Updated: Jan 10
With New Year's resolutions in mind, there has been a lot of chatter in the gym about goals. One consistent theme keeps coming up - the need to find balance between family, work, and fitness.
It is safe to say that most of us have a relentless and full schedule.
The good news is you are not alone in this. And because of that, there are a lot of people working on solutions.
With the help of three of my clients, we have some ideas to share.
These ladies consistently hit fitness goals. All three have demanding responsibilities at work. One is busy raising her family with multiple jobs. One has experience of being a single parent. One competes at various horse events in multiple states while working a time sensitive job.
I asked them to share one piece of advice on balancing a busy family, demanding job, and fitness goals (or a variation of this).
Each offered amazing insight, perspective and advise:
Practice the Stop, Reset, Prepare Strategy
Adjust Your Schedule
Get Tough on Your Goals
Your Calendar is as Important as Their Calendar
#1 Practice the Stop, Reset, Prepare Strategy
Katie is a single woman in her 30's. She has a fulfilling, yet demanding career with time sensitive responsibilities. She also competes in various horse events in multiple states.
Her job often requires long hours with deadlines and meetings. She is the sole caretaker of her horses, which takes time and attention. She is also accountable to a team she competes with, who depend on her.
In her words, "it is easy to fill my day with important tasks from sunup to sundown. If I am not careful, everyday could get away from me. I must stop, reset, and prepare myself to be successful".
STOP - Slow down and get organized
RESET - As you look over your schedule for the next week or so, prioritize
PREPARE - Decide in advance when you will meal prep, go to the gym - and do not allow these to move
"I have found when I get organized at the beginning of my week, everything runs smoothly. I clearly find time to meal prep and schedule my workouts. I can take action to prepare for my week. I can even decide if I will need to lay clothes out the night before a busy day".
#2 Adjust Your Schedule
Misty was a single parent for 10 years. During this time, she came to accept a few things she would have to do to maintain her health and fitness.
The first was the need to get up at 4 AM to exercise. As many come to learn, exercise is about much more than muscles and being lean. Exercise boosts immunity, increases energy levels, and improves mood - specifically improves happy chemicals in the brain.
Misty shares, "I just accepted I had to do what I had to do. I did not like getting up that early at first, but I had to start my family by 6 30 AM. Overtime, I started to like getting up that early. In fact, years later I still get up at 4 AM out of habit - and love it!"
If you have a busy family life, you need to exercise to maintain your best health.
That may require getting up before the kids or getting your workout after bedtime.
Here are a few ideas we have found to help with early rising.
Go to bed at an earlier hour
Reduce screen time before bed
Get a comfortable pillow and nice temperature in your bedroom
Set an alarm away from your bed so you must get up
Consider Melatonin or other natural sleep aids
#3 Get Tough on Your Goals
Misty shared another valuable lesson in the way she recognized strength training required her to be mentally tough - which brings balance outside the gym. Exercising can be hard physically, but more relevant to her, she had to push to believe in her abilities.
"As I get stronger mentally and physically in the gym, I have found mental strength translates into other places in my life.
Sometimes we must do hard things. We must be strong, and it requires mental toughness.
This, in many ways, helps me develop that mental toughness so I'm better balanced for those challenges."
Make a list of benefits you get from exercise and healthy nutrition that may not be obvious
Match that list to how much time is spent browsing your phone or other unnecessary activities
Be mentally strong and complete your fitness and nutrition goals, before you have leisure time
#4 Your Calendar, is as Important as Their Calendar
Brandi is a busy wife, mom, entrepreneur of a small business, and employee. She is engaged in all her children's lives.
She is a supportive and doting wife. She travels frequently to various sporting events. She travels frequently for her décor business. She is often asked to host events for her church, local schools, and other organizations. She handles the marketing efforts for a local dentist's office.
She is busy. You can imagine all the calendars she has to consult with.
She is also fit and healthy.
Brandi shared, "this may sound selfish, but I have learned my health is a priority. It really is not a luxury. It is something I must work at and maintain. I have taught my family to respect and understand this about me. This is a need I have, just like they have needs."
Brandi shared a few things to help with time management.
Voice to your family what you need support in. This is different from needing help with anything. Just that you need them to be supportive of you in your goals to eat healthy and exercise.
Have a hard start and stop! This is critical. There is only so much time in the day. No employer, no person, no commitment, no favor, has the right to dictate all the minutes of your day. Set time limits and stick to them. Do not start early or stop late unless it is an absolute emergency. You will perform better in all areas of your life with this balance.
Recognize life is short. We all make choices. Determine how you want to live yours. Adjust your calendar accordingly and be happy.
Consider why there is a need for balance. This can really help motivate us to find personal solutions. When we are out of balance, we are not performing our best in any area - even the ones we focus on most.
If you found this information helpful, check out more of our blogs featuring clients and expert tips.