The Myth of “I don’t have the time”

The National Sporting Goods Association did a survey of inactive people (less than 25 days a year fitness activity) and active people (more than 150 days a year of fitness activity). The number one complaint of the inactive people was that they lacked sufficient time to workout. I know as a coach of both experienced and novice athletes, I hear the “time” excuse often. (Speaking of excuses, if you would like a list of excuses for not getting your workout in – click here.) I also notice that there are certain individuals who manage to get workouts in concert with other obligations.

Back to the survey – here is the kicker: The survey also found that there was virtually no difference in amount of actual free time between the two groups!

We all have the same 24 hours in a day and 168 hours per week. Well-to-do individuals cannot buy more. Less well off individuals are not short changed. Neither the intellectually gifted nor the mentally challenged get more. Meticulous detail oriented to-do listers do not get more time – netiher do fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants non-planners. Methodical plodders nor spastic multi-taskers get more time. And neither 20 year olds nor 52 year olds get more time. So, we have to delve deeper than the objective issue of time available.

I’m an observer of behaviors. I notice things like how much time someone will complain about something; during which they could have already done something about that complaint. I notice skewed perceptions of available time. How is it that 30 minutes is just enough time for some people to squeeze in a workout and others see it as not enough time to barely put on their running shoes?

I’ll offer these thoughts for your consideration:

Motivation – This is a very complex construct. But, if working out is not part of your value system you are working against the flow. Your motivation to “just do it” will gravitate towards “just do something else” at the first opportunity (just read some of the excuses available to you). Re-evaluate why you want to work out.

Inertia – A body at rest will stay at rest. Fatigue is real but once you stop and put your feet up – like at the end of a long day – odds are against you getting going again. Keep moving.

Priorities – This certainly relates to your motivation, but more specifically if you are one of those people who believe that “everything” is a priority then you will ultimately fail. You scatter your energy & time. You are no longer effective or efficient. Working out must be seen as time for yourself; time to “feed” yourself; time to rejuvenate yourself; time to do something for just you not everyone else in your life. Set priorities, not everything is #1.

Focus – This is an ever-present construct. What you focus on is what you get. Focus on time you don’t have and that will consume you. Focus on where you can squeeze in your workout and you will. Establish a workout focus. Establish a pre-performance routine to set the stage to get that workout in.

So, for today, I say to you – YES YOU – what is your motivation? What are your priorities? Where is your focus? How important is it to get in shape, lose weight or get ready for that next race? Just for today, regardless of how busy you are and limited your time – commit to getting out and doing your workout… just for today… MAKE the time.

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