Between a 40-hour work week (or more!), getting the kids to their various after-school activities, finding time to socialize and trying to stay hydrated, the days seem shorter and time easily slips away. Whether you have kids or not, how exactly do you find time to work out? We all have such busy schedules that the thought of finding time to exercise can be the last thing on our to-do lists. If you know how to enjoy working out, then you’re already halfway there. Maybe some of the following hot tips can help you squeeze in some of that joyful movement your fave Instagram therapist has been talking about.
Create the discipline
Warning: sorry we’re not sorry for the incoming tough love. You may or may not know this, but motivation is fleeting. Are you always motivated to brush your teeth or take your makeup off? Maybe not. But you do it anyway because you’ve established the habit after years of discipline. The same can be said about finding time to work out. You either have to make time and discipline yourself or you don’t.
Define your goals
Are you trying to become an elite athlete, or do you just want to find time to work out a little bit? If you’re not trying to make Olympic athlete-status, don’t worry about making time for a 2-hour workout every day. Start out slow with just 10 minutes of movement three times a week, or 5 minutes every day. If you can discipline yourself to do just that small amount, you can increase your goals gradually and fit those few minutes in wherever you can.
Do two things at once
Yes, we are all busy, but many of us still find time to watch Netflix/Hulu/Prime/HBO Go. Do you love vegging out at the end of the day binge-watching Queer Eye? Why not take a couple of those episodes to the gym while you exercise? Most cardio equipment makes it super easy to rest your phone or tablet on the machine so you can watch Bobby Berk transform yet another messy bedroom into a restful oasis—all while getting your heart rate up!
Get moving throughout the day
How many pins on your Pinterest fitness board tell you to try air squatting while brushing your teeth, or to take the stairs instead of the elevator, or to park your car a little bit further away at the grocery store? Well, it’s time to listen to them! It might be almost unreasonable to take the stairs sometimes (especially if you work on the 21st floor), but going for a walk—in the grocery store parking lot or otherwise—is one of the best things you can do for your health, and it costs literally $0. Gather your coworkers for a 10-minute walk break during the day, or go for a walk right when you wake up. Just 10 minutes of walking (1) can have some huge benefits.
Make things easy on yourself
You’ve seen the quote across all of social media, but it holds true nonetheless: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So prepare yourself to succeed in as many ways as possible, whether that’s sleeping in your gym clothes so you can wake up dressed in the morning, placing your sneakers right by the doorway or putting all your smoothie ingredients in a jar you can just dump it into a blender. When you have a plan of action, you will be able to find fewer excuses to skip your workout, and you’ll have found that much more time to exercise when you have fewer obstacles in your way.
When you’re learning how to find time to work out, keep in mind that some days just won’t be perfect, so cut yourself some slack. If you can fit in just 20 minutes of your normal 60-minute session, that’s way more than the zero minutes you could have otherwise completed. Then, don’t forget to celebrate yourself! You could have skipped that workout but instead you showed up.