Saturday, 26 October 2013

How many of us find it hard, if not impossible to motivate ourselves to make time to exercise?

How many of us start exercising regularly and then find it falls by the wayside when something 'more important' comes along or we have a 'busy' month?

Let's address that issue of 'busy' months.  If you are a grown up, you will find, I'm pretty certain, that every month is a busy one.  If you make a list of everything you have to do on a daily basis over the course of a week, you will find it very quickly becomes overwhelming.  Go on, have a go!  Write a list of everything you have to accomplish on a daily basis over the course of a week.  Then it's easy to see why exercise drops off or is non-existant.

Perhaps you do schedule time for exercise, but then along comes an important meeting at work you need to prepare for or a party to plan for or house maintenance or visiting a sick relative and then exercise falls down the list of priorities again.

How many of you go to an exercise class?  I bet you are less likely to skip that than if you schedule your own time to go to the gym or for a run or whatever it is you do.

Why is this?

Because timetables work.

You may think only the overly anal have timetables, only the obsessively neurotic plan their days and that may be a little bit true.  But people who plan, get things done!

Part of the reason exercise might fall by the wayside is if you have lists of other things to do.  I don't know about you but I can even put off procrastinating with effective prevarication and clever tangent creation.  I can make a 10 minute job last literally for weeks, months, sometimes even years! Genuinely!

How do I get round this?  I am learning.  It's a work in progress but at the moment, this technique allows me to fit everything I need to do into a day without ending up a physical wreck, without wasting time and without feeling like I have no time to myself.

I timetable my day.

I make sure that there are blocks of time that, as far as possible, are written in stone, but can, at a push, be moved around - so there is flexibility within rigid structure.

I work part time at the moment, to allow for the demands of a young family but this can still be done even if you work full time - you may just have to delegate more.  I plan a hour of housework a day, an hour of laundry and dinner cooking a day, an hour of exercise a day and an hour of writing work a day.  On top of these are hour slots for PT clients and kids' activities.  Hours can of course be added, when I have copy deadlines etc.

The reason for this is that I am naturally very chaotic and disorganised and I find it very hard to focus on any one job if I know I have plenty of time.  I need a deadline.  I need the panic that not having quite enough time gives me.  If I know I can potter abut all day doing housework, I will get very little done but when I know I only have an hour, I get a lot done.  When I know I can sit at my computer all day writing that copy or revising for an exam or whatever it is I need to do, I can easily get sidetracked by facebook or emails and my mind goes blank.

By scheduling a focused hour, I become super productive.

My main problem, when it comes to making sure I am organised enough to leave time for exercise, is laundry!

I have no problem putting it in the machine.
I have no problem hanging it out to dry.
I even have no difficulty folding it up and putting it in the laundry basket.
(I don't iron.  Ever.  I decided a long time ago that it was a waste of my life.  So I don't do it.  I fold very smooth and flat and be done with it and I have taught my eldest two how to iron their own school shirts; husband does his own.)

What I do have unbelievable difficulty with is putting the folded washing away!  I'm sure I can't be alone in this.  It piles up and up until the mountain of clean, beautifully-folded clothes topple over. 

So I have decided not to do it any more.  I will do the bits I can do - washing, drying, folding but then the rest, I will delegate: the kids will put it away.  Every day.  During the hour I have put aside for cooking dinner and laundry, I will fold and pile clothes and deliver to the kids to put away.  This works like a charm!  I no longer have piles of washing!

I am lucky that my kids are now old enough to do a decent job but you get the idea.  Hand on the jobs you can't do to make time for the job you need to do.

And that job is: take care of your health!  

And so we come to that little idea of other things becoming more important than exercising.  Really? Really?  Are you telling me that there are more important things that taking care of your joints so you are able to get up out of a chair without using handles when you're 60?  There are more important things than making sure your heart and lungs are functioning well enough to allow you to walk to the shops or play with your kids?  Really, you are telling me there are more important things than ensuring your bone density (especially women) doesn't deteriorate to the point of osteoporosis in later years? Really?

Come on!  Exercising daily makes you feel good!  It makes you look good and it cheers you up!  And if you are living in the UK in the autumn, you will know that a bit of daily cheer goes a bloody long way in these short, dark, gloomy days!  Exercising daily makes you feel powerful and in control.

There is not one workout you will EVER regret doing.  
Not ever!  

How many days have you already regretted not getting in shape?

Plan it.  
Schedule it.  
Organise your day to make room for your health and well-being!  

Why on Earth wouldn't you?

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