How to beat the “I don’t have time”

Before getting into this topic, I would like to acknowledge that I fully understand that not everybody is in the same situation, and not everybody has the same amount of free time to spend on things like exercise and cooking from scratch. Somebody’s family situation, financial situation, living situation and the type of work they do can have an impact on the amount of free time available to them.

If you are in a situation that makes finding any free time difficult, and you would still like to make changes, it might be best to start with small, very manageable changes, and slowly build up to doing what you can with what you have available to you.

The remainder of this post is aimed at those people who do have the time and resources to live healthier and be more active, and for whom “I don’t have time” is mostly an excuse, or a lie they tell themselves.

If you fall into that category, you probably already know it.

“I don’t have time” or “I’m too busy” are the perfect excuses for things we could or should do, but don’t really feel like doing. After all, who could blame us for not doing something that we just have no way of fitting into our schedule?

But when it comes to eating well and exercising, putting it off and making excuses can hurt us in the long run. Weak and stiff muscles, back pain, postural issues, and many other health issues that especially people with sedentary jobs are at risk for, can be minimised by sacrificing some of our free time to pursuits like regular exercise.

Let’s be honest; if there was a pill we could take to give us the benefits of regular exercise and a healthy diet while we binge watched Netflix eating junk food, most of us would happily take it. Until that pill is invented, however, we need to bite the bullet and take our long-term health into our own hands.

These are strategies you can use to get past the excuse of “I don’t have time”:

  • Schedule workouts and/or walks into your routine. If something is scheduled in your calendar for a specific date and time, you’re more likely to do it. You can even set reminders to make sure you’re prepared for the occasion.
  • Find an activity you enjoy. You’re much more likely to make time for things you enjoy at least a little bit. Try different sports, activities and workout styles, and see which one you’re most likely to stick with. This could be anything that gets you moving; for example yoga, netball, dance, climbing, martial arts, hiking, cycling, ice skating, swimming,…
  • Get yourself an accountability partner. If you are somebody who enjoys working out or going for walks with friends, make plans to meet up with a friend for those occasions. You are much more likely to show up for your workouts when a friend is counting on you being there.
  • Find a gym on your way home from work. If you go to a gym, choose a gym that’s located in-between your place of work and your home. That way, you can either work out in the morning before going to work, or in the evening straight after work, before you go home. Especially if you work out in the evening, doing so before going home makes it less likely that you’ll skip the workout. Once you’re home and start getting comfortable and winding down, getting up and going to the gym is a million times harder.
  • Take accountability for your decisions. If you don’t feel like being active, instead of saying that you don’t have time for it, be honest with yourself. Try saying “being active is not a priority for me” or ” I would rather do something else right now”, and see how that impacts your actions.

What strategies do you use to keep yourself accountable?

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