One thing I try to be very careful is the use of the phrase, “I didn’t have time to (fill in the blank)“.
There is a very small percentage of time when this is actually true. In fact, I tried to just come up with a few examples, all of which I had to delete after I really thought about them more.
For example, “I didn’t have time to pee before the workout started.” This is one that I would love to blame on other things or people: the line in the bathroom was too long, I couldn’t warm up my pull ups and pee so I went with warming up so I lessen my risk of getting hurt, the coach never gave us a bathroom break, etc.
The reality is that this is the very sort of example of a time when it was me not thinking and planning ahead to make something happen that I wanted to.
We’ve all heard the saying, “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. We make time for what we truly want.” And, I think that is such a clear representation of a truth that we often don’t want to embrace.
It’s so much easier on our ego to say that we didn’t have time for something that we like to think of as “important to us”: preparing healthy food to bring places with us, exercising and spending time on mobility/deep tissue work, calling our mother and friends we don’t run into every day, teaching our kids how to tie their shoes, vacuuming the interior of our car, reading a book, sending someone a thank you card, getting 8 hours of sleep, folding and putting away a pile of clean laundry, chipping away at the pile of who the hell knows what on your desk or kitchen counter, or…winterizing the moped…in April.
We have the time, we just (a) forget what our personal values are and how important they are to our day-to-day happiness and feeling of accomplishment, and/or (b) allow ourselves to be immobilized by feeling overwhelmed by things that may take up more time than we are willing to commit to.
It’s more fun to check off quick to-do items like pack kids snacks, start laundry, and go to the car wash. Those things don’t take a lot of time, they must get done or you pay the price of your kid’s teacher calling you to tell you you forgot a basic parenting responsibility, or they’re things you “get done” while doing something else (like sitting in your car as it passes through the car wash while you check your Instagram feed or watch a quick episode of Jimmy Fallon on YouTube).
When I get into a bad rhythm of this, I will literally stop myself in my tracks and correct myself by saying out loud, “I didn’t make time to (fill in the blank).” The first step is awareness, right? Because when we stop making excuses, we stop putting ourselves into positions where we feel the need to “make excuses” in the first place.
I, then, will do a better job of breaking down tasks on my to-do list so they are written in steps to the ultimate goal, instead of a list of ultimate goals that are typically more overwhelming and daunting.
“Do laundry” turns into “run washing machine, run dryer, bring clean clothes to bedroom, fold clothes, put clothes into bedrooms, put clothes away”. Checking all of those individual things off, for me, is a lot more satisfying and motivating than sitting there all day staring at the “do laundry” item that actually takes hours to finish IF I were to actually keep coming back to all of the individual steps that take to get me to complete it.
Try it if you don’t already. It’s a game changer. And, the real money maker, is writing it on the kitchen chalk board so during dinner the family can see that I don’t actually just sit in the living room all day watching a loop of my favorite movie, The Other Woman.