NOTE: Please read this article within the context of we cannot give what we don't have. We have to create our own happiness so that we can make others happy. One source of unhappiness is feeling unhealthy without having time to improve our well-being. This post is about finding out your personal way of creating time to be fit.
The first thing you need to know to make time for your work-outs is to find out how much free time you actually have available during the week. Most of us underestimate the amount of free time we have or that we can create to enjoy ourselves.
1. Make a page from your appointment book. Make sure it has many time slots. Pencil in all activities you do during the week in the appropriate time slots and days.
Look at your week. Did you include all the invisible tasks you perform during the week such as sleep, work, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, watching your favorite TV shows and the news, paying bills, cleaning up the house, going to the mall, reading the morning newspaper, taking a shower, shaving, going to the hair stylist (thank God I'm bald!), social time with friends, exercise, meditation etc. Be as realistic as you can. Believe me you think you know how your week looks like, but you might be surprised once you see it on paper. Highlight all the activities that you cannot do at a different time (i.e. sleep, work). Make a list with the remaining activities. Circle the activities you can only do yourself (work, sleep, exercise). Separate them from those you can delegate or pay someone to do for you (cleaning the house, grocery shopping).
2. Analyze your week. Did you read my first post? Do you know who you are, what makes you happy and the kind of life you'd like to lead? Based on that, how can you be more efficient so that you can make time to have the kind of life you'd love to have? Can you group some activities and do pick a day/time when you will attempt to do them all? For example, instead of taking multiple trips to the grocery store designate a day when you do all your grocery shopping while you leave your laundry going at home. If you are stuck with a job you don't like, how can you make it finance the activities you love in life while you find a better job? How many activities give you enduring satisfaction? How many of your activities serve NO purpose in your life? Can you eliminate them? Are you doing tasks you can have others do? How much rest do you get? Do you have any ME time?
3. Creating ME time: Commit to yourself, marry yourself! Like marriage your ME time is sacred and requires commitment and sacrifice so that you can be productive in life. Under this concept you are your nagging self, your loving partner and responsible parent.
People who marry themselves might listen to the news in traffic so that they won't have to watch the late news. That way they can devote time to their partner every night. They record their favorite TV shows and watch them during the weekend. They are their nagging self or responsible parent when they want to stay away from distractions that can keep them away from the life they want to lead. They are their own loving partner when they plan for free time in which they can do whatever they'd like after they have accomplished their goals during the week. They understand that being oneself is a work in progress so they cut themselves some slack when they realize their goals were a bit unrealistic. More importantly, people who marry themselves know commitment. They understand they don't live in a vaccum. They are more likely to be committed to bringing joy to all the people they love and have the energy to accomplish that task.
So, make exercise part of your ME time. The most successful people in the area of fitness have structure in their lives. Some cook their meals on one night and freeze portions to have during the week. They wake up early to exercise or work-out late at night. Some do core work and stretch at work. They might watch those shows while exercising at home. You can add a bit of social time in your routine by inviting your friends or a family member to become your exercise partner(s) or by joining a fitness class and meeting new people afterwards. Most importantly, exercise is an appointment with yourself regardless of where it takes place (gym or home). Are you going to keep one of the most important appointments with your most important client?
4. Look at your schedule again after your best attempt to free up time to exercise. How frequently and for how long can you afford exercising during the week or weekend? What are you willing to sacrifice? Your TV shows? Your night at the bar with endless round of alcohol? Your third time eating out at a restaurant with delicious tasting artery clogging delicacies?
5. Once you decide on your new weekly activity schedule, look back each week and evaluate your performance for a few seconds. Did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish? Did you exercise and ate correctly, spent time with friends and family? Were you a good employee? Did you give your best effort to everything you undertook? Was your stress level manageable? If the answer is yes to all of the above, what are you waiting for? Go have some fun. Reward yourself for a job well done!