Setting aside time for yourself is anything but easy when you are a mom, regardless if you have one, two, or ten children, if you work or stay at home – it’s hard. Your focus is your children, your family and it can be hard to find balance, especially with little ones who physically need so much. When I was around 5 months postpartum from having my third baby, I knew I needed something, I didn’t feel like myself, there had to be a way for me to squeeze in some time for myself and I knew that exercise would help me in so many ways. I just had to figure out when I had the time. Here are some things that have worked for me:
- Really take a look at how your days are spent. We all have 24 hours and although we have varying responsibilities, we all get the same amount of time each day. You may have to reprioritize and that’s ok, because YOU have to be on your priority list! Do you wake up early for quiet time only to sit and scroll social media on your phone? There’s your opportunity. We all have one, we just have to scrutinize our own schedules and FIND THE TIME.
- Make your first goal to JUST DO IT. Yes, the Nike slogan. Stop waiting, stop thinking about it. STOP telling yourself you can’t, or there’s no time, or it’s too late, whatever you tell yourself, STOP! Pack a gym bag for afterwork or lay out your clothes and set the alarm a little earlier and just do it. Just go to the gym, just go for the run, just do it and make it a habit. My first goal was to go to the gym every single day for 2 weeks. Once I did that, I would reevaluate, but I wanted to make it a habit. Once I achieved this first goal, I extended it and I said, ok, now I will go every day for a month and that turned into 3 months and so forth. I simply made it a habit and that was my very first goal. It was small, but it was probably the most impactful goal I have set for myself. And because of that goal, over the past 2+ years, I have made countless other goals for myself and achieving them has been so motivating. Inspire yourself! Have fun with it, challenge yourself, set out to do something you’ve never done before and prove to yourself how capABLE you are!
- Do not focus on how much weight you want to lose, or your “goal weight”. You are where you are, don’t focus on how much you have to lose or how many sizes bigger you are, stop! You’re going to end up with negative self-talk and that leads to what? Failure. Be kind to yourself. Focus on that first goal, tell yourself you can do this and be proud of yourself for doing something. You are doing this to be and feel healthy and this means there is no end goal, you simply need to be your best self and this means it is a lifestyle, not something temporary you’re doing just to fit into those old jeans. I didn’t even take a “before” photo, because it felt like I was putting pressure on myself and that was too much to take at that point. I didn’t take any photos until about a month in when I started getting my confidence and liked the changes I was starting to notice.
- Do not cheat yourself! Push yourself. Only YOU know if you are pushing yourself, if you are completing all of the reps, or if you are skipping, etc. If you “cheat” at working out and take it easy all the time, it doesn’t affect anyone but you, make yourself proud of what you can do! You will not be doing yourself any favors in the long run if you really aren’t putting the work in, use that time you carved out to work hard.
- Pay attention to what you are eating. Yes, fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. You will not feel good if you are working out but eating unhealthily. You also will not perform as well as you could. You need to be to be healthy, inside and out. I personally believe in balance and do not believe in a restrictive diet, unless it is prescribed by a doctor or dietician. I believe it is important to pay attention and make better choices and if you have a piece of cake at your daughter’s birthday party, that is ok, don’t beat yourself up over it, or obsess about it, just make your next meal a healthy one and try to eat more healthy foods than unhealthy foods in your day. For me, I eat almost the same things every day, it makes it easier to shop and plan for and knowing what I’m going to be eating makes it easier for me to make healthier choices consistently.
I hope you found this helpful. Change can be hard, so if you haven’t consistently incorporated fitness into your life in a long time, or ever, it can definitely feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. We overthink it. It really is a matter of putting one foot in front of the other. Go for it, just do it!
PS: If you need an extra push, remind yourself that life is a gift and you are only given one body and you are able. There are so many who are not able, so do it for them. Do it for your 90 year old self, one day we might not be so able. Don’t take it for granted.
Perspective matters. Mindset is everything.
One of my recent goals was to achieve a headstand, I worked on it for months. What a feeling it is to achieve something you work so hard for. I’m currently working on handstands and the last two months or so, I’ve been adding in a long distance run, so once a week, instead of going to the gym, I run 5 miles outside, without stopping. When I first started working out, I couldn’t run a quarter mile without stopping. I turn 35 next month and I love that I’m doing things I have never done before and am in much better physical shape than I was in my twenties and probably most of my teens.