A question I get often is, "how in the world do I find time to get everything done that I need to be healthy? It just feels so overwhelming."
I wanted to air some of the biggest frustrations I get about living a healthy lifestyle, and let you know we’ll be tackling them one by one (and more) in future blog posts and podcast episodes! Here they are in no particular order:
It takes too much time
I'm too busy
It's too complicated
It costs way more to eat healthy
I hate cooking!
I don't like fruits and vegetables
I want to eat the foods I love
I won't be able to have a life
I love going out with my friends
I'm always on the go
I can't ever sustain it anyways, the weight always comes back on!
I hate exercise
When I really need to lose some weight I'll just go on keto and drop a ton and I'll be fine.
I can't live without chocolate, ice cream, etc.
I'll never be the size I want to be so what's the point?
Today, we're going to talk about the "I'm too busy" and the excuses we tell ourselves to justify living an unhealthy lifestyle.
TIME: To start, most people fall into two categories of "busy":
I'm super busy after work with my TV shows.
Running around like a chicken with my head cut off (can't remember my own name)
Aka, the people who are truly busy and the people who have perfected the art of procrastination and just THINK they're super busy. Do an honest look: which category do you fit into? THOSE WHO JUST THINK THEY’RE SUPER BUSY:
To break this down, Let's start with the easiest one first: Those who just THINK they're busy. A great way to figure out if you fall into this category is if you watch at least one hour of TV every single day. People come to me all the time to say they can't find time to exercise but when we look at their schedule, they're watching 2 hours of TV every night. Step 1: Take control of your time by tracking your time (with no changes) for one week. Total up how many hours you spend sleeping, working, tv, social media, exercise, meal prepping, etc. Step 2: Create a list of everything that needs to get done in a week. Include the things that help you to be a healthier person, like exercise, cooking dinner, meal prepping, etc. This is a list of your priorities. Step 3: Compare the two lists. How similar are they? Step 4: Make a list of your most common time wasters. Things such as procrastination, social media, online shopping, anything that you turn to because it's mindless and easy instead of doing the things on your priority list.
Step 5: Get your calendar, put your priorities on there at times that work and stick to that! Again, this may not be fun but sometimes being an adult isn't super duper fun.
“WHAT DAY IS IT?” BUSY:
Step 1: Make a list of where your time is going. Track your time for a week with no changes. Step 2: Make a list of your priorities. Step 3: Compare the two. Step 4: Do an honest look; is everything I'm doing a priority? Can I say no to some people? Can I delegate or find a more efficient way to tackle this problem/task? Note: There are seasons in our lives where we have to say no to things we want to do, simply because our priorities are so full and all-consuming. As the seasons change and priorities shift, you are able to take on more in a new season than in the past. Don't hold this all in, though. Talk to a friend, spouse, or family member. Tell them how you're feeling and how things are so busy for you right now.
Excuses and Goals
The other half of our chat today I want to dedicate to excuses and goals.
Being healthy is not going to take the same amount of effort as being a couch potato. It requires time and effort and consistency. It requires you to do things when you don't feel like it, but it doesn't require you to give up your life.
Here's the thing about excuses: they are very valid. They have to have a grain of truth or they don't seem like justification for us, and we won’t even bother using them. HOWEVER. You have two options - you can allow for your excuses to stop you from ever getting to your goal. They are barriers, after all. They are valid. OR you can see those suckers for what they are: time stealing words that keep us playing small and stopping us from doing what we were meant to do.
I have a truth that I will share with you again and again in our post today: Barriers will never go away until we make them go away.
The only way to make our barriers go away is to be proactive and set a goal for how we are going to work around it. These are not intentions. As important and well-meaning as an intention is, is it not action-oriented, and that’s what we need when we’re dealing with an obstacle. This is why we set goals, and s you make goals, they need to be S.M.A.R.T.
Specific: what exactly are you going to do? “Move more” doesn’t cut it here. Measurable: how will you tell if you’ve hit your goal? Ahem… “more/less/prioritize/be better at/focus on” are all banished from SMART goals. They stop you from setting actually smart goals and keep you stuck in the same place one week from now as you are today. Attainable: A realistic goal you’re confident you can achieve! You’ll have to fight your ego on this one - it will tell you you’re lazy for setting goals that you’re already confident in. This is the single greatest determinate of forward movement. If you do not set attainable goals, you WILL NOT progress forward consistently. Relevant: Relevant to your overall goal. How does what you’re trying to do get you closer to your overall goal? If it doesn’t, it’s a no-go! Timely: Give yourself some end dates to accomplish things by so you’ve got some kick in the pants to get it done :) Example of some SMART Goals: Exercise: 1. I will follow my weight lifting routine 4 times this week. 2. I will go for a walk with my spouse after dinner twice this week. 3. I will meet 3 days of exercise each week this month. Nutrition: 1. I will include 1 more serving of veggies 2 nights this week. 2. I will pack nuts to snack on at work each day this week instead of chips. 3. I will replace one soda per day with a sparkling water this week. Then, we look at the week ahead (or the month ahead) and determine what our biggest barriers are. If we don’t plan to work around them, they WILL stop us from getting to where we want to be. What will you do to overcome these barriers? Things like: 1. Working overtime 2. Having a lot of obligations in that week 3. Being exhausted when you’re done with work 4. Vacation Sometimes the way to overcome that barrier is to make your goal smaller and accept that in a week where you’re going on vacation, you’re not also going to clean out your pantry and meal prep. Because you’re not home.
EXAMPLES: Barrier: Sitting on the couch all night after work instead of exercise. I see the couch, I tell myself “just 10 minutes to relax then I’ll get my workout in” and then it’s bedtime. Solution: Get your workout bag in the car and stop on the way home, or change before you leave work or as soon as you get home. Tell your family that it is a non-negotiable for you and that you need their support. Barrier: No food to cook at home (I planned to stop at the grocery store after work and ended up working late), so now I’m eating out when I’m ravenous and making bad choices. Solution: Find some good options ahead of time so when you’re out, you know what to have. Have some backup easy meals at home that take just a few minutes. Plan for some quick fast food options that are healthy. Keep some snacks in your desk so you can snack before you leave work, still stop at the grocery store and make dinner when you get home. Finally, another option is to grocery shop once for everything you need, which requires meal planning.
PROCESS FOR GOAL SETTING AND OVERCOMING BARRIERS:
1. Find your WHY. Why does this matter? It needs to be so deep that you are moved to action when you think about it. 2. Set your SMART GOAL 3. Figure out one or two common barriers 4. Brainstorm ideas to work around them 5. Pick the one that is most likely to be successful and try it! 6. Reflect on how it went.
A note and some encouragement about your why: I hear from many people who are frustrated that they need to eat healthy and exercise. I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but it's really important to understand so I'll say it again here (and probs a million more times) - just because someone can "get away with" eating like junk and never exercising does not mean they are healthy or have an ideal body. Maybe on the outside they look great and you feel envious because every time you look at fries you gain 3lbs. But junk food and a sedentary lifestyle does the same thing to all of our insides. Some of us are simply lucky enough to have it show on the outside too in some way. Acne, weight gain, gut issues, food sensitivities, fatigue, etc. are all signs that something isn't right. Call me crazy, but I'd love to have gut issues and understand how to take care of my body as opposed to no signs until a heart attack at age 40. It's not a question of IF the typical American lifestyle is affecting us. It's not really even HOW. It's what will we do about it to achieve optimal health. THAT’S A WRAP! THANKS FOR READING!
You can find my podcast by going to your favorite podcast app and searching for “The Balanced Bod Pod”. You can find me on social media @thebalancedbody_ xo, Corin Groustra