One of the biggest obstacles people I speak with run into is time – the lack of it. They’re busy, they work demanding jobs, family beckons, they’re running to and from class.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with my fair share of clients who don’t seem to be able to squeeze a pinch of exercise into their already hectic schedule. They swear they don’t have the time.
What’s interesting about this is after speaking with them, asking them a few questions, and offering up suggestions, we almost ALWAYS find time. Many times, no major lifestyle changes are necessary – the time was there, they just didn’t see it or pay it any mind.
Which leads me to believe that for a vast majority of people, it’s not that they don’t have time; it’s that they don’t have the energy to find the time. Even if they did have time, they’d rather spend it on less demanding and strenuous endeavors, like watching TV, reading a book, eating, or sitting at the park.
While some activities are necessary to live a serene and productive life, not all activities are necessary. And even amongst the ones that are, we’ll be better off trying to find a better balance between too much ‘leisure’ and a combination of leisure and vigorous exercise.
Of course, this primarily applies if you want something in your life to change. If you say you want your life to change as lip service simply to get the neighborhood trainer off your back, then chances are, it’s not your time yet. Nothing is wrong with you. It’s just not your time.
If you do want something about your life to change, then we have to delineate between two things:
Is it the lack of time?
Or the lack of energy?
Time being a true constraint since it’s universal and EVERYONE experiences time. If you and another person work from 1 to 2 PM, you both worked for one hour. In my experience of working with thousands of people, I RARELY spoke with anyone who genuinely had a time problem. By the same token, I’m certain there are more people than I am aware of who do.
What if you have the time?
Energy, on the other hand, is more subjective. Many people I speak with interchange TIME with ENERGY either on purpose or on accident. If it’s on purpose, perhaps they don’t want to admit they have time yet are unwilling to use that time to better themselves. If it’s not on purpose, perhaps they have never done a ‘schedule audit’ where they took an honest look at what their day looks like. They might just assume their days are busy because they’re always doing ‘something’.
If people are unwilling to ‘find the time’, then we have to evaluate whether or not it’s PRACTICAL for them to pursue and think about their goals. I think this is an important distinction to make because THINKING and WANTING to pursue goals but being unable to may actually do more harm than good because there are these expectations that are going to go unmet. And if expectations go unmet, many people will view that as failure.
What about both?
I’ve worked with people who had serious energy AND time problems – they work multiple mentally demanding jobs, come back to a family, get 4 hours of sleep, and barely have time to eat.
For example, I once spoke with an overnight Emergency Room nurse who works 12-hour shifts, and then goes home to her kids, as a single mother. After going home, she doesn’t sleep because she wants to be awake to take her kids to school. Fortunately, they’re of that age, but it’s still not even close to being an easy life.
Someone like her would find it extraordinarily difficult to find both the time and energy to exercise. It probably takes every ounce of her willpower not to eat like crap in spite of her life circumstances.
If this is your reality, you really have to dig deep. The more difficult it is to find time and energy, the deeper the reasons must be. It’s a tit-for-tat relationship. You can’t give up something of value without offering something just as valuable in return.
What can you do?
No matter what the ‘experts’ and ‘motivational’ speakers say, you can’t always just… POWER through crap. If you don’t want to change, no amount of motivational YouTube videos, witty one-liners, or fist bumps will help you overcome barriers set forth by a created personal reality.
It may simply be that your goals aren’t worth achieving or you’re not willing to compromise… YET.
If you are willing to ‘find the time’, then we’ll go through a series of questions to identify where the ‘time and energy gaps’ are:
- What time do you wake up?
- What time do you go to sleep?
- What times do you eat?
- What times do you work?
- When do you have breaks at work?
Next set of questions:
- Do you have 5-20 minutes at anytime during the day to exercise?
- If you exercise, does it have to go close by, like at home, before/after work, or during lunch?
- If you have more time, are you able to travel to a gym or studio?
I hope this was helpful. Time is of the essence. We’re not getting any younger, yet we feel there’s so much for us to do. As a result of our proclivity to ‘live life’, many of us tend to neglect one of our most important assets: our physical and mental well-being.
Fitness isn’t just about looking good. It’s about feeling well and moving graciously. It’s hard to do these when our schedules don’t allow for it. Do yourself a favor and evaluate if fitness is something you want to do.