s consistently waking up late and missing our workout. It’s choosing to consistently let ourselves fall to the bottom of the to-do list day in and day out. That’s where we lose track of our goals, our health, and even our passions.
On the contrary, the simple daily choices you make to get up and go for a 10-minute walk, to wake up 10 minutes earlier to do some exercises and to make a friend and go to the gym together, are the habits that consistently help you reach your goals every time.
When you do these things, you feel better physically and mentally. Your other tasks seem to go more smoothly, and you often get more done on your to-do list than you ever did before.
But the problem is, we often don’t make it to our own to-do lists. When was the last time you had exercise on your to-do list? When was the last time you actually exercised because it was on your to-do list?
Today’s post is for you if you struggle to find and make the time to exercise. If you want to do it, but it often gets put at the bottom of the list and never makes it very far up in the daily tasks.
Before we move on, the key to finding and making time for exercise is all about habits. It’s all about making simple, yet powerful habits that drive you forward and help you make one simple change each and every day. Because those changes add up. They add up exponentially.
So, I’ve made a worksheet for you that will help you to stay consistent with yourself and your goals every time. It guides you through creating simple habits that you can follow each and every time you make a goal, want to stick to something, or need help setting up the right plans for guaranteed success.
Now that you have your worksheet, let’s dive in and talk about 3 ways you can find AND make time for exercise, movement, or whatever it is to you.
Oh, and one more thing, everything counts. The 10-minute walk, the 5-minute ab session, the hour gym time, it all counts. Don’t discount anything you do for yourself. It all counts, it’s all wonderful, and you’re incredible for taking that time for yourself.
3 WAYS TO FIND AND MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE
DO WHAT YOU LOVE
The number one goal for exercise is that it’s something you enjoy, something that makes you feel better, and ultimately something you look forward to doing regularly.
If you’re currently following a routine that doesn’t make you feel any of that, stop. Find something else.
The key to consistent and regular exercise is to do what you enjoy. Start there.
Start with an exercise you enjoy. It doesn’t matter what it is. It could be throwing on some songs and dancing in the living room. Maybe you love going to classes at the gym, maybe you don’t. Maybe you like cardio, or maybe you’d rather do weights.
Choose what you love and start there.
If you start with something you hate, it’s probably, no definitely, not very likely that you will stick to it very long.
And yes, it’s ok not to have a perfect exercise program. Because the best exercise program is the one you’ll stick to.
Over time, your love for other forms of exercise might expand and you’ll find new things you love and want to try. Just remember, everything counts, and find something you love. It’s the best place to start.
TAKE THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE
Yes, I said it. Make exercise EASY for you.
If you have a plan to lift weights, but you don’t have weights and have no idea where to start, it’s probably unlikely for you to stick to that plan.
To begin, choose the path of least resistance. Do you have a yoga mat and a television? Start with some simple yoga routines. Is it beautiful weather outside right now? Go out for a walk. Do you want to go to the gym, but find it very difficult to get out of bed in the mornings? Buy a few weights and start with some simple home routines.
Over time, you’ll be able to build up and push yourself harder, but for right now, remember everything counts. So find something that seems easy for you to get started.
The other point to make is to take the path of least resistance for WHEN you exercise. If you’re not a morning person, trying to get up early to exercise might be really difficult at first. Instead, find a time that makes more sense for you right now. In the future, you might be able to get up, but for right now, try your lunch break, or a quick jog before dinner.
Remember, the best exercise program in the world is the one you will follow. Make it easy for you to get started. Also make it easy for you to stick to by not adding too much at once. The stick to your goals worksheet will help you do just that - create simple, yet effective habits that you can build on over time.
And lastly, get exercise on your schedule.
Yes, you will be a thousand times more likely to stick to it if it’s on your schedule. Treat your exercise session like a doctor’s appointment. I hope you don’t no-show your doctor. Don’t no-show your health.
Let others know your schedule. If your plan is to exercise at lunch, put it on your schedule so everyone at work knows. If you exercise when the kids go down for a nap, make sure your clothes and shoes are ready for that precious mom-time.
And just as you would reschedule a doctor’s appointment when something comes up, do the same for yourself. You don’t have to be perfect at your schedule, because well, life happens. But the very act of having it on your schedule keeps it fresh in your mind all day long.
Make your self-care time precious. Protect it. Because it’s the little choices we make every day to take care of our bodies that add up. If you don’t take care of your health now, you will inevitably have to later.
Start today. Start where you are. Start with something simple and build up from there.
Don’t compare yourself to others. They’re not on your journey. Don’t compare yourself to the past. Just focus on the here and now. Focus on what you can change today.
Find the exercise or movement that you love, make it simple, and get it on your to-do list.
In the words of Nike, “Just do it.”
Elizabeth Dall is a certified exercise physiologist and wellness coach. She specializes in helping women and mothers build confidence and love for who they are, build a better relationship with food, and reach their health and wellness goals. As a mother herself, she’s learned how important it is to find ways to nourish her body and soul to give the best to others and her family. Her message is one of self-compassion and a simplified, well-rounded approach to health. You can find more goodies, info, and join the community at: