You’ve got to make breakfast, clean up breakfast, get showered, dressed, hair and makeup done (ish), get the toddler dressed (after spending 12 minutes convincing her that wearing shorts when it’s below zero is probably not the best choice), change the baby for the third time because he pooped (again), get snacks and lunches organized, put shoes and coats on (plus spend 8 minutes looking for that purple hat because she won’t wear the green or blue one), carry the toddler to the bathroom because she forgot to go pee before putting her shoes on, get everyone out to the car, kiddos in the carseats, come back in to grab the coffee you forgot on top of the dishwasher, lock the door (while you precariously balance your coffee, your bag and 2 lunch kits in one hand), put your seatbelt on, and try to take a deep breath before heading off.
And that’s just the first hour of the day.
You’re already exhausted. You’re already behind. You’re already feeling the “Ain’t nobody got time for that” frustration of #MomLife 😳
So how – for the love of all things motherhood – are you supposed to find time to workout?
Strangely enough, one of the best ways to find the time to workout is to be more restrictive. Constraints can actually give you more freedom and make it more likely you’ll get your workouts done.
I know. It sounds crazy backwards but it’s true.
When you put restrictions on when, where and how you workout, you’ll likely feel more calm and at ease with your exercise life.
When there’s chaos all around you, the last thing you want to do is create more chaos by flying by the seat of your pants and hoping that at some point a workout will magically happen.
You know that.
So here are 3 ways you can use restriction to help you get more workouts in:
1. Commit to regular workout days
You can decide to workout on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; or Tuesdays and Thursdays; or Saturdays.
Just pick 1 – 5 days that work best for you and make them the days you workout.
Sure you might workout on different days some weeks, but for the most part these are your “workout days”.
If you’re a member of something like a yoga studio you could even pre-book your classes for those days for the entire month so that you’re already signed up and more likely to show up.
When you commit to working out on the same days each week it becomes a habit so it’s much easier to keep doing it.
2. Schedule specific days for specific workouts
Tuesdays and Thursdays are strength training days. Saturday is yoga day.
Or Mondays and Fridays are running days and Wednesday is for Pilates.
Or Tuesdays are for CrossFit and Thursdays are for swimming.
The choice is yours. Simply assigning a specific workout for a specific day makes the question of “What should I do for exercise today?” non-existent.
You know what you’re going to do, you just need to show up.
3. Plan to workout at the same time each day
6am on Tuesdays and Thursdays means it’s time to strength train.
7:45pm on Mondays and Fridays means it’s time to go to spin class.
Noon on workdays means it’s time for your daily walk with your fave co-worker.
When you already know when you’re going to workout there’s no need for you to have to rely on willpower to try to make it happen.
You’ve already set the appointment up, you just need to follow-through.
The point is to create some sort of constraint and experiment with it.
If it feels good and it’s working for you, keep doing it. If not, play around with another option (but don’t throw the idea of constraint out altogether – just try a different way of using it).
This is such a simple, but powerful shift that any busy mom can adopt in her life.
It works because you don’t have to rely on willpower to make your workouts happen. It simply becomes a habit overtime.
And when you aren’t having to decide when to workout, how to workout, how often to workout… you’re less stressed (and probably less frustrated) because you don’t have to worry about making any choices.
Yes, it’ll probably take a while to get into the habit of exercising in a particular way, on a particular day, at a particular time. But soon enough it’ll become the new normal.
You’ll no longer spend the entire day hoping that you’ll have the willpower to get to the gym after work.
Or wondering, “What workout should I do today? Should I lift some weights? Hop on my bike? Head to that new PiYo class?”
Or get to Friday and be disappointed that you never did find time in your schedule to workout that week.
If you take guesswork, willpower and the need to make a decision off the table, it’ll feel less chaotic and more easeful.
So let me know in the comments below, how are you going to put more restriction into your life to give yourself more freedom?
Of course, perfection isn’t the goal. I’m sure there will be days you miss a workout, or weeks you mix things up, and that’s okay. It happens in my life too.
The point is to use this as your framework and stick with it 80+% of the time, while allowing some flexibility.
You can set restrictions without being totally rigid.
Life will happen, but at least you’ll know you can always come back to this to help get yourself back on track.
P.S. Have a busy mom friend who wishes she had more time to exercise? Send her this post!