As a Certified Wellness Coach and Exercise Physiologist, one of the biggest barriers I commonly hear with starting or sticking with an exercise plan is TIME. We live in a fast-paced, busy world and it can be daunting to think about how exercise can or will fit in with all your other obligations. Luckily, there is a 3-step process you can go through to make regular exercise a part of your reality.
1. FIND the Time
The first step is to map out your regular routine on a weekly planner or calendar, ideally one that is broken down into thirty-minute blocks. Begin by filling in your regular obligations – work (including any breaks!), sleep, recurring appointments or meetings, etc. Once you’ve filled in all of your regular obligations, look for the empty chunks of time. Notice where you may have an extra thirty minutes or an hour and look at these spaces as opportunities for fitness. This is the first step of finding time for fitness.
[Note: this could and should be done on a weekly basis so you can set yourself up for success. If you have a busier than normal schedule one week, you may realize you might not have time to get to the gym, but you might be more inclined to take a 20 minute walk around the block (and lose the “guilt” for not going to the gym because it wasn’t part of your plan!) On the flip side, your next week might not be as busy and you have more time to get to the gym. It really is all about balance, even when it comes to our time!]
2. MAKE the Time
Next, examine where the gaps in your schedule are and how these might align with some of the activities you are interested in. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to try Yoga, your work schedule is flexible and you notice your gym has a Wednesday Body Flow class over the lunch hour (hint, hint!). You might notice you have a gap every day when you get off work at 4:15 and before you pick the kids up at 5:30 that there’s a 30 minute HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) class you could hit up (pun intended) at 4:30pm (another hint hint!). Or, you might see you have time for a 15 minute walk with the kids a few nights per week. Once you have found some activities that interest you, and that would fit into your schedule, make the time for them.
3. TAKE the Time
Now that you’ve identified free time in your schedule and decided on the fun fitness activities you would like to fill it with, it’s time to commit to your plan. Treat each workout with the same priority that you would an appointment for something important. Just like you need to show up and be prepared for others, it is vital to show up for yourself. Do whatever you need to do in order to keep these important appointments with yourself, whether it is setting reminders on your phone, having a workout buddy, or a wellness coach or personal trainer to hold you accountable (hint hint!)
Remember to frequently reflect on WHY you’ve decided fitness should be a priority in your life (wellness coaching can help with that!) so that you are able to maintain your focus. Repeat this process as often as needed for continued success!
Lindsey Peterson is a Certified Wellness Coach at Proximal50 Life Center. Lindsey coaches her clients to create sustainable lifestyle changes and to help them improve their overall well‐being. She provides support for creating realistic goals and navigating the challenges & obstacles that often get in our way.