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Simara James is a mother of two, mindfulness coach and consultant, author, podcast host and flexible work expert looking to improve the lives of women across the globe by sharing tips to creating more balance and design a live that's full of fulfillment. 

How I Keep Fit as an Incredibly Busy Person

Learn my top 3 tips to incorporating fitness no matter how busy you are.

The reason I share content with you all is because my mission is to help people find balance in all areas of their lives. Work is such a huge part of that and my main objective is to help my readers find flexibility in that area, but the other aspects of life are equally important, including fitness.

You’re here because you’re busy and looking for ways to somehow get more packed into the hours you have each day. If you have feelings of overwhelm just thinking about implementing a workout habit, this content is for you. You CAN create space in your life for fitness.

I used the three tips below to effortlessly incorporate a workout regimen when I thought I had no more room in my schedule to get it done.

1. Establish the Habit of Showing Up

If you’re like me and a busy professional with kids, part of the reason you can’t seem to find time to work out is because you manage your life using a set of routines that are deeply ingrained. Introducing a new habit when you already feel like there isn’t enough time in a day can seem daunting. The most important thing you can do to get off to a good start is instead of focusing on the end result, which is that banging body and endless energy, is focus on the small things first. Focus on building the habit of exercise into your existing routine. Consistency is more impactful that intensity when it comes to health and wellness.

What works for me: Instead of focusing on losing a certain amount of weight at first, I focused on just making it to the gym every day. Even if I just went to sit in the sauna or spent 10 minutes on the treadmill and left, I was there. Once showing up became a no brainer, it was easy to move to the next step, which was starting to set small fitness goals. For me, establishing the habit of showing up took about 2 months. I continue to add new goals in very small increments while practicing compassion for myself as I move through my fitness journey.

2. Attach working out to an existing good habit

Sometimes it feels like establishing a new habit means disrupting all the other habits that require my time and attention. Personally, the thought of disrupting my already delicate balance and tipping my already full cup is completely anxiety inducing. The best way to prevent that feeling of overwhelm for me was to attach the new habit to an old one in a way that makes them inseparable.

What works for me: I chose two daily habits to attach to my new workout habit. The first daily habit was just coming home from work. Every day, I walk into my house and I change clothes to transition into the next part of my day. Instead of putting on clothes to relax, I started putting on work out clothes. That way, even if I never made it to the gym (which happened a few days here and there), I was still eliminating one barrier to getting in a work out. So on those days when things came up and I couldn’t get to the gym, I just did a short home work out or even just stretched for 5 minutes. The point was to move every single day.

The second habit I attached to working out was picking up my son from daycare. Instead of leaving home to go straight to the daycare, I would go by the gym first. This limited my workouts to about 30 minutes due to the timing, but it became automatic since it didn’t FEEL like I was adding anything to my routine.

What you choose to attach your new habit to will be very unique to your current habits, but take the time to really think through what you do each day and you can surely find ways to incorporate working out little by little.

3. Change Your Mind

The entire objective for tips 1 and 2 are to slowly change your mindset around working out. If you’ve been unsuccessful in the past, chances are that you have the idea that you aren’t the “type of person” who is fit and in shape. You have probably developed a belief that you are the type of person who starts things and can’t stick with them, or the type of person who can’t consistently work out for whatever reason. What you want to do here, which is arguably the most important step, is convince yourself that you are the type of person who loves working out and easily does it consistently. Despite initial failures, always make sure your thoughts are along the lines of you being the type of person who keeps in shape.

This helps so much during those times when you miss a workout day. Believing you are a person who keeps in shape means that when you fall short, instead of thinking “I knew I couldn’t do it. I might as well just come to terms with being out of shape” you’ll think “I missed a day, but it’s no big deal. I have a lifetime of fitness ahead of me and I don’t need to be perfect”. HUGE difference.

What works for me: I simply include being a fit person as part of my daily affirmations. When I look at myself in the mirror, no matter what my current weight, I see myself as a person who values fitness. It’s as simple as that.

Let me know if you decide to try one of these tips and it works for you. Leave me a comment or start a conversation about it on the Work-Life Balance Network Facebook Page.

Also, if you’re in the 30+ club, check out Lift to Get Lean to start an easy to adopt resistance training program. The book is very information and there’s no guesswork.

To get more tips on how to create balance in your life, check out the podcast here.

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