It is easy to claim busyness as an excuse for not practicing healthy habits. When we really say we do not have time, it’s just that it is not a priority. If I were to time stamp your whole day, I bet there are moments where you could take the time to fit in healthy habits. The true question is, do you want to? Here are 5 simple ways to make time for your health.
Track Your Time
Have you really figured out where your time goes? Try tracking what you do daily to really see how much you are getting out of your day. If you are truly too busy for healthy habits, you can take a look at your day and adjust accordingly to fit it into your schedule. In contrast, where are you wasting time or doing things unnecessarily (i.e., scrolling through Instagram) that you can free yourself up? If it is a priority for you, you will make time.
Write Down Your Needs
Everything is not going to happen overnight. If you want to incorporate healthy habits, write down your most urgent need first. For example, if your goal is to exercise more, put that at the top of your list. Focus on hitting that goal consistently before you move on to others. Create the action steps for this single goal.
Example Action Steps:
- I will go to bed at 10 pm Tuesday to wake up at 6 am to attend a Wednesday dance fitness class.
- I will try a new exercise activity every two weeks to find one I like
- I will wear an activity tracker to get to 10,000 steps a day
- I will walk 10 minutes every Tuesday and Thursday on my lunch break
A multiplier is an activity that accomplishes multiple goals. It is a little bit different than multitasking. Multitasking involves focusing on multiple things at once, and sometimes the quality drops in one area. Are you able to do two complementary activities to make the most of your time? For example, if you know you will be doing a virtual meeting, you can squeeze in a low impact physical activity while actively listening. We mostly listen to music, podcasts, or audiobooks while working out. Listen to your meeting in place of your normal audio distraction while being active. You are saving time while accomplishing a goal.
No one said healthy habits have to take hours out of your time. Small doses have great power in the long run. Looking back to exercise, if you can find just 10 minutes of the day every day to be active, you will be accomplishing your goal. It may seem insignificant, but you are getting up to 70 minutes a week of activity and 280 minutes a month of physical activity. That is better than zero!
Just 10 minutes has benefits for your health too. Researchers at Pennington Biomedical Research Center found women who exercised at 72 minutes a week significantly improved their general fitness from a sedentary state. This was comparable to those women who exercised twice as long.
Know When to Outsource
If you feel you lead a busy life where you cannot fit in your health priorities, are there areas where you can outsource? If you struggle with healthy eating, you can find simpler ways to eat better. For example, there are many options for pre-made salads and fresh meals at the grocery store. Can you incorporate these into your grocery list?
Yes, buying premade salads is more expensive than getting the ingredients separately, but how often do you find yourself eating out? What bad convenient foods do you grab because of lack of time? In addition, would you even have time to assemble the separate salad items, or is it easier to grab the premade salad with the fork included? By replacing undesirable convenient foods with desirable ones, you can tackle your goals easier.
Overall, everything you want to do can be accomplished with a little bit of planning. Your health should be your most important priority. If you feel you lack time to take care of it now, you might regret the time you lose fixing it later.