One of the most common struggles I hear among people is that, despite their desire to get in shape or lose weight, the older they get, the harder it becomes to “fit it all in.” With a career, marriage, kids, the running around, who has the time, right?
When I was a broke college student, I spent money as quickly as I got it. My spending was mindless. I had no idea where my money was going, but I had it, so I spent it. It didn’t take long before I got tired of it and started to listen to my parents and read up on simple money management.
There are a ton of books on budgeting and personal finance out there, but the core principles can be boiled down to two directives: 1.) Pay yourself first, and 2.) Give every dollar a job.
“Pay yourself first” is the idea that you take a certain percentage of every dollar you make before you spend a dime and stock it away for your future. This goes in a separate account that you don’t touch, and it goes towards investing and/or retirement.
The second principle means every cent you make should be assigned to certain “buckets” determined before you even earn it. Every dollar is deployed to cover expenses/savings you’ve budgeted out beforehand. If you always follow those two principles, you’ll manage your money well. Anyone that’s budgeted realizes you have to make certain sacrifices today in the name of what’s most important to your future.
If you stick with it though, you discover that you usually have plenty of money for the things you truly value and realize other things were just needlessly bleeding your bank account. But money isn’t the only currency in your life that can benefit from the same principles.
The most important currency we have is the one we most often waste: time.
However, unlike money, you don’t get more of it, so it’s infinitely more important that you gain control of it. And yet, most people go into every week winging it. They have good intentions but let countless interruptions and distractions kill those intentions.
If you have a lofty goal but you don’t have a schedule where you “pay yourself first” by carving out time blocks to do what’s most important to you (like workout, meditate, prep food) and give every hour of your day a specific job to handle all the other priorities, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
I once took a productivity course that advised, before implementing anything productive, do a one-day log of every minute of your day. See where you really, truly spend your time. Is every moment deliberate and maximized? That exercise showed me how easy it is to waste the day and miss the opportunity to move closer to our goals.
This is the most common reason why I see people fail in their fitness journey. People set a goal but fail to make a plan to make it happen. They lack focus because they don’t have a plan and let all the distractions of that day steal their aspirations.
But contrary to popular belief, we don’t find the time to do what’s important. We make the time. Rarely do people factor in the logistics of getting in shape, but it requires a significant chunk of time each week. If you don’t lay out how it’s all going to happen each day, it’s definitely not going to happen by improvising.
You’ll need 5-10 hours per week for at least 6-24 weeks for grocery shopping, prepping, working out, etc. And, I’m not going to sugar coat it, this is not an easy task. It will require time and patience to find a rhythm and routine that works. But if you honestly want the results, a weekly routine is what’s required to get them.
You’ve often heard that abs are made in the kitchen, but I’d venture to say that advice is incomplete. Abs are made by getting out your calendar and planning your days in the kitchen (and the gym) and following that plan till you succeed. So, pencil it in. spt
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