Exercise: 9 Tips to Find the Time

With almost one-third of the year gone, it’s a great time to reassess your goals.  If you have a fitness-related goal you haven’t made progress on yet, you’re not alone.  When you’re trying to juggle a career and a semblance of a life outside work, finding time to exercise isn’t easy.  Here are some tips to help.  

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  • Just as you schedule appointments with your doctor, schedule your workouts.  That way you aren’t scrambling to “find” time to invest in your health.  Plus, the more workout appointments you keep, the fewer doctor’s appointments you may need later.
  • Exercise first thing in the morning to minimize the amount of time you have to decide to not work out.  If you wait until after work, you have all day to come up with a reason to not work out, but if it's morning, you have no other choice once you’re up.  To make yourself get out of bed, put your phone across the room, lay out your exercise clothes the night before (or sleep in them), and plan to meet a friend at the gym.  If you’re really desperate to justify getting up, remind yourself that when you work out first thing in the morning, you only have to shower once, which will save time later in the day.  
  • Eliminate the issues that can delay exercising.  Store everything you need together, from headphones to shoes, to avoid missing your yoga class because you can’t find your favorite socks.  When your water bottle is washed, rather than putting it away, refill it and put it directly into the refrigerator so you don’t need to fill it on your way to the gym.  Then go a step further by storing a set or two of exercise clothes in an easily accessible place, like a basket or bookcase near your front door.  That way on the days you plan to go to the gym after work, you can literally walk in the door, change, and turn around and leave, without seeing distractions.  
  • Figure out what motivates you.  If your "why" is to be healthier and stronger, write that down and remind yourself.  If it's important to you to not waste money, prepay for passes to a class you enjoy or a trainer.    
  • Use your phone.  Try a habit tracker app where you mark off the days you work out.  Once you've built a habit for a few months, it becomes much less desirable to break the chain.  Other great exercise apps like the Nike Training Club or Nike+ Run Club can help give your workouts structure and focus without any work on your part.   One of the tricks I use to get myself to run when I’m not feeling it is to listen to one of the guided runs in the Nike+ Run Club App – they’re great for days when you need a pep talk.   
  • Buy what you need to make it work.  If your shoes don't fit correctly or your exercise clothes are uncomfortable, it will make exercising less appealing.  Think of it as saving money on future medical bills and invest in the things you need to be comfortable and you'll be more likely to work out. 
  • Tie working out into your work.  Sign up to do a 5K with coworkers, exercise to improve your golf swing for a tournament with clients, or just join the gym close to your office so you can exercise on the way to or from work.  
  • Work out with friends and family.  I had slightly less than zero desire to go running recently when it was 32 degrees out and dark because I had failed to heed my own advice and hadn’t gotten out the door until 9:00 p.m.  As I went through the reasons in my head that I did not want to go running, I remembered that not only am I registered for a 5K in May, but later in May I am running a 5K with my goddaughter for the Girls on the Run program.  I figured if she is out running in the cold, then surely I can.  Off I went.  
  • Be realistic.  I’m often reminded of the adage that you can do anything, but you can’t do everything.  If you’re a striving professional (i.e., you read this blog), you are probably used to going for perfection.  Even if you don’t crush the competition at Orange Theory or set a marathon PR this year, the exercise you do get will still benefit your body.  

It seems like every race I run, I see a t-shirt that says “I may be slow, but I’m ahead of you.”  Remember that even if you haven’t achieved 100% of your fitness goals thus far this year, you have three more quarters to do better.  And the fact you are working on it means you’re ahead of everyone who is still on the couch.  

Want to read more?  In January I was quoted in an article on secrets of people who never miss a workout.   You can find it here .   I was also quoted by Women’s Running magazine in December.  You can read that here.         

And if you’d like support in managing your time or making progress on your goals this year, Apochromatik can help.  Contact us to learn more.