As a Corporate Wellness Public Speaker and Coach, one of the most common responses to my goal setting section, is: “Well Griff, I would love to commit to the lifestyle that you preach but I just don’t have the time”. As determined by national survey, time is the number one excuse as to why people do not exercise regularly.
With the Holiday season upon us it is imperative to understand that just because we become more “busy” does NOT give us an excuse to stop exercising or eating healthy. The average American gains anywhere from 5-10 lbs from Thanksgiving to New Years! May I plead with you to NOT be one of these statistics? I am not saying that you cannot enjoy a family dinner or let loose on occasion throughout the holidays, but for heaven’s sake do not use the Holiday’s as a “free-for-all” for your gluttonous eating! Do not resort to your typical laugh and gleeful shrug as you look yourself in the mirror and see the Michelin Man (or woman) staring back! Do not lie to yourself and say, “oh well, the holidays come just once a year.” What a crock…the joke is now on you (literally).
In the most recent addition of the American College of Sports Medicine’s Certified News, we learn that 66% of US adults are overweight and 32% are obese! UNBELIEVABLE! The article further states, “Many factors contribute to this global epidemic, but two elements that play key roles are the transition from a primarily rural lifestyle to a highly technological urban existence, or more precisely, the ability of our environment to lure us to eat more and move less”.
Making Fitness a Priority
May I offer my own observations along with some proven facts? I have observed in many a client that when life gets busy fitness is the FIRST thing to bite the dust. Ironically, other “coping” mechanisms we employ to deal with our stressors are simultaneously increased. Some of these unhealthy coping mechanisms are listed below.
* Increased TV watching as a form of escape
* Increased surfing of the Web (non-important surfing)
* Increased movie watching
* Increased eating out…especially fast food
* Increased time making excuses as to why you are not exercising
* Increased snacking
* Decreased self-control
* Decreased self-concept
* Increased Depression (exercise increases serotonin (your feel good hormone)
* Decreased Endorphins (your other feel good hormones)
* INCREASED TIME WASTING: Studies have confirmed that people’s productivity decreases when exercise is taken out of their daily routine
* Increase irritability: what did you think was going to happen when those “feel good” hormones were taken away?
Suggestions & Solutions Please?
My simple suggestion is this: start with the basics and make fitness a priority! Below are steps to help:
1– Know and accept that fitness adherence should be a lifestyle change, NOT a temporary fix to get ready for your sunny vacation coming up in three weeks.
2- Train your mind to think of fitness as long term. For example, think to yourself, “I am learning lifestyle habits that will still be with me in 5 or 10 years from now. I AM CHANGED FOR THE BETTER FOREVER”.
3- Know that dropping exercise because of a tight schedule will hinder your efforts more than help them. Make all of the excuses you want and at the end of the day you will still know that this statement is true.
4- Make a SCHEDULE and abide by it. For example be very specific in setting your goals (i.e. “I will exercise Mon through Friday at 8:00 in the morning and nothing will stand in my way of that goal).
5- Hold yourself ACCOUNTABLE to your goals and to your schedule.
6- Do not fall into the trap of telling yourself “Well, my situation is different than everybody else’s”. I have news for you: IT IS NOT! Your schedule may be unique but it is not “unexercisable”. I just made that word up to make the point that you do possess the power to make it happen if you want it bad enough.
7- If something has to give in your schedule, let it give! Exercise should not be one of the components that give way! Search your life and you will find things that take time and should not be there…getting rid of them NOT the exercise!
**Comment on #7: This single decision to keep exercise in your life will ENHANCE the rest of your goals, projects, ambitions, and daily tasks that occupy the rest of your time.
Well there you have it my friends! Go and MAKE it happen. No Excuses. Life is good!