One of the most common goals set each new year is to find more time for exercise. It then often goes that the for the first month, the gyms are crowded with people carrying out their new year’s resolutions, but by about now the numbers are dwindling as the busyness of life creeps in and exercise gets shelved.
I am one of those people who loves exercise and exercises 6- 7 times a week. But I wasn’t always like this. In fact, I have actually exercised more regularly and become fitter with each child we have had – we have five.
The key reason for this is that exercising for me was the one hour in the day when I would not have to be responsible for lovely little people! With a partner who works longish hours and plays sport himself, I would look forward to my time out and the re-energised feeling I would receive from undertaking physical activity.
But fitting time for my exercise into our weekly routine didn’t just happen, it was something we had to work out and it has been a gradual process to reach where I am today. If you are having trouble finding time for exercise, try these simple steps:
1. Start small
I didn’t go from 0 – 7 days of exercise a week. I committed myself to three days a week to start with. I felt this was achievable for our family. It can be disheartening if you aim too high too soon and fail miserably. It is better to start realistically with what you can do and then build up to the ideal scenario.
2. Bring the family on board
When I first started wanting to go to the gym regularly, I determined the three nights I wanted to go. However, what happend in reality was at least once, if not twice a week, I would get a last minute call from my husband saying he would have to work later and would not be able to make it home at the time we had aimed for.
This caused me a great deal of frustration. So I sat down with him and worked out what time across his week could he give me with certainty. Evenings were not it, so we went to mornings. This worked much better for both of us. Naturally there are times when he has to head into the office early, but he will give me as much notice as possible, so I can fit in exercise at another time.
I talked about my exercise times with the kids . Our kids are early risers, so this meant them adjusting to waking up without me there three mornings a week when I first started. The littlest one did find this challenging for the first couple of weeks, but he settled into it soon. Even now, one of my favourite moments of my day is seeing his gorgeous face peering out the door to greet me as I come in from my session.
3. Be prepared
Early morning exercise was a new thing for me and I had many false starts and snoozes through the alarm. Scurrying around in the dark trying not to wake small children, but find my gym towel, etc were things that happened and at times prevented me from heading out of the door on time to catch my class.
So I started getting everything ready the night before. It made such a difference and not just because I didn’t have to search for my things; it was good mental preparation before I went to bed each night.
4. Be disciplined
Exercising regularly is less about motivation and more about discipline. You need to take a no excuses approach to yourself – like you would with your kids! The majority of my blogging work is undertaken at night and as I love what I do, I have a tendency to work late. Not really conducive for getting up early for exercise. In the beginning, going to bed late at night, I would say to myself, “I will see how I feel when the alarm goes off”. I had just given myself an excuse before I had even laid down in bed.
I had to change my thinking and behaviour. Gym times became not negotiable with myself. The late nights were the problem, not the early mornings. This mental shift, made a huge difference to me just getting up and going each day.
5. Enjoy it
Finding a form of exercise you enjoy is super important to making it a regular part of your life. I injured myself running last year and was stuck in the gym for a number of months and not able to run. I lost much of my enthusiasm for exercise and while I was still going each day, I was really just going through the motions. I was starting to get up later and do shorter gym sessions. A friend then recommended some classes she was doing and I thought I would give them a try. Luckily for me I loved them and it re-lit the spark I had for exercising daily. Now I am back to looking forward to getting up each day at 5am and getting out of the house for my class.
How to you organise time to exercise?
This post was first published at Kidspot as part of the The organised life story. Over at Kidspot you can find more useful tips and advice on how you can organise your life from not just me, but other fab bloggers as well.