Time. Nothing changed my feelings about and awareness of time more than having a kid. I’m sure as Nora gets older it’ll only change more as she gets involved in various activities and develops her interests.

Priorities. Regardless of the constraints on time, if I set my priorities, I can achieve that which I want to achieve within reason.

Exercise is a priority for me. I like it, it makes me feel good, it’s good for my health. It’s better than any prescription medicine available. It reduces stress. It makes you look better. It makes you more capable. It focuses your mind.

If you don’t like exercise, you can learn to. Simply begin to associate all your bad feelings with lack of exercise and make yourself feel like a sloth for not exercising. Imagine how good you will feel after exercising and how good you’ll feel (and look) in several months when you keep up the habit.

In the past 15 months, my approach to exercise has changed significantly as time and energy have allowed either more or less intense exercise.

If you’re struggling to find the time to exercise, try one or more of these tips:

  • Alter the time of your exercise session. Get up earlier in the morning to get in 30-40 minutes. If you have a gym at work, set up a “meeting” on your calendar to block your time and exercise at work.
  • Schedule a 45 minute block of time 3-4 days per week and make it happen. Write it down. When you review your calendar for the week and visualize how you intend for your week to go, this written down block of time will remind that you have to exercise.
  • Develop or follow an exercise program and write it down. I love using Excel or Google Docs for this. Or Numbers. Hell, I really don’t care what program it is, but the spreadsheet view is very cut and dried, official-looking, and it makes things organized.
  • Ditch dumb habits. I really abhor TV. I have a few shows I watch (Dancing with the Stars) and I’ll occasionally Youtube various documentaries, but it’s entertainment value rarely outweighs the waste of time it truly is. Limit yourself to less than 1 hour a day of TV and mindless web surfing combined. This will save you days over the course of a year.
  • If you’re really pressed for time, write down everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, you do each day. Continue this practice for a week. This will give you a precise idea of where you are spending your time.
  • Review your purchases for the last several months. Where you spend your money is often where you put your attention. You can gain some valuable insight about yourself in this way.
  • Create a home gym for yourself. When I wake up in the morning, I currently do a breathing exercise, meditate, and then go downstairs to exercise. These three activities combined usually take me between 45 and 50 minutes. I exercise 3-4 days per week. Under four hours per week. Very doable.
  • Lastly, understand—time is not a reason not to exercise. It’s a weak-minded excuse. And chances are, you know it is. That really sucks because knowing something and not doing it really saps your energy and drains your emotions. No one likes a whiner who complains about not having time—and the people who do are the people you don’t want to associate with in the first place.

Get on with the program. Lift some weights and start feeling better.