In today’s episode, I get real about how difficult it is for busy moms to make time for fitness.
I get it. I’m a busy mom just like you and I know how our fitness goals can fall to the wayside as we take care of our kids, work full-time in or outside of the home, and try to do all the things we have to do.
There are some tips and tricks though, that can help you, as a busy mom, squeeze in time for fitness. And today, I’m sharing 10 of those tips and tricks with you.
But first, I want to talk about whether we’re really too busy…
What’s Your Excuse?
As this episode airs, we are smack in the middle of the heat of summer. Most people find it easier to make excuses for not getting to their fitness goals when it’s hot outside.
Maybe your excuse is that the kids are home on summer vacation and you can’t stick to any kind of routine when they’re home all day. You tell yourself that as soon as they are back in school, you’ll get back to your routine.
Maybe your excuse is that you’re just too busy. The kids have activities, work is crazy, you’re barely keeping your head above water as it is.
Busy is our favorite new buzzword these days, isn’t it?
What if Busy Isn’t the Truth?
We’re all just so busy. Busy has become our norm. It’s what we expect of ourselves and others.
I want to challenge the status quo and suggest that you have the capacity and the ability to change your perception of what busy means.
Because busy is just another excuse.
When we feel busy, we might be talking about that sense of overwhelm when we have too much going on or we aren’t sure what our priorities ought to be. We might say we’re busy simply because it’s what everybody says and we don’t want anyone to think that we aren’t doing our fair share of all.the.things.
But I think that busy is something else entirely.
I think that busy is an excuse our brain makes when we don’t want to change. It’s our brain’s way of keeping us safe within the confines of what we know and what we’re comfortable with.
We Are All Busy
I’m not trying to say that your life isn’t packed full. I’m sure it is because I know mine is! I have kids, I run a business, I take care of my home, I spend time on my marriage, and all the other things that we all do as busy women.
So, I hear you and I understand. I am right there with you.
However, I know for sure that if I allow myself to make “busy” my reason for not going after my goals, I will always remain stuck in the same place I am now.
As long as you use “busy” as an excuse to not go after your own goals, you will also stay stuck right where you are.
So, the first thing that must happen is you have to make a choice.
You must choose to stop using being busy as an excuse to not get what you want. Tell yourself the truth instead. If fitness isn’t happening regularly for you, then you need to face the fact that it isn’t a priority for you.
Or maybe you just don’t know how to make it a priority. And if that’s the case, I’m going to give you some ideas today that will help.
Your Energy and Your Time
If you’ve been listening to me for any length of time, you’ve heard me say that I believe that fitness is all about your energy and your time.
I don’t believe for a minute that food is the biggest issue for the majority of the people I coach.
When you feel overwhelmed, or busy, you can’t make good food or fitness choices. When fitness isn’t a priority for you, you will shove it off as you continue to run out the door to a million other things. And while you’re out, you’ll make poor food choices.
The more stressed your lifestyle makes you feel, the more poor food and fitness choices you will make. Are your kids driving you crazy? Notice how much more junk you eat. Do you have a day full of errands? If you don’t plan ahead, you will grab junk while you’re out.
What I want to do in this episode is give you 10 things you can implement today to help you make time for fitness. Don’t try them all; choose 1 or 2 to try and see what happens. Here we go…
#1 – Get Grounded.
This is the first and most important tip I can give you to begin. My grounding process is simply the hour I spend on Sunday mornings getting a jump start on my week before it starts.
If you feel like your life is out of control and you are always just flying by the seat of your pants, this 1 hour will give you time back.
Flying by the seat of our pants is why we end up ordering pizza or going through the drive-thru.
If we were ahead of our week, we would have a meal plan in place and we wouldn’t spend an hour “driving thru” that we could have spent eating a healthy dinner and getting in a workout.
Every time one of my clients tells me that they didn’t meet their goals because the week just got away from them, I always ask if they took the time on Sunday to ground themselves. Nearly every time the answer is, “No.”
I’m telling you, this one thing will absolutely change your life. If you’re not doing it, start now. I promise you will be amazed at how you seem to have more time in your week.
#2 – Move Your Body
The point of fitness is to move your body so let’s start there: Move your body FIRST.
We all know that as the day wears on, we get tired. Our bodies get tired and any plan we had for the day can easily get pushed aside as we serve others.
Moving your body must be your #1 priority so no matter what, move your body first. Don’t let anything push your fitness out of the first priority place.
Maybe you’ll wake up and walk for 15 minutes or do some weights. Whatever it is, you decide that this is how you’re going to start your day.
I recently talked about establishing a morning routine that sticks and this should be part of that routine. It’s simply how you start your day, every day. No excuses, no bargaining. Just do it.
#3 – Model It for the Kids
“Amanda, the kids are home and I just can’t work out when they’re here all day.”
I’m calling BS on that one, friends. Don’t tell me you can’t work out when your kids are with you because I do it all the time. Plenty of people work out with their kids around.
Aside from the fact that you can work out when your kids are around, I’m going to challenge you and say that you should work out when your kids are around.
Why? Because it’s your job to model for your kids what a healthy adult looks like and how they live. Show them how to take control of their health and how to set priorities and live them out.
Exercise makes you feel better, (hello, endorphins!) and makes you a better parent. Not only that, but your kids may enjoy working out with you.
Instead of your kids being one of your excuses, view them as a reason for working out.
#4 – Set boundaries.
If you haven’t been making fitness a priority in your life, you may have to set some firm boundaries with your family and friends when you get serious about it.
Boundaries scare people because we see them all wrong. We aren’t pushing people away; we are deciding what is best for us and expecting others to respect our decisions.
Your workout time is important. You family can learn to respect that time, whether they participate in it or not.
#5 – Use Technology to Your Advantage
I know how easy it is to get sucked down the Instagram hole. You get on for 5 minutes and when you turn around, it’s been 45. I get the fear of using technology when most of us are trying to shorten our usage, not extend it.
Let me tell you, airplane mode is your friend!
If you find yourself scrolling social media too often and for too long, if your friends text you 24/7, if you just need to check your email one more time, you need to get friendly with airplane mode.
I actually put my phone in airplane mode from 8:00 at night, when we put the kids to bed, until 6:00 the next morning. This allows me to spend time with my husband in the evenings instead of staring at my phone.
#6 – Set Reminders
When you do your grounding on Sunday, take a few minutes and set some reminders on your phone.
If you plan to work out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, set a reminder. If you want to be sure to take a walk every day at noon, set a reminder on your phone for every day at noon.
Use the reminders on your phone to set those intentions that you want to happen. If you need a cue for when to do something, use your technology to build those cues into your day.
There is no shortage of reminder apps and intention apps so don’t let this be another excuse that you use…”Oh, I forgot.” Set reminders so that you don’t forget.
#7 – Get Laser Focused
There is one sure way to fail on your fitness goals: try to do everything and make all the changes at once.
You can not do everything. Hear me, friends.
If you try to make all the changes at once, you will fail.
Think about it; if you’re already too busy for fitness, what’s going to happen when you try to fix your eating habits, your exercise, and your overall health all at the same time? You are going to quit.
The way to beat the overwhelm and actually see change is to tackle one thing at a time. Choose one meal to tackle first or decide to journal for 5 minutes every morning (Grab my FREE journaling prompts to help you lose weight here).
Pick the one thing that will make the biggest difference for you and start there. Get that one thing down before you start the next thing. This is how you begin to make fitness a habit.
#8 – Make These Changes a (Freakin’) Priority
Look, if you don’t make this stuff a priority, it’s not going to happen. It’s truly as simple as that.
If you’re still using the “too busy” excuse, you need to stop. Tell your brain that you are not too busy to take your health and fitness seriously. Stop saying the words, “I’m so busy.”
You and I both know that you have both time and money for whatever is truly important to you.
Health coaching is an investment. Joining a gym is an investment. Purchasing weights is an investment. Buying good food is an investment.
So, let me ask you a question.
Are you worth the investment? (The answer is, “Hell, yes”, btw.)
It’s not only a financial investment, though. It’ a time investment. You can’t spend hours scrolling social media or reading People magazine if you want to change your life. There are things you have to do if you expect to meet your goals.
Maybe you have to say no to dinner out with friends or drinks with the girls.
If you want to find time for fitness, you are going to have to cultivate some healthy habits and make some scary changes. As soon as you start to feel scared, you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Remember, your brain doesn’t want you to make the changes so just jump in and start today!
#9 – Done Is (Always) Better than Perfect
I’m not talking about slacking and making poor choices.
What I mean is that because fitness is now your priority…because you are making an investment in your health…because you have given up all the excuses…you now know that doing something is always better than not doing it because it isn’t perfect.
Let’s say you have a sick kid at home so you can’t get to the gym. Perfect would be your Barre class at the gym or working out with weights for 45 minutes or seeing your personal trainer.
- Done is walking for 30 minutes.
- Done is doing some interval cardio at home, like jumping jacks, running sprints in your back yard, or running up and down your stairs (You can grab my FREE workouts out here for those done over perfect moments).
- Done is sitting down with your journal for 5 minutes even if you didn’t get any sleep last night .
- Done is choosing a salad at the fast-food restaurant.
- Done is grabbing a bottle of water instead of a soft drink.
Be intentional about your day and the choices you make even when life is throwing lemons at you as fast as you can duck. Stop with the all or nothing mindset; it’s a sure road to burnout. Take one step at a time. Done is always better than perfect so just do something.
#10 – Think About Your Thinking
I talked a little bit earlier about how your brain wants to protect you from change. One of the brain’s top jobs is to conserve energy. So when you try to make changes in any area of your life, your brain is working hard to get you to go back to the old way, the easy way.
In order to make changes, you have to understand what is happening with your brain and learn how to work with it, how to train it.
Having a desire to change your body, your mind, your life, is a beautiful thing. And it’s damn hard.
So when you become aware that your brain is trying to protect you from the changes you’re trying to make, you can have an inner dialogue with yourself and remind yourself what you’re doing and why.
“Whew, this is hard. My brain doesn’t want me to get up at 5:30 to work out but instead of acknowledging that thought right now, I’m going to put my feet on the floor. And now that my feet are on the floor, I’m going to put on my workout clothes. And now that I’m dressed in my workout clothes, I’m going to get busy.”
It’s literally one step at a time. That’s how you make new pathways in your brain to make change sustainable. You have to do the same thing over and over, one step at a time, in order for your brain to decide that the new way is the safe way.
And pretty soon, you’ll be where I am! I don’t have to talk myself into waking up in the morning to journal and work out anymore. I don’t have to fight my inner self to order the salad at Chick-fil-A instead of the nuggets and fries. It’s just what I do.
My morning routine is a part of my identity now but I started right where everybody starts. At the beginning. 70 pounds overweight and knowing I had to do something.
It took time and focus to get where I am today. And you have to believe that with time and focus, you can get there too.
If you see yourself in what I’ve been talking about today…if you find yourself making excuse after excuse about how busy you are…if you’re tired of feeling like crap and you’re ready to make a change…
I challenge you to pick just 1 tip that I’ve shared today, (or 2, if you feel like you’re ready) and implement it this week.
Stop making excuses. Stop saying you’re too busy for fitness. Busy women can make fitness a priority. We can change our body, change our mind, and we can decide what we want our life to look like.
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