For all of us, each season brings with it different opportunities and challenges. Finding the right balance between work, family, and the things that we care about seems to get more and more difficult. I’ve found, for me, that life tends to pick up in the fall.
We’re coming off of summer and while the heat is still hanging around here in Tennessee, the characteristic pillars of fall are in full swing. Kids are back in school, holidays are right around the corner, and it feels like we’re busier than ever.
When faced with the daily grind (and then some), our fitness ambitions are often the first to fall by the wayside. We can’t possibly get it all done — and working out and eating well are always on the chopping block.
That said, staying fit through fall and even through the holiday season is possible. We’re not resigned to our fate! Here are my top tips on staying fit during one of the toughest times of the year.
4 Ways I Stay Fit When Life Gets Busy
1) I make up my mind.
So much of our willingness to do (and subsequently, failure to do) something is based on how much weight we put on it. Are you making fitness a priority in your life? While we often bemoan our busyness, I guarantee you will find time for the things you feel are truly important.
For me, fitness is important. I’ve decided that it’s a priority in my life so I will move things around so that I can get a run in, if not another kind of cardio session. So much about fitness comes back down to discipline. With that comes an unwillingness to make excuses. An openness to creative planning.
We’ve got to be willing to do what it takes to get those important things done. Part of why I can successfully prioritize fitness all year is simply because I’ve decided that it will be a priority in my life. If you do this, and do it with conviction, it will be a lot harder to skip the gym or swing by the fast food drive thru.
2) I keep my expectations in check.
Listen. Just because I’ve made up my mind to do something doesn’t mean I’m not going to have off days. I’m far from perfect! No matter who you are, certain times of the year just get busy. More obligations fall to you, there’s an uptick in parties and socialization. This could be the fall and winter or it very well may be your summer.
Regardless, I have to be willing to give myself grace. If we’re too rigid with your schedules, we will begin to feel defeated and discouraged when we have to be more flexible. Missing out on a workout here and there won’t kill you.
Don’t expect your workout routine to be perfect. Don’t expect your performance to be perfect! The simple fact is, if you’re getting out there and doing it at all, you’re doing something right. We can’t let temporary setbacks rob us of our determination.
3) I adapt what I do.
Here in Tennessee, it stays hot. Like a lot of Southern states, we have this weird pendulum swing between summer, almost-fall, second-summer, and winter (which is secretly just fall). Because of this, running in September can be more difficult than running in July. Not only is there heat, but there’s the added pressure of a packed schedule.
When the weather isn’t working out or time is short, I have to adapt if I still want to exercise. And I do! Part of that is having a fitness backup plan. While endurance running is my passion, it’s not always feasible with my schedule.
That’s why having a gym to hit or an at-home fitness routine planned is so important. Remember: flexibility can be as important as discipline. It’s all about finding the times, ways, and places where fitness works for you. Make it convenient in whatever way you can and you will be far more likely to keep it up.
4) I keep track.
Lastly, I keep track. With technology today, it’s easier than ever to keep track of your workouts done, calories burned, food consumed, and sleep earned. I think most of us take this for granted. If we’re not, we ignore it entirely! There is something psychologically satisfying about building up a fitness streak.
Whether it’s days in a row kept within your calorie target, beating your last best time, or just days you actually made it to the gym, keeping track is a motivating experience. Not only does it help you recognize where you’re growing and improving, but it exposes those areas we need to be more cognizant of.
What motivates you to exercise when your schedule is packed? Share your thoughts in the comments.