Recently I have been making very simple changes in the way I approach my day. I haven’t been actively trying to do this, but the time just seems to be right for it. First I discovered one thing I could do differently, then another and another. I feel like I’m on a role! Yea! The original plan was to write one post briefly describing them all; but I like to explain details so much that I decided a post on each one would be better. So be on the look-out over the next few weeks for my “Simple Changes” series!
The first change I’ve made is to exercise first thing in the morning after my family leaves for school and work. I know that this seems like an obvious time to choose exercise, but for me the choice has not always been so clear. Those first moments of the day are “prime real estate” for me in the context of time. My energy is up, my motivation is at it’s best, and anything that I assign to this spot is very likely to get done. As the day progresses, however, my energy starts to drop, I start getting pulled into various directions making it harder to focus on one task, and it can be difficult to stay internally motivated as well. The challenge for me has always been that there are so many things that practically beg to be placed in that prime spot of “first thing in the morning.” You may remember my efforts to do the dishes first a few months ago – that’s only one example, and I could easily think of at least 10 more.
But for now, exercise has won that spot – and it has been great! Here are the benefits:
1. It actually happens. One thing that I’ve noticed with many of my chores that “should” be done early, is that I will still get them done sometime even if I put them off a bit. For example, the kitchen — If I don’t clean the kitchen early, then eventually I will start running out of clean dishes to use and space to prepare food. The pressure of this will demand that I get the kitchen cleaned before too much time goes by. Maybe the kitchen isn’t as neat and clutter-free throughout the day as it could be, but days and weeks will not pass without it happening at all. Exercise, on the other hand is one thing that does not have such an immediate and stressful consequence if it doesn’t happen. If I put if off, then I can easily go days and weeks without doing it. So a big advantage to scheduling it first in the day is that I make sure that it happens.
2. I get to start my day with something I like to do. I actually enjoy exercising, which is why it’s so crazy that I haven’t been doing it consistently. After spending an hour packing lunches (which I don’t enjoy), and putting out fires (i.e. “Mom, I can’t find my library book!”), and otherwise making sure the kids are ready to catch the bus on time — it’s nice to do something that is not only productive, but enjoyable too.
Actually, the “exercise instructors” on my DVD’s say it much better than I can. For example, Chrissy Carter will say, “It’s hard to think about your ‘To Do’ list when you are balancing on one leg.” And Leslie Sansone will say, “Don’t worry about the dishes in the sink! You know what I always say, just ‘walk away’ from those dishes in the sink!” It makes me smile to hear things like this when I’m exercising, because they are both so right! It is a good thing to take a break from the demands of every day chores in order to take better care of my own health.
I’m glad to be exercising consistently again. It feels good to move, stretch, and to get stronger! Summer is quickly approaching, which means my family will be taking trips that will most likely require a fair amount of walking. I’ll certainly be glad then for the time I’m spending now!
When is your best time of day to exercise?