You don’t have to have a full-time job, be the head of the PTA, or have five kids to classify yourself as busy.
No matter what your life circumstances are, if you are a woman, you are busy.
So with your laundry list of things to get done in a typical day – which probably includes about twenty things (plus actual laundry) – it’s easy to feel like you’re too busy to do what’s necessary to be healthy and lose weight.
You’re “too busy” to work out, to go to the store, or to prep meals. And you’re for sure too busy to journal or meditate.
I totally get this.
I actually do have a full-time job – in addition to what I’m doing here with Love To Lose – and I have two daughters in middle school, a house to clean, errands to run, and bills to pay.
My day starts at 5:00 am and doesn’t end until 8:00 pm when I go to bed.
There are plenty days where I can’t stop thinking about how busy and exhausted I am. I catch myself thinking things like “There’s never enough time” and “I can’t do everything.”
Some days, despite my credentials as a dietitian, I have to fight the urge to collapse on the sofa with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s and turn on Netflix.
But if I’ve learned nothing else in my 51 years of life on earth, it’s the power of reframing.
Busyness Can Be an Asset
In today’s post, I want to propose to you a different way of looking at busyness.
What you’re probably doing now (just like I sometimes do) is letting your busy day sabotage your health goals instead of helping you achieve them.
To fix it, I’m going to give you four strategies to turn your busy life in to an asset.
These are strategies I use daily, and they work like magic. They help me use my constantly busy schedule to accelerate my progress instead of putting a stop to it altogether.
Here they are:
1. Tell yourself a different story. On days when I hear myself thinking “I am over it,” I catch myself and change the narrative.
I’ve chosen a saying to reframe it: “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” This one works for me (and my Type A personality), so choose one that motivates you.
One thing’s for certain: saying things like “I’m so exhausted” and “I don’t have time” will derail your entire day. You feel exhausted and you “run out” of time because of these negative thoughts.
And make sure to watch out for the mean girl voice that tells you how awful you look. Shut her down by any means necessary.
2. Build health into your busy schedule. You don’t have to block off two hours for a workout and a whole afternoon for prepping meals. Simply insert healthy activities throughout your day.
One of the biggest things that derails people is feeling like you have to go all or nothing with your health. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Actually, the more you set up these Mt. Everest goals, the greater your chances are of failing. Baby steps count, and they add up – even if you can’t immediately see the effects.
Throw in some pushups between tasks. Do wall squats while you wait for the microwave to finish. Walk around the block while you make a phone call. Drink 16 ounces of water while you shop for groceries. Cut up some veggies while you help your kids with their homework.
Doing a few pushups isn’t a substitute for an hour-long cardio session, but it’s better than the skipped workout that results from overwhelming yourself – and the string of missed workouts that inevitably ensues.
The most important thing about these small actions is that they give you energy and motivate you to keep going.
3. Stay with it just one more minute. A trick I use to ensure that I keep my momentum going is to stick with something just one more minute.
When I’m doing something healthy, like prepping a meal or walking on the treadmill, just as I’m about to quit I make myself continue for another minute.
Sticking with something and pushing myself to take one more small step usually results in getting more done than I’d planned.
In addition to the healthy meal, I’ll get snacks prepped for the kids. Or I’ll end up lifting some free weights after my walk.
Continuing for just one minute doesn’t just ensure that I get more done – it changes my whole outlook. It makes me feel energized and, ironically, far less overwhelmed.
4. Let something drop. We hear all the time that we have to make health a priority. And there is no doubt about that.
But I think looking at it this way is even more demoralizing because it feels like one more failure on my part. I feel like I’m barely treading water – and I’m also not making my health a priority? Double fail.
Here’s how I look at it: I commit to letting something less important drop.
If I cram every single thing there is to do into one day’s schedule, my health – physically and mentally – will needlessly suffer.
If the dry cleaning doesn’t have to get picked up today, cross it off your list. If ordering Door Dash one night instead of cooking will free you up to prep the next day’s healthy meals, do it (and don’t feel bad about it).
And here’s the big one. If you don’t have to volunteer for the event at your child’s school – then don’t. We women have got to stop overcommitting to make everyone else happy at the expense of our own well-being. Killing ourselves to avoid social consequences? Enough already.
Making your health a priority is actually easy when you stop being a martyr and a people pleaser. (No judgment – I’ve already won the gold medal in both events.)
Taking (the Right Kind of) Action Is the Key to Success
There’s only one thing required to successfully achieve any goal: take action.
When you’re busy, you’re already taking action – and lots of it! – so the key is to stay in motion.
That being said, if you really do need a break, then by all means take one. Excellent health requires rest and rejuvenation, so build that in, too.
Remember that motivation doesn’t come out of thin air. You don’t get motivation and take action – you take action and motivation follows.
Being busy works to your advantage in this way. You just have to reframe your busyness so that it works for you rather than against you.
Before you leave, I want to know: What’s one thing you’re willing to let drop this week so that your health can be a priority? Leave a comment and let me know.
Your busy life isn’t going to go away. If you’re a woman, you will always be busy.
Just turn it around so that your daily obligations fuel you to take positive action rather than overwhelm you into paralysis.
And by all means, make a commitment to yourself that you won’t let the wrong kind of busyness interfere with your health.
The right kind of busy means doing things to enhance not only the lives of those around you, but also your own.
And you’ve only got one.
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