How To Prioritize Healthy Habits
1.5 hours on 5-6 days per week
30-45 minutes of physical activity
30 minutes to purchase and/or prepare healthy foods for current day and next
15-30 minutes for mental balance – breathe, meditate, walk or other activity
2-3 hours on 1-2 day per week
45-60 minutes of physical activity
1-2 hours to purchase and/or prepare healthy foods for several days
15-45 minutes for mental balance – breathe, meditate, walk or other activity
Does that seem difficult without sacrificing sleep, family time, other commitments or even changing careers? In our fast-paced, overscheduled lives, the scarcity of time feels very real. After we complete all things we’re required to do, there’s hardly any time to do what we want. And taking care of our health seems like yet another demand vs. how we want to spend our free time.
I get it. Many people tell me they feel this way. I have too. But there is a way to add healthy habits to our schedules without turning our lives upside down.
Discover How You Spend Your Time
The first step is to plot out how you’ll spend your time each day for the upcoming week, noting which items are firm commitments and which items are discretionary. Things like work, volunteering, taking kids to school/activities, and sleep are firm, of course. Discretionary time might come after dinner some evenings, in the morning before others get up, lunch time, and pockets of time on days off. Use your calendar app, download a simple online template, planner or whatever works for you. At the end of each day, consider what you actually did and revise as needed. Be honest. Use a screen time tracker if it’ll help.
Add Healthy Habits Without Major Sacrifices
Review your discretionary time windows and begin fitting in some healthy activities as you can. Can you shift your schedule to make 30 minutes to exercise? Can you portion out healthy snacks once for the week vs. doing it daily? Are there evening activities like family time or phone calls that can be combined with a walk? Could you purchase or prep healthy dinners ahead of time and reheat them on weeknights? What about a workday break to walk around your office building? Bonus points if you take the stairs!
Experiment with fitting healthy habits a day or two each week and build from there. Can you cut down on screen time? Can you batch tasks so they take less time? Over time healthy habits can naturally fit into your schedule. Take advantage of the options you have today to take care of your health. Make the time now. Tomorrow could look quite different.