Have you ever stopped eating for several days because you didn’t have time to eat? Or stopped using the bathroom because you didn’t have time? I hope the answer is no. So why do most people struggle to find the time for something as critical as their health and fitness? There are many reasons why people put their health on such a low priority, and we’ll get to that, but I’m sure we can all agree that if something is important, you make time for it.
We all have 24 hours in the day. In the worst case scenario you have to sleep 8 hours a night and work 8 hours in the day. Add another 2 hours for transportation, eating, and miscellaneous activities. This leaves you with 6 hours per day in which you have a window to get in shape. This means that you have 42 hours free per week even if you work your “day-job” 7 days a week! But most people are “too busy” to become truly fit and healthy.
I has been shown that as little as 30 minutes of physical activity per day can significantly impact your wellness and productivity. Do most people get anywhere near this? Not even close and the reality is much sadder. The average person in this country watches 24 hours of television per week! And the average person is on Facebook 40 minutes per day, or 4.6 hours per week!
In fact, after the New Year hit, the 2010 data came out. American’s and Canadians alike now watch an average of 36 hours of television per week! That’s 40+ hours per week of time spent getting more unfit and unhealthy. Most of this time could be better spent building a foundation for long term health and fitness, working on productive activities, building relationships and nurturing the important ones you have. The really sad thing is, most people don’t make time for any of these things.
“Those who do not find time for exercise will have to find time for illness.”
– The Earl of Derby
My objective here is not to lecture, as I’m sure you’re already aware of the problem, but rather to identify some of the reasons why people don’ t ( not can’t) find time to exercise and eat properly. I’ll also offer some practical solutions to getting you back on track to setting clear priorities among the competing demands on your time.
Why are we so “Busy”?
As stated above, it isn’t that we are to busy, but rather we’ve developed bad habits that have us spending our time on low value and unproductive tasks. In fact, about 95% of everything we do is defined by habit. We aren’t born with a set of habits. We form our own habits based on our own choices but very soon our habits begin to form us. Most of us are in the habit of spending our time doing too many low value tasks and not enough of the high value ones. Fortunately habits are both learned and learnable, making it possible to change negative behaviors in favor of more healthy ones.
Of course this is often difficult, but you need to consider that something is always difficult before it can become easy, so sticking with it is key. You need to have the desire to change , the decision to take action and the discipline to persist until get the results you want. Good habits are hard to develop but are easy to live with in the long term. Conversley, bad habits are easy to develop but hard to live with. When we form good habits everything in our lives not only get a lot easier but we get that much closer to our goals.
5 Essential Habits for Managing your Time To Get Fit
1. Simplify your tasks
You first need to survey your relationships, events you attend, services you enjoy, expenditures or anything that demands significant time and attention in your life. Do more of the things that are of greater value to your life. You can also learn new skills and begin new activities that you’ve never done before that will bring more value to your life. Reduce or eliminate activities/behaviors that are in direct opposition to your goals. It sounds elementary, but can you honestly say that you reflect on these components of your life on a daily basis? If you did, you’d have taken the first step to really managing your health and your life.
2. Leverage your tasks
“Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I can move the world” – Archimedes
Identify the knowledge and skills needed to maintain superb physical health. Always be on the lookout for new ideas and insights from other people, books or articles to help you reach your fitness goals faster. Delegating your low value tasks to other people can really help make this process easier. Study the successes enjoyed by others just like you. Conversely, learn from other peoples failures. Learn to walk the road that has been paved by others before you, and use this to leverage your efficiency.
3. Take responsibility
The most important personal choice you can make is accept complete responsibility for being in the physical shape you are in now and will be in the future. This single trait is what separates the people who enjoy a healthy lifestyle and those who don’t. Accepting responsibility empowers you and puts you in control of your life. I lays the foundation of high self esteem, self respect and personal pride. When you make excuses, blame others, complain or criticize, you give that power away. This ultimately leads to you giving up on your health altogether.
4. Learn to say NO!
Perhaps the very best habit you can develop is the habit of saying “no” to any demand on your time that is not consistent with your health and fitness goals. Identify the people in your life who only bring forth negativity, the “energy vampires”, or anyone else that drains precious time and energy from you. Commit to spending less time with these people and don’t be afraid to say no, to any demand that is not a high value use of your time. Sometimes it can be healthy to be a little more selfish.
5. Make your health and fitness priority# 1
Make the decision today that you’re going to live for eighty or ninety years. You want to be at your grandchildren’s wedding and maybe even spend some quality time with your great grandchildren. Decide that you are going to feel great from this moment onward. It has never been more possible to live longer and better than at any other point in human history. Unfortunetly, most of us don’t think about our health until we’ve lost it. It’s often true that you become the very thing you think about most of the time. Fit people are always thinking about their health, and so should you!
Hopefully you won’t be using the “I don’t have time to exercise and eat properly” excuse anymore. When you begin to manage your time and your life more carefully, you begin to place a higher value on yourself and your life as well. The more you use and practice these habits and time management principles, the better and more easily they will work for you.