It grinds my gears when folks say, “If they really want to go to the gym they’ll make time.”
No my friends. You do not make time. You take time. Making time suggests we have an infinite amount of time available to us. The last time I checked we have all 24 hours in day.
Accordingly, I’d like to shift that inaccurate perspective in helping folks to realize that you have to assess the activities, people, situations etc. that garner your attention and ask yourself a hard question: is this worth my time, energy and focus?
One has to take time away from said activity, people or situations to pursue one’s desired endeavors. Taking time / focus / energy away from the non-essentials of our lives begins with just saying “no”. The purpose of this is to have your mind, body and soul all in agreement so that you can pursue your endeavors. It will not work any other way.
To begin, take some time at night to make a list of your upcoming day, from 12 am through 12 am repeating the timeline in three separate columns. Write down everything you HAVE to do in column one at the designated time. Then go back and add in what you WANT to do in column two. At the end of the day compare columns one and two and note any outliers in column three (i.e. had to make dinner at 5 pm; didn’t get home from the supermarket until 5:30 pm). Do this for week and make note of your lagging areas. Also, look over your wants and ask yourself is that want taking the place of or is in conflict with a need. Be honest.
This was my reality – I wanted to prepare healthy meals for my family but never could make the time to properly grocery shop and was always running back to the store several times a week. I ended up taking time out of my Sunday evening – a time usually spent doing laundry (and watching House Hunters which slowed me down a lot!) and I forced myself to make a meal plan. I now grocery shop once a week and do laundry twice a week, standing up while I fold (trying to also get some squats and lunges in) which saves about 2 hours each week.
Now that you have an example of telling yourself no and shifting your focus you may be thinking, “Solid. But how do I tell other people no?”
Just do it.
Person: “Yeah … I can’t watch your kids but can you still do my taxes anyway and just let them run around while you prepare them?”
Person: “Hey, I totally needed these shoes in 3 colors but I forgot to pay my car note. Can I please borrow $50? This is the last time, promise!”
Person: “So I’ve got this party invite last minute. I know you’ve got work in the morning but let’s go for a bit! You haven’t gone out in a while!”
You want to rationalize your answer. Explain it further. Break the awkward silence. Resist! While it is awesome to help when you can, be careful of giving so much of your self that there’s nothing left. Besides, you are usually enabling unhealthy behavior or blocking a life lesson that someone needs to learn when you’re always trying to be Captain Save ‘Em. Seriously, just say no and save that energy, focus and time for pursuits that will help you become the best version of you!
Living the best life you can doesn’t start with buying a pair of Nikes, getting a gym membership and going on a green smoothie diet. It starts with shifting your focus. Start with daily reflections, and build from there. You are worthy. You are the best person to take care of you. Keep that to heart, as that is something you should always know.