As many of you may already know, my wife Jenny and I recently had a baby boy. One of the biggest blessings in both of our lives, but with his birth came some drastic changes. Number one...sleep = gone ;) Something that I didn’t expect so soon was the things that I found valuable or a priority in life suddenly shifted. Staying out with friends until 2am isn’t atop of the list anymore, but rather spending that time with him and watching him grow (because I know these baby days won’t last forever). And all of that got me thinking...does it take something as significant as the birth of a child for priorities to shift? Or can that be done without a massive, life changing event? Does it need to be sudden? Or can that change gradually happen over time? Let’s dive in to what makes people tick and some strategies to help reorganize your priorities, so that exercise can be atop of the list each day.
I will say a big obstacle for a lot of the clients that I work with, especially starting out, is finding time for exercise. The conversation usually goes something like this….
Me: If you were to look at yourself 3 months from now, what would you like to see happen?
Them: (Specific goals or life changes important to them)...something along the lines of losing some weight, getting stronger, and feeling better
Me: Why is that important?
Them: **Finding that deeper meaning**
Me: What is your biggest obstacle in getting there?
Them: Usually something to do with time or scheduling
So then we dive into what their typical day/week looks like and try to find some time to realistically fit in exercise. Even if it is something as simple as walking 5-10 minutes per day because one strategy that is often helpful starting out is to come up with some so simple that you could do it in your sleep. This lessens the resistance to change and gives you a better chance of sticking with it. Because to be honest, it is NOT easy in the beginning, regardless of what you choose. Change is hard...But also necessary if you want to see yourself differently in 3 months (aka hit your initial goals).
Now back to my personal story. For all you parents out there, I’m sure you’re well aware that living with and raising a newborn is no small feat. Functioning on minimal sleep gets easier over time, but it also makes it easy to put your To-Do list on the back burner. Everyday chores seem like monumental tasks when you start each day. Cook, clean, garbage, walk dog...and next thing you know it’s 5pm...ready for dinner then bed? So where does exercise fit in?
Here are some tips for making exercise a priority in your day/week (even if you don’t have a newborn):
Schedule your workouts - The biggest thing I make sure to do each day is to schedule a dedicated workout/exercise time. If I see it on my calendar, it’s more likely to get done. Now, I’m not going to lie, my ideal workout doesn’t get done every day, but I do schedule what I plan to do (60 minute full body most days) and modify based on how the day goes. It’s a lot easier to modify or reduce my time if it’s on the calendar than if I have nothing scheduled at all, where it is almost a given that I will do nothing.
Have a plan in place - Another component other than time is knowing what to do. As the saying goes if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you’re randomly going to the gym or starting from scratch each time you workout, it may feel daunting or that you’re not seeing any progress. And more than likely if your approach or process is random, your results will be too. So I make sure that I plan out my workouts into months, weeks, days based on my specific goals. Now, do I stick to that every single time or quit if I miss a day? Of course not, that would be silly or unrealistic, but having that plan and structure gives me confidence that I’m setting myself up for success and progress each time I workout/go to the gym.
KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid - Action beats inaction any day of the week. If you’re not consistent with exercise, your body won’t adapt appropriately and you won’t see any progress, regardless of how great your plan or program is. So how do you make sure you do what you say you’re going to do? By making it simple. I know what 45-60 minutes of resistance is like because I’ve been doing it for a long time and I know what I can realistically fit in during that time, but if you’re just starting out after a long hiatus or new to exercise, I doubt 45-60 minutes would benefit you. Not because it’s too much exercise, but the chances of you actually following through are probably low. It’s too daunting, too difficult, too (insert excuse)...Anyway, you get the point. By making your exercise super simple (especially important in the beginning) you increase your chances of actually doing it and the more you do it, the higher the chances of sticking with it for the long term.
Eliminate objections or barriers (within reason) - This is a tough one for me. It looks good on paper, but the execution can be tough. One thing that usually prevents me from exercising is coming home later in the day. I have the best intentions on my drive home or while I’m out, but it’s like the front door is a vortex. Next thing I know, it’s time for bed and no workout has happened. So how do I plan for that? Make sure to get my workout in while I’m already out of the house or first thing in the morning. That helps me eliminate being home, late, with a workout that still needs to get done. I challenge you to take a look at your current week. Write down your observations...are there certain environments, activities, people, things, that prevent you from exercising? Just observe and get data at first. Then you can spot patterns and decide how to avoid or minimize those barriers to set yourself up for success.
And as a final note, even if you follow all 4 tips, you may not be able to squeeze in a workout or exercise every day, and that’s ok. Just as long as it is happening most of the time you will be reaping the impactful health benefits of exercise and progressing towards your goals. So don’t beat yourself up or quit if you miss a day or two. Learn from it and move forward. Your health and wellness depends on it :)
Send me your top 2 ideas for how you plan to make exercise a priority, I’d love to hear them. The first 3 responses will be entered into a raffle for a 4 week trial of online personal training. This is a great option for many people and new service that I am currently offering. Here are some of the benefits:
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