If there is one question I get asked more than any other, it is, “how do you have/find time for everything?”
The truth is, I don’t have time. Honestly, I really don’t have the time. And I certainly don’t find time! (If you ever find a way to “find time” please let me know!) So what is my secret? Sounds crazy, but like most of us that make health and fitness a part of our daily lives, I make time. (And I don’t even have kids! It amazes me how working moms/dads keep up with everything…but I know it really is just the same as me. You make the time!)
So what does making time look like? For me, it means sometimes having to give up the opportunity to go out with friends, watch a TV program I like or sleep in on a weekend morning. I know what needs to be done and I do it. That doesn’t leave me with much time, especially on the days/nights I work both jobs. In fact, on those days/nights, I get up at 5am and work straight through (with exception of my commute) to anywhere between 9-11pm. Since that leaves no time to work out and barely time to shower and sleep, I have to fit my workouts in on days and nights I don’t work.
Rest days? I’m sorry…what are those?
I don’t think it would be possible for me to hold a schedule like I do if I didn’t want what I get out of it. I want to be healthy and fit. I want to look good in a bikini. I want to get a PR on race day. It doesn’t mean I love every work-out. I just really like the results. That is what makes it worth it.
Being dedicated to something takes motivation. Motivating myself is not always easy. In fact, it is rarely easy. I know that the decisions I have to make every day. I know these decisions will serve to assist or hinder my long-term goals. On days when I really don’t want to work-out, get to the gym or even get out of bed, I remind myself that it is so worth it when it is over. I am faced with choices and challenges every day. I am only accountable to myself. I know the only person I am letting down if I skip a workout, is myself. One of the ways I keep myself motivated from day-to-day is to have a schedule. I know what days I have to work, which nights I take ballet and barre and what days I have to run. For me, it helps to know what each day is going to bring. I keep a schedule on my calendar at work and on my fridge at home. More importantly for me, I think about my schedule for the next day each night before I go to bed. This helps me both get ready mentally for what is ahead and serves as way to remember my goals on a nightly basis.
Here are some of my additional tips for motivating oneself:
- Set small goals that lead towards bigger goals. I find that if all I am focused on is the big goal, I get lost and lose patience. One way I do this is by focusing on the day-to-day and week to week workouts. I allow myself to get through one run before I think about the next run. Same with my swims and most recently my barre and ballet classes.
- I keep in mind that I train for reasons other than just the end result. For me, training also builds my confidence. There is a direct relationship between how fit I am and how good I feel. When I don’t want to workout, I remind myself of how good I feel when I am done. When I am exercising on a regular basis, I don’t feel guilty about dessert with dinner or worry about the extra glass of wine. When I don’t want to work out, I don’t allow myself to talk myself out of it. Same with racing. Even when I feel like I am not at my best or when I have anxiety over a race and I am questioning my ability. I remember that if I’ve trained well, I’ll do well. I know I can do the distance, so even on a bad day, it’s just a matter of doing nothing more than keeping myself moving forward for a given period of time.
- I keep it fresh. I do a variety of work-outs. I run, use the elliptical, lift weights, swim, take spin classes, dance ballet and take barre classes. I also do a variety of each workout. I take different instructors for barre classes and spin classes. I have my favorite instructors, but they all have something to offer and mixing it up keeps it fun. While I prefer to free swim, I will also take in my fins or kick-board just for a change of pace in the pool. I change locations for my runs and do different workouts. Sometimes I run alone and sometimes with others. Sometimes with music and sometimes not. There are days I lift with heavier weights and do less reps and other days where I lift with lighter weights and do more reps. Whatever it take to keep it from feeling boring. Different is good!
- I look in the mirror more than I look at the scale. I won’t elaborate too much because I am working on a separate post that goes into more detail, but I will say that this was probably the smartest thing I have done when it comes to staying fit. I force myself to look at myself. While the number on the scale might not change, I know by the fit of my clothes and I can tell just by looking in the mirror that my body is changing for the better.
- I just do it. I don’t skip scheduled workouts (except in case of emergencies or if I am sick) and I put aside distractions.
What it ultimately comes down to is this: I know I need to make better decisions more often than I make not-so-good ones. (Skipping my barre class because of a bachelorette party the night before was perfectly acceptable to me. Using being tired as an excuse to not work out on a regular basis is not acceptable.) Making good decisions is what will lead to success. I mean, it is simple. We begin learning this lesson as babies. Keep trying until you get it right. Don’t quit. Fight for what you want. Work hard and see results.
I find that the more you put in the effort and hard work, the more easily you will choose wisely when it comes to making decisions.
How do you make time for you? How do you motivate yourself?