Whether you exercise somewhat regularly, are a fitness junkie, or can barely think about walking without breaking a sweat, chances are you’ve been in a room where the words, “I don’t have time to work out” were uttered. Perhaps they were even uttered by you.
The typical American spends around two hours a day on social media. “Netflix and chill” is more than just a phrase we hear occasionally. It’s an activity we indulge in rather regularly. People make time for after-work happy hours, gaming, our favorite reality television show (okay, let’s be real: shows), and Sunday fundays filled with sports, drinking, and more time with devices.
Maybe that’s not an accurate description of you. Maybe you’re a busy working mom who can barely keep the house cleaned, diapers changed, and dinner on the table, let alone have time for a hobby. Or perhaps you’re a medical professional who works 55 hours a week and comes home exhausted and hungry every day.
Or perhaps you are simply too disorganized to figure out when you can fit in something extra like exercise into your overwhelming and stressful life. There are just far too many daily things that would need to change for you to get there.
What if you discovered that, instead of just adding on another to-do item, making time to regularly exercise helped you create a more organized home and life?
Yes, It Can
A few things happen when we decide to start exercising regularly. First, we plan what form of exercise we want to do. The options are quite literally endless, from signing up at your local gym to simply using some of the numerous at-home options via subscriptions and online videos. Or maybe you just take up running. After all, the outdoors is free!
No matter what you choose, there really is something for everyone. So think about what kind of movement you like to do or would like to try, then about what setting you want to do it in, and narrow the possibilities to a specific direction.
Next, decide when to engage in your chosen physical activity. Sure, you could just throw on your old sneakers randomly throughout the week. That might even work for a bit.
Soon enough, though, as you work towards retaining the habit, you’ll find yourself (often without even realizing it) beginning to plan and prep for it. This is especially true if you’re blessed enough to have a family, pets, or a job to plan around. The more obstacles you have to get through, the more tiny steps you take to ensure the job gets done.
Start with the Beginning of that Cycle
Let’s back up for a minute. If we are being honest, most people are the person described earlier. Nope, not the fitness junkie, but breaking a sweat just thinking about going for a run. Then once you’ve finally found your sneakers buried in the back of your closet, it takes you 15 minutes to convince yourself to put the sneakers on. Then it takes another five minutes to decide which sweatshirt to wear.
When that sunshine hits your face and your endorphins start kicking in, though, oh man! That 20-minute planned walk suddenly becomes a 40-minute escape, and you’re mentally scheduling in time to do this again tomorrow. This feeling is how exercise goes from “I should do that” to “I am doing that.”
A couple of weeks go by with you enjoying the results of your first attempts, then often you’re beginning to up your game. Thursday Leg Day requires about 35 minutes. Plus, you like to have time for your post-workout smoothie, required sweaty selfie (did you really work out otherwise?), and of course a quick shower.
This means you are setting that alarm a bit earlier to work out before clocking in at work. Soon, you notice that getting to bed before 11 p.m. is necessary to rest those tired muscles. Looks like you’ll be turning off Netflix, stopping the social media scroll, and climbing into bed a few minutes earlier on Wednesdays.
Maybe you even go old school, and buy an alarm clock to ensure you wake up on time. With this placed across the room, there’s no way you’re hitting snooze and falling back asleep!
This Is Called a Virtuous Cycle
Next, you find yourself looking to squeeze in a few extra minutes here and there. After all, booty day needs a full 40 minutes. So, you prep that post-workout smoothie the night before for a faster breakfast. Oh, and you start laying out your work outfit to shave off a few minutes there.
Then there’s those High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Mondays, which are not just intense, but frankly a tad stressful. This causes you to ensure your kitchen is neat and tidy the night before so that you have no added stressors in the morning.
You’ve also cut your happy hours from once a week down to once a month, because you’d really rather use that time to do some meal prepping or other chores. Now, not only are you getting more stuff done during the week, but you are also feeling less overwhelmed, because things in your life are getting done! As an added bonus, your boss is pretty happy about the decreased morning hangovers and better work ethic.
Just Get to the Tipping Point
The tipping point into an entire life change for the better doesn’t happen overnight, but it does happen. The small, seemingly insignificant changes and additions keep coming. As you begin to fall in love with your fitness life, you finally begin to prioritize it.
Suddenly, it does matter that the laundry is done: gotta have those leggings ready to go! You no longer grocery shop at random, but start creating lists: protein is a must for those gains!
On top of that, you are loving how much less stressed and anxious you are. Instead, you feel more upbeat, energized, and ready to tackle your to-do list instead of wasting hours staring at your devices.
Although finally fitting back into your favorite jeans is also amazing, fitness improves more than just your body. It’s improving your life, and quietly organizing it more each day. It’s one more reason besides your health to make a plan to get started.