In this series of posts, we will be looking at the top ten reasons why moms don’t exercise as much as we’d like. Let’s bring together our awareness of these legitimate reasons, and at the same time we can creatively discover ways to step through these barriers in order to give ourselves access to the power of exercise. After all, it really is one of the best medicines, with pretty much only positive side effects.
The first reason, which is arguably the most common, is lack of time. I honestly believe that lack of time is a perception that we have created in our own minds, influenced by the culture of “busy-ness” surrounding us. We have glorified and overused the word “busy” to describe our lives.
I don’t know what it means when I ask someone how they are doing, and they say, “Oh, you know, we are just crazy busy!”
Is this a complaint? Is this bragging? Is this a cry for help because life is too overwhelming? Is it gratitude for a full and exciting life? Is it an automated response because we are not sure how else to describe life? If I wasn’t so busy, I would take time to really explore people’s meaning behind this response each time I hear it.
Busy is a word that most people can use to describe how they feel. We have a lot on our plates, and sometimes it is so overwhelming to try to manage it all, even if what fills our time is mostly enjoyable.
When you ask someone how they are doing, do you ever get the response, “Oh you know, we are just really bored.” Probably not so much. My point is that the perception of not having enough time to exercise or to do “abc” is a condition formed based on our emotions and mental state. These are influenced by information overload, serving multiple roles, and our high expectations we place on ourselves as mothers, just to mention a few examples.
Believe me, I totally understand how it feels to go to bed at night and feel like I was going and going all day long and yet, I didn’t accomplish as much as my overzealous to-do list entailed. I understand how it feels to be regretful of not being as patient as I would have liked to have been with my kids and those who I care about the most. As mothers, we are supposed to serve multiple roles for multiple people each day, AND still have enough gas in the tank and hours in the day for self-care. How is this even possible?
As you read this, you might even be thinking, “I don’t even have time to read this full post, let alone exercise each day, Brooke!” Well, I am here to encourage you today, my tribe of fit moms!
What if I told you that there is a way to create time for exercise in your schedule? And that the time you give to it will be worthwhile and impactful for your life?
The key to this is how we prioritize what is most important to us and manage our schedule so that we can live according to these priorities.
A long time ago, I heard some great advice that in order to change something, we must track that which we want to change.
For example, if we want to improve our finances, we need to track our spending and create a budget to hold us accountable to our financial goals. If we want to improve how we eat, we log everything we consume until we learn how we are currently nourished and create better habits to achieve our nutritional goals.
The same is true with exercise. If lack of time is one of our barriers to exercise, but we also want to experience the rewards of exercising, we need to track how we spend our time. This way we can figure out where we can add what nourishes us and subtract what depletes us.
Here is a journaling exercise that can help you creatively break the barrier of lack of time for exercise.
- For between three and seven days write down everything you do and the time at which you do it. Be as detailed as you can. Keep your log close to you so that you can update in the moment for best accuracy.
- After you are done tracking, create categories that summarize the themes of how you are spending your time. For example: sleeping, working, commuting/traveling, getting yourself ready, getting kids ready, cooking, cleaning, watching kids do activities, social media, watching TV, exercising, appointments, etc.
- Determine how much time you are spending in each category.
- Analyze this data, and journal what you learn with these self-reflection questions.
- How important is each category of time to me? To others? Perhaps you can use a rating or ranking system.
- How would it feel to spend less time in each individual category?
- How would it feel to spend more time in each individual category?
- What am I ready to cut out of my schedule by either decreasing time spent or by stopping it completely?
- What am I ready to add into my schedule in order to support my health and well-being goals such as to establish or enhance an exercise routine?
Tracking and journaling take discipline and consistency, but the good news is that you don’t need to do it for a long period of time in order to learn some key takeaways and hold yourself accountable to a course of action.
A couple weeks ago I was able to get together with a friend who I don’t get to see in person very often. Every time we have been together in the past five or more years, we have our kids with us so we are not really able to have deep, meaningful conversations. Fortunately, we were in the same city, with our kids being cared for by people other than ourselves, and we got together and talked for hours. It was incredible and much needed by both of us. One thing that stood out from our conversation was her intention to exercise because she is by nature an athlete and someone who enjoys exercise.
Her schedule is so overwhelming that she hasn’t been able to fit in a 7 minute H.I.I.T. workout with any consistency. I could hear the frustration in her voice, and I knew in that setting it was my role to just listen and let her share everything that was going on and how it made her feel. It wasn’t my place at that time to try to help her find solutions for fitting in a workout. She just needed someone to listen as she released her words and feelings.
She needed someone to understand how frustrating it is for her to have the best intentions, but there are barriers affecting her ability to be all that she wants to be and do all that she wants to do.
Does this resonate with you at all? I am pretty certain that most moms feel this way quite often or at least during certain seasons of being a mother. And you know what….it’s okay. You are doing the best you can with what you have. However, I am here to say that you deserve even more. You do.
My big question for you today is what is one small step you can take towards doing your ideal exercise routine during this season of your life?
It is important to know what your ideal exercise routine is. If you are not certain what would be best for you, please reach out to an exercise professional. In my professional opinion, it is wise to take the approach of one small step at a time to build up to your optimal movement routine. You have a lot going on in your life. By incorporating small changes, it is less for your brain to have to exert effort towards adapting to in hopes of creating healthy habits.
From the perspective of time commitment, your one small change could be to put your children to bed at night and then spend 15 minutes doing a yoga video. Or you could spend 10 minutes every day at work doing a brisk walk outside. You could do a couple of the Fit Mom Moment videos with your kids at a time when they need a good energy release, and you need an energy boost!
When you come up with your one small change, share it with your spouse, colleagues, kids, friends or anyone who can support you and hold you accountable. Once this becomes a habit, then you can think about making another small change. One by one… step by step. This is a journey, and not a destination. I know you can do this, but there needs to be strategy, intention, support and motivation in order for exercise to become a true part of your lifestyle.
I know that it’s worth the time…do you?
Here are some ways that Fit Mom Connection is here to support you:
Virtual Exercise Class Membership. Hang out with me and other mothers live or onDemand to benefit from some fun exercise routines that are functional for the body of mothers. The first month is free so really there is no reason not to do it. There is something in it for all abilities, ages, stages, and interests.
30 Day Self-Care Challenge Want some support in making daily self-care a habit? This program will give you the daily motivation and tools to help you discover how life with self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity.
Work with me 1:1 You are a beautiful, unique individual, and I would be honored to help you tap into your strengths so that you can use exercise as a vehicle, along with a S.M.A.R.T. plan for turning your intentions into actions with the results you want. Whether it’s starting with a three month wellness coaching relationship or working with me for 1:1 Personal training, I am ready to chat about your needs and desires.
Sign up for one of my free resources which are pictured to the right of this post.
Subscribe to my youTube channel where I deliver weekly fit mom moments and 20 minute workouts. Check out a featured 20 minute workout below, or visit the playlist on my channel where 20 minute workouts are accessible for a limited time.