Steph’s note: This is the first in a three-part series about your time and your health brought to you by my guest blogger Justin of Limitless365. Justin brings his expertise as a one-on-one health coach to you here, and his philosophy on life, training and nutrition really jive with mine. Make sure to check out his site after you’re done reading the article! Take it away, Justin!
What If You Don’t Have As Much Time at You Want to for Your Health?
Meetings, phone calls, emails and projects never seem to end.
And, when you consider how many people, obligations and responsibilities are competing for your time, it feels damn near impossible to make time to improve or even just maintain your health. That’s why “making time for your health” can feel overwhelming…especially if you don’t know where to start or feel like you “don’t have the time.”
The good news is that you do have the time. In fact, everyone does. We all operate with the same 24 hours in a day. It’s just that a few of us are better at managing those 24 hours.
Here’s how to CREATE more time for your health.
Step 1: Eliminate or Reduce?
Perhaps, the easiest way to make time for your health is by simply eliminating non-priorities.
You can instantly make time for your health by eliminating or reducing non-priorities, especially those that provide little benefit. For some people, it might be reducing or eliminating time spent gaming, surfing the net or watching television. For you, it might be something totally different.
To find out the best candidates for elimination or reduction, keep a time log for a day or two this week. Track how you spend every 30 minutes of your time. You’ll be shocked at how many 30-minute chunks of time are squandered each day. And, you’ll love seeing how easy it is to make or take an additional 30 to 60 minutes each day for your health.
Step 2: Recruit Assistance
After eliminating “time-wasters,” look at the tasks, responsibilities and obligations that fill your day.
Next, sort your activities into:
- Things I must do myself.
- Things someone else can do.
What are the items (tasks, etc.) that absolutely have to be done by you? For example, your health is all yours. You can’t delegate or outsource it.
Now, what items can you get help with? Too many of us suffer from the “lone ranger” mentality that has us trying to do everything on our own.
Housecleaning, errands or other tasks can be delegated. In fact, there are probably several items on your plate that can be handed to someone else. You can enlist the help of family, friends or professionals when it comes to handling those non-health priorities, tasks, or responsibilities.
So, get rid of the “do it myself” mindset. Instead, recruit the help of others. This will free up time so you can immerse yourself, more fully and consistently, in taking care of your health.
- How can your kids pitch in a little more?
- Significant other?
Step 3: Prioritize Your Schedule for Health
Now that you’ve eliminated, reduced and delegated as many responsibilities as possible, it’s time for you to prioritize your schedule for health.
If you agree that health is a priority, then you’ll need to schedule it in. Some considerations are:
- What time each day is best for exercising?
- When will you relax or sleep each day?
- Which day(s) each week will you do your grocery shopping?
- When is it best to prep your meals?
And remember, when scheduling in health activities, they are a priority. At first, your health activities might not fit comfortably into your current schedule. However, if you’ve taken the time to eliminate, reduce and delegate, then you should have a few time slots available on your calendar for your health. Nevertheless, you still might have to move some things around.
For example, it might be “best” to schedule your fitness activity into the first part of your day, or first thing in the morning.
This might mean that you have to:
- Go to sleep at an earlier time.
- Wake up a little earlier.
- Reschedule any other activity that currently occupies your first waking hour.
Remember, priorities come first…not after other tasks.
Step 4: Put Your Health on Autopilot
Having to recall the steps necessary to complete an activity—before taking action—can be quite agonizing. It doesn’t matter whether it’s preparing a presentation or taking care of your health. In fact, the repetitive daily process of having to think or decide what to eat, how long to work out, and when to go to bed can be a royal pain in the ass.
Most successful and healthy people set routines.
Routines reduce the amount of “thinking” or decisions necessary to complete a task. It frees up your brainpower for other things. Routines allow you to place activities on autopilot.
For example, the most successful athletes follow set routines each day and before events or games. And because they’ve completed their routine numerous times, they don’t have to think about it. It’s automatic. It’s on autopilot.
Setting a morning routine is a powerful way to make time for health.
To set your morning routine, make a list of the key activities you do (or need to do) every morning.
Here’s a sample routine list:
- Wake up. (6:00 a.m.)
- Brush teeth and put on fitness gear. (6:10 a.m.)
- Walk. (6:15 – 7:00 a.m.)
- Enjoy a healthy breakfast. (7:15 a.m.)
- Shower, get dressed. (7:30 a.m.)
- Review list of today’s priorities. (7:45 a.m.)
- Begin the day. (8:00 a.m.)
Your routine will likely involve other items, in quite a different order. Instead of a walk, you might do yoga, run, or go to the gym. Or, you might decide to awake earlier…if you have children.
That’s okay. In fact, you might need to tweak the list a little or a lot over the first week of your morning routine. The important thing is that your routine allows you to begin your day in the healthiest way, fitness and nutrition wise. So, be sure to include whatever health activities necessary.
- Create your morning routine on a piece of paper.
- Place it beside your bed.
- And, for the first week or two, review it when you awake.
After doing this for one to two weeks, you’ll notice your morning routine runs on autopilot. It will be easy for you.
You’ll appreciate that it requires no thought, but delivers such great benefits. You’ll feel great. You’ll start your day by having given your body a vital dose of physical activity and healthy nutrition.