Last week we talked about how creating space in your life can make room for healthier habits that lead to greater joy and fulfillment. It was heartening to read everyone’s replies and comments about how they have created space in their own lives, and the goodness it has brought them.
Today, I’m going to give you some strategies to overcome the #1 obstacle that people face in getting healthy: TIME.
Time is the #1 obstacle.
“I don’t have time to exercise.”
“I don’t have time to get enough sleep.”
“I don’t have time to go grocery shopping for healthy food.”
“I don’t have time to cook healthy food.”
You get the idea.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, a secret that truly changed my life. It’s a paradox, but once you understand it, you’ll realize that this dastardly obstacle called not-enough-time is really a myth.
Time = Freedom
Time is finite, right? We only have so much time in a day. We get 24 hours, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
What you need to do, then, is CREATE time for yourself. That’s the secret.
Hey, dear friend with the dark circles under your eyes, I see your doubt. But read on for some easy, concrete steps on how to do this. You know I won’t leave you hanging. Take these few minutes for yourself.
What you need to know is that creating time for yourself gives you the freedom to move, breathe and live. It gives you the space to nourish yourself the way you deserve so that you can give back to others without taking from your own reserves.
Mine, mine, mine!
The first step in creating time for yourself is CLAIMING your time, because let’s face it, no one is going to give it to you. People, jobs, corporations, the Internet, email, they are all greedy and hungry for your time, and they will gobble up every moment if you let them. While my kids are eating their after-school snack, I (sort of) jokingly tell them, “Unless you are throwing up or the house is on fire, I’m putting my legs up the wall for 10 minutes.” It took a little conditioning, but they have learned that I am a much happier mama after those 10 minutes of relaxation and meditation and am then better equipped to help them with homework, drive them to practice, and cook a nourishing dinner.
Focusing on what’s important
The second step in creating time for yourself is SHIFTING YOUR FOCUS to what’s truly important without getting distracted. What do I truly need in this moment? What do I need to accomplish to feel really good today? Sometimes it helps to write out these goals on a sticky note or piece of paper so that you can see them as a reminder throughout the day. My awesome business coach, Cherie Healey, recommends asking yourself, What three things do I absolutely need to accomplish today? and then making those your priority above all else. For me, even after all these years, I have to make moving my body one of those priorities, because if I don’t, something else will sneak in and take its place.
When your healthy habits become a priority, and you start honoring the importance of your health, you will start to feel so light and free.
Our world is full of what I call “time wasters.” Sometimes they’re within our control, sometimes they’re outside of it. For instance, it’s up to me to choose whether to read a chapter on homeopathic immunization, watch an episode of mind-numbing TV or scroll through social media status updates. That’s totally within my control. However, waiting 30 minutes while my car gets smog checked or sitting in traffic is outside of my control.
Either way, it doesn’t matter, because we can actually use these “time wasters” to create more time for ourselves.
Some of the best advice I’ve been given this year was from Peter Shankman, CEO of HARO and a leading voice in collaborative business practices. He said to use only those moments of out-of-our-control waiting to check social media and/or surf the Internet. Whether you’re getting an oil change, standing in line at the juice bar, or waiting for the kettle to boil, use those few “wasted” minutes to scan through Twitter or Facebook rather than spending precious time during other juicy moments when you could be DOING something for yourself. (Obviously do not check social media when you are driving. Seriously.) While I’m driving and stuck in traffic, I’ll listen to a podcast, or brainstorm future blogs and newsletters, rather than waste my time trying to find a radio station that is not playing Taylor Swift or Shane Company commercials. Sometimes I’ll even schedule phone calls during traffic time.
Reclaim your time
To help you reclaim your time from those in-your-control “time wasters,” I have a little exercise for you. Don’t judge yourself in this process; just observe. Here’s what I want you to do:
For two days, pay attention to how you spend your day. How much time do you spend on social media, watching TV, surfing the Internet? How much time do you spend scarfing down unhealthy foods, and how much time feeling gross afterwards? How much time do you spend sitting in traffic and waiting in line? Do you set aside specific times to answer email, or do you end up going back and forth, interrupting or delaying other projects? Then I want you to shift your focus to what really matters, and start creating time for what makes you healthy.
I’d love to hear back about what you observed and how you were able to create time for yourself.
If you feel stuck, or see your obstacles to getting healthy as insurmountable, please reach out to me. I’ll guide you through the obstacles to that place of space, joy, time, and freedom. And you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.