Resolution #1: Make Exercise a Priority

I have struggled for years and years to make exercise a priority, a habit. I did well for awhile in my 2nd and 3rd years of dentistry after starting to work with a personal trainer I really liked, being able to find the necessary time on weekdays to fit in my workouts, and training for a few races to boost my motivation. Then my trainer moved away, my schedule at school became heavier and those weekday hours disappeared, and I was dealing with a chronic running injury (which still lingers).

I’m now a business owner, working long hours, with kids in lots of activities, and my husband is also starting a new business venture. I hate morning workouts – really it’s not about the workouts; I hate getting up in the morning and it takes me a long time to get going – and have found that if I schedule morning workouts, they don’t get done, even though I realize that the best time for me to workout would be first thing since I don’t have to get up that early. I really do have time in my schedule to fit in workouts, but I’ve been struggling with the whole “just do it” thing. Despite all the reasons to fit in even short workouts, I am really good at talking myself out of getting the exercise I need. Let’s face it – going to bed early after a long, tiring day or sitting on the couch a little longer is a whole lot easier than finding all my gear, hopping on the treadmill or heading into sub-zero temps, getting all sweaty, and adding an extra shower into the routine. Did I mention that I also can’t run, which is my true exercise love, and not being able to run is a really great addition to my list of excuses 🙂

Okay, so now that we’ve got the excuses out in the open, it’s time to excuse-proof my workouts and make exercise a priority in 2013. I’ve included a few links for articles I’ve read below, but if you’re short on time and don’t want to skim through the links, here’s a quick summary of what the experts say:

1) set realistic goals and ease into exercise

2) schedule your workouts into your calendar and stick to it (yes, I’ve tried this and it helps but doesn’t totally work for me)

3) workout first thing in the morning (yeah, think I’ve covered that above – I’m a baby and hate mornings, so I’m setting myself for failure if I have to get up early, especially in the winter)

4) workout immediately after work (I do like the idea of this, but since I’m spending an extra hour at work most days finishing up paperwork, my husband would be extremely unhappy if I came home even later than I already am. Using my lunch break for exercise or paperwork is an option)

5) reward yourself for achieving your goals

6) that being said, set goals, and make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely)

7) make your workouts fun and switch them up so you don’t get bored

8) buddy up and find someone to exercise with

9) keep track of your workouts

10) walk pretty much daily and then add in higher intensity workouts

11) pay for a personal trainer or fitness class so you feel more committed

I won’t be incorporating all of these tips, but my plan for January is as follows:

1) walk outside or on the treadmill for a minimum of 30 minutes 3 times per week

2) full body strength 2 times per week

3) yoga 2 times per week

4) schedule 2 workouts on the weekend (1 strength, 2 cardio)

5) fit in a workout over the lunch hour 1 time per week

6) plan a Friday afternoon workout 2 times per month (I only work until 1pm on Fridays but often schedule other appointments or catch up on paperwork those afternoons)

7) set aside 30 minutes every Sunday morning to review the prior week, plan workouts for the week, and lay out exercise clothes for the week

8) set aside an extra 30 minutes the last Sunday of the month to  review January and plan out goals for February

The relevant links:

http://www.active.com/women/Articles/6-Ways-to-Make-Exercise-a-Priority

http://women.webmd.com/features/exercise-habits

http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-Habit-Make-Exercise-Priority-2760291

http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_articles.asp?id=1644

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/get-healthy/fitness/how-to-make-fitness-a-priority

How do you make exercise a priority in your life, or are you still struggling, like me, to be consistent?

 

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10 thoughts on “Resolution #1: Make Exercise a Priority

  1. Terzah says:

    That sounds like a practical plan to me. I don’t have as many time commitments as you do (only a part-time job, smaller kids with fewer activities of their own), but my time can get tight too. I’d say morning workouts are the biggest key for me–but I’m lucky to be a morning person. Having a big goal also helps–with that race paid for and on the calendar, I’m much more inclined to suck it up on days I don’t feel it.

    Two things I’d say for you based on my experience (and everyone’s different so ignore these if you feel they don’t apply): if you need to sleep, better to skip workouts sometimes. You won’t work out well or get anything out of it if you’re exhausted. I’ve learned that the hard way. Sleep and exercise go hand in hand. And second–if you have to choose between cardio vs. strength/yoga, go with cardio first most of the time. It’s what settles the demons for me anyway.

    Good luck in 2013!

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  2. Ameena says:

    I think so many working moms like us struggle with fitting in exercise…for me it has to happen before work. That means I get up early which is a pain but the great thing is that it’s then out of the way and I don’t have to worry about it.

    Lots of luck to you with this! If it helps, we are all facing these things together. 🙂

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    • mostlyfitmom says:

      I do like having exercise out of the way first thing, but just can not convince myself to get out of bed! Good on you for having such discipline. I’m pretty wimpy when it comes to mornings 😉

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  3. bubblymel says:

    Yep right there with you!! I already get up at 6 to be ready for work, so mornings are out. I am as of next week doing twice weekly training from 7-8pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a small group of ladies. I’m about to cancel my gym membership! It just seems to work for M and I. I get home from work at 6, cook tea, leave the boys to eat and for M to bath P and then when I get home I eat and tuck P off to bed 🙂

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  4. thehealthyapron says:

    Definitely smart to set realistic goals. Sounds like you are pretty busy but don’t forget even more movement throuhgout the day makes a huge differnce! I’m not sure if you work at an office or not but just keeping weights/bands at your desk, swapping your chair for a ball or just standing, taking the stairs randomly, going to a different floor to use the bathroom all add up! Great goals!

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