If I had more time I would learn another language. French perhaps. Or maybe Japanese. I really enjoyed my time in Tokyo.
If I had more time I would finally learn to dance. I’ve dabbled with salsa but never had enough time to really dedicate myself to it. Tango looks cool too.
If I had more time I would take up Jiu Jitsu. A bunch of my buddies are into it and it seems like a really cool hobby. Plus, I like that it seems like a chess match.
If I had more time I would kick ass in my first triathlon. Unfortunately right now I just don’t have the time to do all that training. Running, swimming, and biking… oh my!
If I had more time I would place more emphasis in building better relationships with women. But I’m just so bogged down with work right now that I can’t focus on them.
If I had more time I would learn to play the piano. My mom plays and I’m pretty sure my brother does too. Is it bad that I’m not positive?
If I had more time I would learn to do the splits and stretch more. I really should be improving my flexibility and mobility but I just don’t have the time to fit it in with all the other things on my plate.
If I had more time I would…
Above is a list of things I’ve said I want to do over the past few months but have never got around to doing. I’ve used the “I don’t have time” excuse because it makes me feel better about myself for never starting.
I don’t want those things bad enough. Some of them I think I’m supposed to do. Others I’m just infatuated with. With others I just like the idea of them, the rewards they provide, or the feeling I’ll get from them. But then I realize some of them are hard. They’ll take time for me to learn. I’ll have to have patience and not let myself get too frustrated with the process. So I tell myself I don’t have enough time to dedicate to them.
We make time for the things we find important.
Have you every told someone you couldn’t do something over the weekend because you were too busy? Then you find out that Taylor Swift is in town and all of a sudden you’ve got some free time. It’s a friggin Christmas miracle!
Look. Lets not bullshit each other. You and I both know that we should exercise regularly and eat more real food. But sometimes we don’t and our excuses allow us to ease the shame we feel for failing to make them a priority. And when the shame becomes too overwhelming we try to summon willpower and force.
That’s it. Starting tomorrow I’m 100% on my diet. Back in the gym every day. Pulling out the guitar and practicing for an hour. No if’s, and’s, or buts about it. GRRRRRRRR! I am a lion! I am strong! I have the eye of the tiger. Hear me roar!
A week later the only eye of the tiger we’ve got is that Katy Perry song on our iPod…. burn.
What the heck happened?
The same thing that always happens. LIFE. In situations like these we do a damn fine job of convincing ourselves that in the future things will be better. It will be easier for us to make change. Easier to get started. Things won’t be so hard. We’ll have more time.
The in your face, ice-cold, hardcore truth is that the same problems you have today will most likely be there in the future. And the minute they seem to go away, they’ll either come back or a new obstacle will arise.
MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE NOT TO START OR FINISH
Start so small that it makes it nearly impossible for you to not start. Lets say you’ve been talking about improving your diet. You really want to start eating healthier but then you start to wonder what you’ll make? What will I buy at the grocery store? What if I have to eat out? Damn, now I’ll have to clean more dishes and there’s no way I’m making 2 dinners, one for me and one for everyone else.
Instead of trying to change everything just make one small change. What if you just focused on drinking zero calorie beverages for a week? Or what if you just focused on including veggies with each meal that you ate this week. Or what if you focused on making the same breakfast every day this week and eating that – not worrying about the rest of the day.
Same goes for exercise. If you don’t have the time to run the 3 miles that you want to start running, what about 1 mile? Still too much? What about a lap? Can’t find the time for 45 minutes of weight training? What about a 10 minute workout that will kick your ass. You don’t have 10 minutes? What about 5?
But Justin. 5 minutes isn’t going to do anything for me.
To this I say… BULLSHIT. It gets you started!
Ramit Sethi gives a great example on his site about how we’d rather dream about our goals than actually get started moving towards them:
“I ran into this with one woman on my email list. I asked my readers, “What’s one thing you CLAIM you want to do, but you don’t do it?” She wrote back, telling me she wants to run 3x/week. I said, why don’t you run once/week?
Her response floored me: “I don’t really see the point of running once/week.”
She would rather dream about running 3x/week…than ACTUALLY run once/week.
How many of us do this? We WANT these big, grandiose goals…but if I asked you, “What are you going to do TOMORROW to move towards it?” we would have no answer? Or we’d have a dozen ideas…none of which we really believe in.”
Getting started is always the most difficult part. Shrink the changes you need to make so much that it makes it nearly impossible for you not to start. If you’re still struggling, you didn’t go small enough.
BUT I HAVE TO…
No you don’t.
Outside of drinking water, eating, and breathing there’s not a lot that you HAVE to do. Most of the things we say we have to do are choices. Some of them are smart choices, some are dumb, but they’re choices – not have to do’s.
- You don’t have to go to work. You choose to so that you can get a paycheck and support yourself and family.
- You don’t have to go to your mother-in-laws birthday but you choose too so that you don’t find yourself sleeping on the couch.
- You don’t have to brush your teeth but you choose too so that you can kiss another human being.
- You don’t have to take your kid to their soccer practice but you choose to because it makes you feel like a bad parent if you don’t.
Some of you may have just become a little angry but hear me out. I’m willing to bet you want to do a better job at work, be more productive, and earn more money. I’m also willing to bet that you may not want to go to your mother-in-laws birthday but you want to be there for your significant other and be the most loving husband or wife you can be. And it goes without saying that you want to be the best parent possible.
Wouldn’t those things be easier if you took the best care of yourself? You’d have more energy, confidence, and health. You’d be setting a good example for family, friends, and co-workers. This doesn’t make you selfish, a bad parent, or a terrible person. It just means you understand that the best version of you is the best version for everyone else.
Self care should be a priority. Not a burden that makes you feel bad about yourself.
MAKING A LIST. CHECKING IT TWICE.
I’m about to give you a 15 minute workout that you can do. But before I do so I want you to do me a favor. Make a list of your time excuses. This may include things like work, family, friends, events that are coming up, or something else. Lets get clear on what it is that’s actually taking up all your time.
After you’ve made that list I want you to run through this checklist.
- Is there anything that you can delegate?
- Is there anything you feel comfortable dumping?
- Is there anything on that list you can do right now?
Ok, cool. That list may or may not have become a bit smaller. If it did, great! If not don’t worry. There’s hope for you yet.
Now for those things that are left on your list are there any opportunities for you to move, exercise, or practice healthy nutrition habits. Can you go on an evening walk with your significant other? Can you do the 15 minute workout below with your kids? Could you prep a healthy meal while helping them study?
This isn’t easy. You’re going to have to be really honest with yourself. It’s easier to just look at that list and tell yourself that there are no opportunities.
THE 15 MINUTE WORKOUT THAT’S SWEEPING THE NATION
Hi. I’m Justin and I exaggerate things. No it’s not true that this workout is sweeping the nation but it does only take 15 minutes and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.
What are you waiting for. Go time!
How to do this workout.
The level 1 exercises are geared more for beginners or if you’ve taken some time away from the gym. Each level progressively gets more difficult.
This workout is done as a 15 minute AMRAP (as many rounds and reps as you can complete in 15 minutes). You’ll move from exercise A to B to C and so forth as quickly as possible. But don’t sacrifice form. One round is completed by doing all 5 exercises in a row.
Level 1: Inch worms, 10 reps
Level 2: Spider push-up, 10 reps
Level 3: Clapping push-up, 10 reps
Level 1: Steam engines, 30 reps (15 to each side)
Level 2: Plank knee to elbows, 20 reps (10 to each side)
Level 3: Side plank with leg raise, 15 reps/side
Level 1: Air squats, 20 reps
Level 2: Squat jump, 20 reps
Level 3: Split jump, 30 reps (15 to each side)
Level 1: Table push-up, 10 reps
Level 2: Inverted rows, 10 reps
Level 3: Door pull-ups, 10 reps
Level 1: Stair runs (or 100 meter jog/walk), 5 times up and down your stairs at home
Level 2: Stair runs (or 100 meter sprint), 5 times up and down your stairs at home
Level 3: Stair runs (or 100 meter sprint), 5 times up and down your stairs at home
Can I do this workout everyday?
I wouldn’t do this workout more than 2 days in a row. You could get it in Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. With active recovery on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday. But choose what fits best for your schedule.
DAMN IT! YOU’RE HUMAN
You’re busy. You get tired. Your mood changes. Somedays you feel motivated and other days watching Netflix and eating ice cream sounds like the best idea.
It sounds bad to admit this but sometimes exercise and nutrition isn’t a priority. But that’s ok. Your realities will determine this. If one of my puppies gets hit my a car tomorrow there’s a good chance I’ll be skipping my workout and leaving the meal I made for myself in the fridge. Kai or Lincoln come first here. If my wife (I’m not married – but you get me) goes into labor, there’s a good chance I’m putting the barbell down and heading to the hospital.
Hold on hun… just 1 more set. I’m going for a personal best here. Not sure that would fly.
Comment Below: With that being said, can you create 15 minutes today to exercise? To move your body in ways that make you feel good?
Photo Credit: Sonja Langford
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