The paradox about time is that we seem to have plenty of it and also none to spare.
This might explain why we set such big fitness goals at the beginning of the year, when everything seems so shiny and full of promise, only to skip our workouts the minute life gets busy.
It also doesn’t help that working out requires, well, work. It’s hard to rouse enthusiasm for a grueling workout when your bed or couch or literally anything else is going to be a lot more inviting. Not to mention the work deadlines and personal obligations that also seem to get in the way of our good intentions.
With everything that’s going on in your life, how are you supposed to fit in your fitness goals?
While you can’t add more hours to the day, you can certainly make adjustments to how you manage your time. By making small changes to your schedule and to your expectations, you will be able to fit in your fitness goals.
Do a debrief on your previous fitness goals
Want to make sure you stick to your fitness goals? Then do a “debrief” on your previous goals.
Reflecting on your previous fitness goals will help you determine what went well, what got in the way of your goals, and what you would do differently in the future. For example, if you set a goal to run every morning, but then discovered you’re not really a morning person, you’ll definitely want to avoid falling into the same trap this year.
- What was my previous fitness goal?
- What helped me stay on track?
- What were my obstacles/challenges?
- Knowing what I know now, what would I have done differently?
Revisiting your previous fitness goals will ensure that you don’t make the mistake twice and that you set yourself up for success the next time around.
Be honest about your schedule
In order to accommodate your fitness goals, you’ll need to take an honest look at your daily, weekly, and monthly schedule. Only then will you be able to realistically fit in your workouts.
For this exercise, you will want to break out your planner to help you get organized.
What are the mandatory things I have to do every day? These are the personal and professional obligations you have to do everyday. For example, working from 9 to 5, picking up the kids from school, making dinner, etc.
What pockets of time do I have each day? Now that you know what you have to do everyday, you can actually see which blocks of time are available. Maybe you work 9 to 5, but you have an hour-long lunch break. Or maybe you work from home three days a week and have flexibility on those days. Or maybe you have Thursday nights and weekend afternoons free.
When are my busy periods? We all have those weeks or months when life gets crazy. You wouldn’t want to schedule a 5K around the same time as a big work deadline. Or attempt to go to the gym everyday during your holiday vacation. Identifying your busy periods will prevent you from setting yourself up to fail.
When are my lulls? Thankfully, not every day is going to be go-go-go. We also have periods of calm and inactivity in our schedule. What days, weeks, or months tend to be slow for you? Maybe it’s the later part of the week or the summer months or when your boss is away on business travel. Take advantage of these slow periods and schedule your fitness goals around them.
Once you have a better idea of your availability, you’ll want to start slotting in your workouts. When you add your workouts to your calendar, you are more likely to show up.
Stack the odds in your favor
There’s no way around it: you’re going to face resistance to your fitness goals.
There are going to be days when you feel unmotivated, tired, and self-sabotaging. Why? As human beings, it’s in our nature to cling to the easy and familiar.
So if you really want to commit to your fitness goals, you’ll want to make things as easy as possible for yourself.
Making things easy for yourself can mean…
- Choosing a gym that’s closest to your home or office, not the one that’s an hour away.
- Creating a workout schedule that makes sense for you i.e. no more early morning workouts when you’re not a morning person.
- Doing a workout that suits your interests, not one that feels like torture. So if you dislike running, then try a dance class or a group fitness class instead.
When you stack the odds in your favor, you are making your fitness goals more accessible and easier to achieve.
Find one small thing about your workout that you love
Many fitness goals fall into the long-term goal category. It may take anywhere from a few months to even a year before you finally start to see dramatic results. And because human beings are so motivated by immediate rewards, we need to find smaller ways to get ourselves excited about working out.
In this exercise, find one small thing that gets you excited about your fitness goal. You’ll then feel that much more energized to maintain your workout routine.
- Maybe you enjoy long walks in the park because it’s so peaceful and you love being out in nature.
- Maybe you love the way you feel after a good, long run.
- Maybe working out helps you clear your head and feel more focused.
- Maybe you love socializing with others in your dance class.
For extra motivation, you can log your workouts in a planner and feel the satisfaction of checking them off and seeing your progress over time.
Integrate short workouts into your day
You don’t need an entire day to do a workout. If you only have 15 minutes to spare, you can get a lot done in that amount of time. Better yet: do your workout while you’re doing things around the house.
- Do jumping jacks or resistance bands while listening to your favorite podcast.
- Do pushups in between TV commercial breaks.
- Do a YouTube workout video while food is in the oven.
- Jump rope while you’re waiting for laundry.
- Go for a quick walk while you’re in between meetings.
You don’t have to transform your life to fit in your fitness goals. By combining a workout with a familiar activity, you can easily make exercise a regular part of your routine.
Written by JiJi Lee