Finding Time and Motivation For Fitness

"Time management" is somewhat of a misnomer. I mean, we all get the same 24 hours each day. When I reference Time Management, what I am really talking about is Decision Management. It's less about finding the perfect scheduling system, and more about how you choose to spend your seconds, minutes, and hours each day. And if, like me, better physical fitness is one of your goals, you must decide to spend more time exercising.


I was thinking about the excuses for why I have gotten away from my fitness routine over the last 5 years (and I have some really good ones). At the peak of my physical fitness in 2003, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Before cancer, I had lost about 40 pounds and was regularly bicycling 30-100 miles at a time. On top of that, I was doing weight training. I was a lean, mean, bike riding machine.

But during chemo and radiation, I had to slow down my fitness routine considerably. Then very soon after I finished treatment, I decided to start my professional organizing company while still working in the corporate world. A few years later, my organizing business is prospering, I've still got a foot in the corporate world (company-paid health insurance is a beautiful thing to a cancer survivor), and I've gained weight and lost fitness because I made daily decisions that resulted in my exercising less. Oh, and I had also made the decision to eat more ice cream too.


Since finishing cancer treatment, I have chosen to spend a great deal of my time growing my organizing business. At the same time, I got into a real exercising rut. I even switched gyms in the hopes that a change of scenery would inspire me to work out more regularly and lessen my boredom with the same old workouts I'd been doing for years. On top of that, I started a bad habit of reading emails and surfing the internet as I enjoyed my "pre-workout" breakfast...yeah, the workouts that I wasn't getting around to doing.

After watching some pounds sneak back on, I recently realized that I needed a kick in the pants to change my bad habits back to good ones. So, this weekend I made the decision to do two things to shake me out of my fitness complacency and move me toward 40-something hotness.

  1. I started a new fitness program called CrossFit. I'm doing this 45-minute workout first thing in the morning (before breakfast and time-sucking email) at a nearby gym along with about 30 other people and an instructor who keeps us motivated and moving. The routine is unlike anything I've ever done before, and it's kicking my butt. I love it.
  2. I'm changing my diet to include more fruits, vegetables and lean-protein while cutting back on carbs, especially the ice cream.
I am motivated to start these two new habits because they are new, fun, and guaranteed to show results if I stick with them.


I have always been a morning person. I naturally wake up at the crack of dawn, and I have lots of energy as soon as I get out of bed. This means that, for me, the best time to exercise is first thing in the morning. Lucky for me because research has shown that people who exercise in the mornings do so with more consistency.

I believe that physically and mentally demanding tasks should be done when your energy and focus are at their peak. That may mean that you need to schedule your fitness fix in the afternoons or early evenings. This may also require you to make some scheduling decisions so that life's many demands on your time won't derail your progress. You may have to say no to some obligations & commitments that may come your way. Again, we all have the same 24 hours to work with. Saying "yes" to one commitment means saying no to something else.

Notice that I have bolded statements that point out decisions I have made and the consequences of those decisions. Decisions I have made have allowed me to acheive some goals while falling down on others. Make sure the decisions you make are leading you to the results that you desire. This requires balance, flexibility, and constant assessment.

Remember that it's okay to change and re-prioritize your goals. For the past couple of years, my focus has been on growing my business. But now I'm exercising my right (pun intended) to change my focus toward improving my physical fitness. I'll be glad when my muscles get used to this new decision!