I’ve always enjoyed physical fitness. I played sports growing up, and have made an effort to carve out time to exercise most of my adult life. I know that being physically active makes me much happier. I used to think that people who said they didn’t have time to work out just didn’t really enjoy it like I did, but now I know that’s not typically the case.
Ever since I had my daughter I’ve majorly struggled to find time to work out. It’s something that really bothers me. I tried to be relaxed about it for the first eight months of her life, but now that she’s almost two it’s time to get serious. See, I feel like I have two babies: my daughter and my business. If I ever have an open window of time, I feel like one of them has to be focused on. How can I make time to work out when I’m already so behind at work or I want to spend some quality time with my daughter? It’s so difficult to choose and the guilt can really take a toll. Plus, sometimes it’s hard to envision devoting time to myself when I can hardly use the restroom undisturbed.
The issue is, I need to make time for me, and that’s not really happening. I know most mothers can relate to putting themselves last. What I’ve realized is that without a little time to do things that make me feel happy or energized, I’m really not being my best self for my work and my family. When I carve out time to work out I’m a happier person to be around. I feel inspired and eager to take things on. The times I don’t, I’m more tired, overwhelmed and emotional. That’s why I have decided that this fall, I will challenge myself to exercise three times a week.
For me, I have to work out before 5 p.m. or it’s not going to happen. There are too many family commitments later in the day, so that means I have to find time during the day to get my fitness on.
Here are a few things I plan to do to make this work:
Make it quick
Because I can only go to the gym on the days I have part-time childcare, those are the days I need to make it happen. It’s challenging because those hours feel like gold, and to prioritize the gym feels tough, but I’m confident that everything will improve as a result of going. Because that time is very limited I plan to do quick workouts. That means I probably won’t do anything that’s going to take longer than 45 minutes (sorry, power yoga class!).
Be an early bird
I will try to wake up earlier those mornings. I already wake up at 6:30 a.m. every day so this will be brutal, but any extra time to work and respond to emails is necessary. I will also aim to work for two hours every night after my daughter goes to bed on the days I go to the gym.
Pencil it in
I will mark it down on the calendar and treat my working out time as an important appointment.
Buy new workout clothes
Now this isn’t a priority and may seem frivolous, but for me, whenever I get new workout gear I always look forward to exercising. It beats working out in my grungy T-shirt that I probably slept in, and definitely has food stains on it.
I will be gentle on myself if I am unable to work out because something comes up at work, my daughter is home sick or there’s a gigantic mess at home that I have to take care of. I can adjust my schedule and work out another day. Or perhaps I can go for a jog with her in the stroller or work out in our living room.
Make it worth it
If I am going to be using some of the precious hours to work out I better be making the most of it. I plan to really push myself and get my sweat on!
Finding time for fitness is not easy, and it’s often the thing that gets booted off our schedule first. However, I want to show my daughter that my health is important to me, and I want her to see that we live an active lifestyle. So with a little planning and dedication, I look forward to getting my fitness groove back.
*Update: Since writing this post, I’ve already been working on this schedule and so far I’ve been doing pretty well, but I have had some slip ups and missed some days. Also, I have had trouble waking up before 6 a.m. (can you blame me?!), but given I’m writing this at 9 p.m., I am working at night. I will see how I do over the next month.
Tell me, how do you find time to work out? What are your tricks and tips?
– Taylor Sterling