Do you find yourself saying “I would love to do that but I don’t have the time”? Or maybe you say “I can’t” more often than “I can?”.
I’d like to draw on the analogy of our bodies being like a bicycle chain. Both will serve you well for months, if not years, without maintenance. However, without respect they slowly degrade over time. The bike chain rusts, it becomes inefficient, it doesn’t run smoothly…eventually the chain snaps.
Similarly, our bodies get sluggish, we become overweight, we become ill and our hearts and lungs begin to suffer. We end up with diabetes, high blood pressure and poor cholesterol levels. In both cases, the longer the degradation is left to occur, the harder it is to break the habit.
People who run, walk, cycle, swim and exercise in whatever form don’t live in a world with more than 24 hours in a day. They too are generally busy and stretched for time and yet they still manage to get out the door and make time for themselves. What is the secret, how do they do it?
The answer is that we all have it in us. The secret lies in the fact that they have desire and the dedication to take the first step. Do this and the rest will follow.
Everyone is different and we are all motivated by different things. Finding out how to make it work for you crucial. However, what’s universal is that finding time for you must not be lost in the endless list of things to be done for work or the family. If it is, almost without noticing, your performance, motivation and desire will wane.
That’s all very well but how can I practically create more time for me?
Make time for a break at lunch. If an hour is too long, 30 mins is just fine. Go out and walk. Grab a friend to go with you. Walk and talk. Why not have a meeting as you walk. Business networking while walking is a growing trend. No time wasting involved in this type of walking!!
Use a pedometer. You won’t need to make extra time in your day or even need to put your trainers on. A pedometer will measure how many steps you take over the course of a day. It’s a great motivator to get you to walk instead of taking the bus; use the stairs instead of the lift; or get out and walk with the dog. It becomes a game with yourself as you have a daily Personal Best to break. There is no competition or sweating involved but you will defiantly feel the benefits.
Camaraderie is important to keep you on track and consistent. Rekindle the love for a sport you enjoyed as a child at an informal club, such as netball or hockey. Maybe join a local 5 a side team. The majority are far from serious and much more focussed on the post-game pub session, but it’s exercise in a fun and social environment which is good for the soul, too.
Take a leaf out of the Aussies book and organise a game of football or tag rugby in the park at lunch time or after work. This raises the heart rate whilst taking the focus off exercise and puts it firmly in the fun camp.
Get off the bus two stops early and walk to the office. Do the same on the return journey. Take the stairs, not the lift. Get on your bike rather than the bus. Walk to the sandwich shop instead of ordering it in.
Start small and, importantly, start with what is manageable. Exercise, activity, me time – whatever you call it doesn’t have to involve sweat, tears and the struggles of self-motivation. See it as a pleasant period of time when you are with friends, listening to music and having time to think…all the while tapping into that legal, natural high called endorphins.