For over 16 years I have worked one-on-one with hundreds of people to help them navigate their journey toward better health and fitness. While their reasons for hiring me vary from weight loss to marathon training, the core of their goals really comes down to one thing: to take action to better themselves. As humans, it is in our being to constantly seek progress. We want to be “better.”
If we didn’t have dreams and aspirations many of us would find the challenges of daily life hard to sustain. Personally, I have moments when I can see my future best self. In those moments, I feel motivated, optimistic, and excited about my own potential to be that vision. I see clearly the steps I must take in order to achieve that vision and I feel committed to taking action. And then Tuesday rolls around and I get sucked into the ups and downs of daily life that ultimately beat down that beautiful vision. The vision slowly fades and I back off from the action plan that would have gotten me to my goals. And the cycle begins again. Sadly, I am not unique. I see my clients, some of whom I’ve worked with for 6 years, battle the same cycle.
In order to be different than you are today, you must take action. What are your dreams? Do you want to be supremely fit? Do you want to feel unlimited vitality so that you can conquer Tuesday? Do you want to adopt new lifestyle habits so you can reverse diabetes, heart disease or high cholesterol? All of these are absolutely within your reality if you can stay fully committed to action. I have helped my clients achieve every kind of goal that exists – no goal is unattainable if you understand that it requires time. Consider your goals: at its core, what does your goal require? Time. Time to exercise, time to prepare healthy food, and time to manage your game plan. The first step in achieving any goal is to manage your time effectively.
There are many time management experts out there, and you can find their suggestions all over the Internet. None of the tactics will work if you don’t have clear motivation for your goals. My approach with my clients is to define their reasons for their own betterment. If you have powerful reasons behind your dreams, you are more likely to stay committed on Tuesday when you are stressed, tired and short on time.
Exercise is unquestionably the best first step toward any goal. The human body is designed to be fit, functional and active, and when this is achieved, your whole being operates better. Your mind is clearer, your hormones are balanced and your spirit is in tune with higher meaning. I promise you will feel empowered, resilient, effective, invincible – the best you that you dream of- by effectively strength training. Every single mom that I work with confronts feelings of guilt in taking time away from family to exercise. They feel exercise is a luxury that they “shouldn’t” have. Do you experience this? In order to be an effective mom, who will be healthy for a long time, you MUST exercise. You will be calmer, have more stamina, and withstand stress far better if you are fit and eat well. If you are committed to this goal, you will be creative in finding a way to make it happen despite a busy schedule.
It doesn’t matter what your excuse is: kids, two jobs, school, injuries, finances: they are all simply excuses. Every one of us must make time for exercise. There are no tricks to time management here. The key is to make a choice to be “better” and then execute it. Take action on your dreams. I know many women who have careers, multiple kids, are over 40 and are in better shape than me! If it can be done, YOU can do it too. Any reason otherwise, is simply, and only, an excuse. Remember, if the President of the United States can make time to exercise, you can too.
There are a few tricks that I suggest to my clients when they are trying to make the time for exercise. If you only have 2 days per week where you can exercise, I suggest that both workouts each week include cardio and strength training. Aim for 25-30 minutes of challenging cardio and 20-30 minutes of full body strength training that focuses on the major muscle groups (legs, back, chest, arms and abs). Only have 20 minutes to workout? You’ll want to engage in something that is intensity based. Look for an activity that you can do at a challenging rate for the whole 20 minutes. Try jogging, stationary cycling or Ashtanga yoga.
Busy moms find great success when they center their workouts around the home. This maximizes your workout time by removing any commute time to a gym or class. There are many fantastic exercise videos that you can do at home with little or no equipment. A client of mine involves the whole gang for family yoga once each week in their living room. Another client of mine walks outside for interval walking and jogging. In just 35 minutes she can get an effective workout without wasting any time. Interval programs are great because they foster fitness quickly. You can do intervals anywhere by alternating between walking and easy jogging for 2 minutes each.
Your first step is to dream. Take 5 minutes today and imagine your best self. What do you see? That fabulous image is possible if you can grasp all of the reasons for doing it. Stay committed to your reasons; make the time to take action. You will never find a Tuesday where you have extra time to exercise. It doesn’t exist. But if you plan your action, and feel empowered by your reasons, you’ll wake up on Wednesday victorious.