It’s the #1 reason everyone has for not doing something they know they should – “I don’t have time to work out.”
Whether you’re looking to start a workout routine, adopt a healthier diet, or begin any new habit that requires time and effort the first reason people give for falling off the program is that they just don’t have the time to work out. You’ve probably heard or said it yourself. I have a saying that reflects this for most people: “It’s not that you don’t have the time, it’s that you’re not willing to make the sacrifice.”
Think back to when you were a kid or if you have kids currently. When it was time for bed, you probably fought brushing your teeth like you were defending the Alamo. Now you wouldn’t go a day without brushing your teeth. I don’t know a single adult that despises oral hygiene to that extent. I’ve had plenty of nights when I was so exhausted that I couldn’t fathom taking 5 minutes to brush my teeth. But I did it anyway. It’s an ingrained part of my day. It would feel weird not to do it.
You’ll Find the Time You Need
Think back to when you were in high school. Your curfew probably felt way too early. You didn’t have enough time to hang out with your friends. How great does an imposed curfew sound today?
Now think about college. An 18-hour semester was a really full schedule. Throw a 20-hour a week part-time job or sports on top of that and you probably felt incredibly overwhelmed. Can you imagine how easy an 18-credit hour semester would be today?
Now think about your first job out of college. You probably gained a little autonomy, had daily – maybe weekly – deadlines, and managed your own schedule for the first time ever. You didn’t have a ton of responsibility, probably got some health insurance, and had some decent PTO. Compared to that 18 hour semester, a 40-hour work week and a full inbox felt insanely busy.
Think about the first promotion you got after that first job. You probably started managing people and became a non-exempt employee. Now, you leave when the work is done not when the clock strikes 5 o’clock. You answer emails from home, go in on some weekends, and can’t seem to find time to use your PTO. You probably regularly put in some 60 hour week. This is busy.
If you have kids, think about that first year. You probably slept 3-4 hours a night and still put in 60-hour work weeks. You cook a separate meal for the kids, shop for them, cart them around to appointments, and find time for their extra-curricular activities. Looking back on time before kids, you have no idea what you with all that free time.
You Have Time
The point of this thought experiment is to look back on all the stages of your life. In each stage, you felt as though your current schedule and responsibilities were the maximum amount that you could handle. Then, you move on to the next stage of life and the discomfort forces you to adapt and realize that you can make time for things that are important.
So, it stands to reason that right now – in this very instant – you are capable of more than you are doing. Regardless of your life stage, you have the ability to adapt your schedule. You’ve probably done it 3 or 4 times throughout your life and you’re capable of doing it again. The difference between being forced to adapt and choosing to adapt is that you’ll always find a reason to not do the latter. Getting a new job forces you to adjust your schedule. Having kids certainly forces you to find time. Starting a business mandates you to become more productive.
When it comes to nutrition and exercise, the only thing that will force you to adapt is a major medical event. My hope is that it doesn’t take a heart attached or Type II diabetes diagnosis to force you to adapt. I hope you choose to adapt. I hope that you opt to wake up an hour early, scramble some eggs, and do some burpees. After 12 weeks you’ll realize that you actually do have time and that you’re actually more productive and judicious with the hours that you do have.
We all have the same 24 hours, after all.