During these cooler, darker winter months, it can feel like the hours have been siphoned out of our day. An endless stream of holiday social obligations, shopping, and general fourth-quarter busyness compounds the problem. Often, one of the first things to get streamlined from our schedule is exercise. But trust us, finding time to work out is easier than you’d think. Plus, it’s going to do so much more for you than hitting the snooze button three times each morning... and that’s all the time you need.
If you’re starting from zero, keep your goals extremely small: 20 minutes of physical activity just two times a week. Once you’ve met that small goal, you’ll have the confidence to up the ante, which you should do soon and often (either by adding more minutes or days). It’s also helpful to remind yourself that anything is better than nothing. So even if 10 minutes is all the exercise you had time for, give yourself a pat on the back for the effort you did put in.
Take Advantage of Micro-Moments
Whether it’s a brisk walk while your kids are at piano practice or a short yoga video while dinner finishes off in the oven, take advantage of moments you’d normally spend waiting.Use the time you’d normally spend scrolling through your phone to incorporate some exercise into your day. Consider replacing your favorite social media app with an exercise app for a few weeks. 7 Minute Workout is a good one on both iOS and Android.
Schedule It in Your Calendar
Stick to the appointment and consider it “me time.” Start your day earlier, or end it later, and make sure your exercise goal is the first (or last) thing you tick off each day.
While you should refrain from setting a laundry list of goals for yourself, two goals can be better than one. When you set one larger, long-term “stretch” goal and then set smaller daily goals to help you attain it, the two goals can work in tandem to get you to the finish line. Your stretch goal should be something you couldn’t do today, but want to get strong enough to do: to run a half-marathon or to finally master the crane pose. Then your smaller goals should be the staircase you climb to get up to the stretch goal (i.e., running 3 miles today, or spending just 20 minutes doing yoga to get your balance and mindset primed to move towards bakasana).
When you meet any goal, plan a reward for yourself. Whether it be a couch date with “Stranger Things” or a gourmet coffee from your favorite cafe, you’ll build an association between sticking to your goal and a near-immediate, tangible reward. This will help you power through the “don’t wanna” days and develop good habits, until the long-term health benefits will be reward enough. - Sarah Bossenbroek
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