Guest post this week from my friend Kathleen. She’s a super gal and has some great and info and perspective for you. Check it out… – Sean
Finding More Time for What You Really Want
Guest Post By Kathleen LeGrys
“I just don’t have time to exercise” or “I don’t have time to cook (or figure out how to eat healthy), so I just eat on the run.” or “I just heat up a frozen dinner or make a packaged meal.”
I hear this from people all the time.
It’s during this conversation they also tell me they want to lose weight. It’s usually pretty clear that that they are overwhelmed with all the things they have going on and can’t imagine adding one more thing to their list. I get it! It’s difficult (if not impossible) to focus on a healthy diet and lifestyle, if you are stressed, constantly on the go and tend to put others needs before your own.
When I say “I get it,” it’s because I’ve been there! A few years ago I was super stressed, having occasional panic attacks (NOT fun) and wondering what the problem was. When I stepped back to look at what I was doing, the answer was pretty obvious. I was not taking care of myself the way I should (not exercising enough, and not eating right) AND I was committing to things out of feeling obligated rather than feeling excited about them. I was not putting myself or my health first! How ridiculous, when you think about it, really, but it’s so easy to fall into the trap, especially if you are a parent.
Can you relate? I’m going to share with you what worked for me so hopefully you can put this simple plan in place to step back from some of the things that are no longer serving you OR your health.
First I had to get clear on what my priorities and goals were (for me, it was: lose the last 10 pounds, eat healthy, exercise, reduce stress, and have plenty of time with my family).
Next, I decided to look at the current obligations I had that were interfering with what I really wanted and needed to have more time to do. That’s when it hit me; what I wanted and what I was doing were way out of alignment! It was time to make some changes and once I did, I felt great and I was able to accomplish the goals on my list!
Here’s how it works:
Make a list. Take pen to paper and write down all the meetings, organizations, volunteering and other activities you are currently involved in. While you’re in front of your calendar, look at each day of the week to see what you have going on and the approximate time involved (be realistic – that 1 hour meeting takes more than 1 hour with travel time, etc.) . This is your list of obligations.
Make another list of the things you want to have more time to do, like exercise, menu plan healthy meals and cook more, enjoy a hobby, travel, etc. This is your goals list. Prioritize this list in order of importance to you.
On your list of obligations, go through and rate them on a scale of 1-3. 3 is something you really enjoy and is in line with your list of goals and priorities; You look forward to doing it and/or it’s important to you. (One of my #3’s is helping once a week in my daughter’s classroom. I do enjoy it, but more importantly, it’s important to her so that = important to me). Another #3 for me is exercising 5-6 days a week. It’s not negotiable and I schedule my appointments for later in the day, so I get my exercise done in the mornings.
A #2 is something that isn’t a “must” for you to do, but if you have time for it, you can keep it on the list ONLY IF you have time for your #3’s. A #2 you would enjoy or feel fine doing, but wouldn’t miss it if you didn’t participate. A #2 for me would be volunteering as soccer team mom (which I did this past season, after I evaluated my #3 list. That worked for me so, yup….I was team mom) or classroom mom (yup, did that too because it’s minimal time and I can easily fit it in without interfering with anything in #3).
A#1 is something you really don’t want to do (you actually kinda sorta dread it) but somehow got guilted into doing. These are the things you need to limit or get off your list. It’s usually the #1 list that sucks your time and you don’t get any enjoyment or fulfillment out of. We’ve all done it, right? You just agreed to organize an event or help coordinate some project and you get that sinking feeling like “How did THAT just happen?”
You’re a nice person, so you want to help, right? I’m all for volunteering! I think everyone should find something they can do to contribute to help others, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your own well being, in my opinion. Just be more selective. Remember: You don’t have to say ‘yes’ just because someone asks!
I no longer ever feel guilty about saying ‘no’. When someone asks if I can help with a project, volunteer, etc. I say something like “Thanks for thinking of me. Let me check my schedule and see if I can do that.” This takes the pressure off of you to have to say yes right on the spot and you don’t have to say no right then and there (unless you know there’s no way you can or want to do it).
There are plenty of things I DO help with and the difference is, they are the things that are important to me and/or my family, so I don’t feel bad when I have to say ‘no’ to the other things.
I feel much more balanced, much less stress and now have time to do the things that I want and need to do.
So, start your list and see where things fall in the #1 – #3 category. Are you over extended with your commitments? Are there things you can step down from or delegate to someone else? Do you have more #1’s on your list than you’d like?
There are only so many hours in the day, but YOU, for the most part get to design your day and more importantly, your life. Say ‘yes’ to the things that matter most and rethink the things that don’t. Take back control of what you want, and put yourself back at the top of the list. When you put your health first, other things seem to fall into place. Put yourself in the #3 category, you’re worth it!
Kathleen LeGrys is a Health and Wellness Coach and Certified Personal Trainer focused on helping women over 40 find more life balance and reach their health & fitness goals. She can be reached at www.inspiredhealthylivingnow.com