Having trouble finding time to exercise is THE biggest excuse I hear. I can sympathize. It's tough, especially during busy seasons of life. Even with the best of intentions, we ALL get in a slump sometimes. When that happens, the hardest part about starting back up is getting over the inertia of it all. If you find yourself 1) in a fitness slump, 2) constantly starting a fitness routine and ditching it after a week, or 3) you can never quite find the time to exercise, then this post is for you.
I've thought a lot about it, and I think these 4 hacks are really helpful for sticking with a regular routine. Otherwise, it's easy to stay in the cycle of "I just don't have time." Even though it's hard to hear, remember this: We all have 24 hours in the day. It's not necessarily that you don't have enough time, it's that whatever you're making an excuse for just isn't a priority for you. Ouch. It's hard for me to hear, too. We all have something we desire that we just never quite get around to doing. Sometimes exercise really will be at the bottom of your priority list because of extenuating circumstances, but don't let your health slip through the cracks long-term just because you're busy.
...it's not that you don't have enough time, it's that whatever you're making an excuse for just isn't a priority for you.
1. Have A Plan
Decide what you are going to do in advance. Inertia is TOUGH to overcome, so by having a specific activity in your mind, it helps you make it happen. When you know exactly what you're going to do, you've actively decided that you're going to to it on that particular day. Tips: plan your home workout in advance, sign up in advance for a fitness class, plan with a friend to go on a walk with you, or run with your dog. There are so many things you can do to stay active. Don't go overboard with detailed gym or home workouts at first. Keep it simple. Just move. Just do something. [I've blogged before about my perspective of moving a little bit every day. Take the pressure off of yourself to have a monumental workout and just do something, often.] Make it as appealing as you possibly can. If you like routine, maybe it would help to go to the same class every Monday, walk with your friend on Tuesdays, have a home workout or go to the gym on Wednesdays, etc. Whatever works for you. Tinker with it and whatever you do, don't throw in the towel when you have a busy week and things fall apart. That happens to everyone.
2. Put It On Your Calendar
Guard it like you would an important doctor's appointment or business meeting. Stop letting mundane daily tasks eat away at your time. Those things never end. To-do lists never end. If you let them steal your extra time, then all of a sudden you'll find yourself at the end of your day and exercise is probably the thing that will get cut. I know because this is a struggle for me; I am speaking from lots of experience. It's one of the best lessons I've learned to date: respect yourself enough to make the time to take care of yourself and invest in your health.
Respect yourself enough to make the time to take care of yourself and invest in your health.
Treat your workout spot like it's a really important appointment, because it is. You are investing in your health and well-being. Don't cancel on yourself. If you've made plans to run with a friend, don't cancel on them. If you've booked a class, don't be a no-show. If you planned to walk your dog that evening, don't cancel on them, either. Dogs are great accountability partners. :)
3. Prime Your Environment
Make it as easy as possible to workout. If you want to go to the gym after work, pack your bag the night before with your activewear and put it with your car keys. If you want to workout at home, have a space that is free of clutter with your fitness gear nearby so that you've always got a space to exercise in, all ready to go. Maybe even Make Your Own Home Gym over time. If you're working out at home, know what you're going to do that day. If you wait until the end of the day when you're tired to decide what to do, you run the risk of (at best) wasting time figuring out what to do, or (at worst) procrastinating enough that you end up ditching the workout entirely. If you know you prefer exercising in the morning, make that happen. Prefer the evening? Plan a super quick supper that you can throw together after you exercise so that exercise doesn't become an inconvenience. Spend a few minutes deep in thought about this. Brainstorm ways to make it as easy as possible to exercise.
4. Make It Fun
Again, take a few minutes and really think about what would make exercising more fun for you. If you're not having at least a little fun with it, you won't stick with it. For me, it's an upbeat playlist that gets me excited. Try that; make a playlist with songs that give you energy. Maybe you need a quality speaker for your music, or if you're at the gym, a good set of earbuds. If you're a walker or runner, consider an audiobook that you can get hooked on. Listen to it only when you walk or run so that you crave doing it. Maybe you need new shoes, or other fitness gear to be more comfortable. If you like to workout at home, buy a few workout dvds or subscribe to YouTube channels with workouts you enjoy. If you like yoga, invest in a decent mat. A quality mat eliminates a lot of distractions for your yoga practice. Think about what would motivate you, and make it happen. Think outside the box. A good workout doesn't have to be at the gym or even at home. Find an outdoor activity that you like such as hiking, mountain biking, or paddleboarding and try to schedule it often.
And remember, life does throw us curveballs. Sometimes you'll have a busy week, month or season. Those are the times you need to be cognizant of the truth that life is just busy sometimes and be kind to yourself. Get back on track as soon as you can, because the longer you wait, the harder it will be.
The biggest hack of all: just do something. Anything is better than nothing.
Lastly, reward yourself along the way when you make progress. Celebrate your milestones... like happy hour after a milestone workout with your best friends (as seen below). :)
Love & Light.
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Hi, I'm Blake. I love adventure, cooking, costume parties, wine, yoga, and reading...in that order. Follow my blog for yoga stuff, fitness tips, & healthy recipes...
• The Meaning of Namaste
• Confessions of a Self Care Hypocrite
• Living In The Age Of Social Media: Swapping Comparison for Gratitude
• My Exercise Manifesto
• 4 Exercise Hacks To Get YOU Moving