6 Reasons Why You Never Have Time to Exercise

posted in: Lifestyle Design, Uncategorized | 3
male in city
Photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gato-gato-gato/

I just love it when someone tells me…

I can’t believe you have time for all of that. I could never do that. I’m just always so busy.

Translation: Don’t you have a life?

As if I have nothing better to do with myself and have all this free time I can use to exercise and engage in other so-called “lowly pursuits” because I’ve got nothing important going on in my life.

Give me a break!

First of all, I don’t just “have time for all of that.” I MAKE TIME for what’s important to me. I’ve got the same 24 hours a day as everyone else, and somehow, I’ve managed to integrate exercise and other health-improving habits into my schedule, the same as many others do each and every day.

note: that word “integrate” is key!

And get this, I’ve managed to do this for most of my life. Sure, it was easier when I was younger and had less responsibilities, but even as my workload and stress-load has increased in recent years, I’ve managed to keep my actions [mostly] in line with my priorities (ever heard of those?). No, I haven’t gotten everything perfect and I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but I’ve stayed the course and have kept moving forward despite the challenges and setbacks, among other things.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you, and in particular, why you don’t “have time for all of that.” I’d really like to know.

You see, based on my experience, these are six of the most common reasons why most people supposedly don’t have enough time for exercise. And many of them are not what you’d expect.

  1. If you haven’t defined your specific goals, unique values, and individual purpose, then you don’t really have a framework for managing your priorities in the first place. As a result…
  2. You probably don’t even know what your priorities are – at least not to a certainty, in that, you haven’t spelled them out and written them down. Sure, you may have a vague idea, but if you haven’t done this, then your priorities can shift with the winds of life and even change on a moment by moment basis. A tendency towards indecision or procrastination doesn’t help either. Plus, in most cases, not having your priorities in order means you probably don’t have your schedule in order either…
  3. You let your schedule boss you around instead of the other way around. Tons of tasks come up every single day that are either important or unimportant, urgent or not urgent. But here’s the thing: some things will always take precedence over others based on your priorities. For example, if you’ve got a job interview or an important medical appointment (ie something you absolutely cannot miss), you’re probably not going to skip them because your neighbor Larry said he needs help organizing his garden gnome collection today – no matter how much he pleads. And it should be the same with exercise. So, schedule it like you would any other appointment and don’t let anything less important interfere. And to ensure that happens, your health should be a pretty high priority! At least higher than Larry’s garden gnome collection. In the same breath, if you feel like you’re always at the mercy of your schedule, it’s probably because…
  4. You have poor time management skills, or worse yet, no time management skills. To put it bluntly, if you aren’t deciding what to do with your time, then you’re probably not managing your time well. Now, obviously, there are probably some things in your schedule that aren’t going to be flexible (e.g. some people have to work between 9am-5pm – period). But when it comes down to it, there is almost always a chunk of time each day that can be flexible. And if there’s not, then you may want to reevaluate your priorities and make sure that how you’re spending your time is on your terms – not someone else’s. And for this to happen, you’re going to need a system that can be used to make sure that your daily actions are lining up with your priorities. So, you’ll need to use to-do lists and not-to-do lists, and you’ll also need to learn how to prioritize them. You’ll have to block your time off for each task, get proactive about eliminating distractions, and know what to do when something unexpected comes up, among other things. And there are many great time management resources out there that can teach you the basics (it’s not complicated!).
  5. Now, if there is not a chunk of time during the day that you can devote to exercise, then it may be because all of those little minutes here and there add up. Relentlessly checking your phone, email, social media, or any other technology addiction. Taking a lunch break, coffee break, smoke break, etc. Shooting the breeze, checking on this or that even though you don’t really need to. Busy work. By the end of the day, these moments often add up to hours. So, the less low-priority tasks (ie unimportant and not urgent) you commit to, the better. And many times, the best use of your time is to cut out those kinds of tasks, simply so that you CAN do less. I bet someone wrote a book about that and called it a “secret to success.” Did you get that one?
  6. As a result of all of the issues above (and I can’t stress that point enough!), when you do finally have what you consider to be “free time,” you likely spend it doing things that don’t align with your goals, values, and purpose – your real priorities. You know what I’m talking about – the classic time-wasters – the late-night TV, video games, Netflix, Youtube, addictions, obsessing over the news or tabloids, or endlessly surfing the Internet, among many other things. Pick your poison. And get this. More often than not, spending your time on one of these activities is a direct result of a problem with items 1-5 above.

So don’t think for a minute that I’m buying the whole “I don’t have time” excuse. Because deep down, you and I both know that anyone who cares enough to make a change will find the time, and when all else fails, they’ll make the time. Yes, that might mean sacrificing something else. That’s life.

You see, the real problem, at least in my mind, is that most people simply don’t want to make the time – for whatever reason. Maybe you’re overwhelmed. Maybe you’re just not motivated. It could be all sorts of things. But in the end, it all comes down to desire. And the good news is that if you’ve got just a little bit of that, then that’s enough to get started. So get out there and get to it!

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot. – Michael Altshuler

There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want. – Bill Watterson

He who every morning plans the transactions of that day and follows that plan carries a thread that will guide him through the labyrinth of the most busy life. – Victor Hugo

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P.P.S. You can always try to integrate exercise into your day in little ways (see that word again?). Sneaking it in here and there goes a long way, like these 5 Fitness Hacks to Help You Get Fit While Brushing Your Teeth. No, it won’t get you into superhuman shape, per se. But hey, it’s a start. And that counts for something.

3 Responses

  1. John, what would you recommend to someone who struggles with all of the above?


    • Nick,

      Pick one thing – just one – to work on that will move you in the direction you want to go – something EASY – and then make it as easy as possible so that you have absolutely no excuse NOT to do it. Then do it to the best of your ability. Then pick one more thing to work on.

      For example, if you don’t have a specific goal to head towards, I’d start there. So, select a time when you know you won’t be in a hurry, and then give yourself 5 minutes to get some goals written down (not just thought about, but written down). Set a timer so that you have a deadline and then come up with the best goal(s) you can in that time. After that, you’ll have a goal to work towards, which is integral to your success (ie step one).

      Take a peek at your email inbox when you get a chance. Sending you an email in 3, 2, 1…

  2. Robert Luschenat

    I’d like to offer up one tip that worked for me. Don’t have time during your day? Here’s my secret method I discovered to open up 1 hour of my schedule. Set the alarm to go off one hour earlier! That’s right if you normally set it for five on your training days make it four. Once you wipe the coal out of your eyes you’ll find your extremely focused. You did set goals right? Are you tired to do this one? Must not want to reach those goals bad enough! Nice article btw!

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