Episode 325 – How to make a change stick when you’re maxed out all the time

Written by Jonathan

A couple weeks ago I talked about how zooming out can be an effective strategy to recognize times or periods of time in your life to determine when you’re going to be less busy or more busy and then trying to coincide some of your healthy lifestyle changes with periods of time you tend to be less busy and have fewer external commitments, because targeting these periods of time give you the greatest chance of success, to make a healthy and sustainable lifestyle change.

Of course this is all well and good, but what if you’re red lining all the time or you’re maxed out from the time you wake up in the morning until the time you go to bed at night? If that’s the case you can zoom out as far as you want, but that’s not going to be helpful for you. Today we’re going to go through a few things to consider or look at in your life and give you some strategies that can hopefully help you make some better or at least healthier decisions.

The first thing to consider and you’re probably not going to like this, but, are you actually maxed out, are you really burnt out or is it your perception? I have a client that I see pretty consistently a couple times a week, she’s older and has a few joint issues, her shoulder gets sore once in a while, sometimes she gets hip and back pain. During our sessions together she talks about how much the exercises help and how she almost always feels better after our workouts, because the exercises were helping so much I would say something to the effect of, if you could find some time to do these exercises through the week, you would probably feel a lot better and we would be able to step the exercises up a notch and try some more advanced techniques and train at a higher intensity. All you would need to do is this one or these two exercises that will only take a couple of minutes. Every once in a while she’ll tell me about how she did the exercises, but by and large when I ask how they went she will tell me she couldn’t do them because she didn’t have time, but once things settle down then she will have more time and be able to do them. Which is fair, except I’ve been training this particular client for about 5 years, she’s retired and has been retired the whole time…If you’re retired and you still don’t have 2 – 5 minutes a day to do a couple simple exercises, that make you feel better, being maxed out is not your problem. This is an extreme example and I can say with almost 100% certainty that you, as in you listening to this right now don’t fall into this category, but because you’re outside of this person’s life looking in, it’s pretty easy to see time is not the problem, but like I said if I were to ask her then time is the problem and she is maxed out, but if I were modify this example and change it enough that she wouldn’t be able to know I was talking about her then she would probably say this person is just making excuses and definitely has enough time, but she can do that because she is detached from the situation, and it’s always easier to point out the faults and excuses in someone else’s life than it is to point out the faults or illogical reasoning in our own.

As this relates back to you and trying to decide if you’re actually living at maximum capacity or is it your perception that you’re at maximum capacity and you actually have room to change some things. Of course this is easier said than done, but if you can step back and momentarily detach from your life, maybe pretend it’s someone else’s life it could be easier to make that judgment call, or an even better strategy might be, if this were someone else’s life how would I tell them to fix it or what would I think they need to change about it.

In other words – how much of you being busy is fabricated or your perception vs. actually being busy, it’s a tough question to answer and requires some honest reflection, but the sooner you have that honest reflection, the sooner you can get to this next part. Taking Action.

There’s an old saying, that your perception is your reality, and in this case, after your reflection, regardless of whether or not your perception is that your busy or you are legitimately and actually busy the action taking is going to be similar, except if you’ve decided your busy ness is more perception than reality you can be more aggressive on the changes you make, I kind of like that, be more aggressive with your changes. Which is what we’re going to cover next.

If you’re a long time listener, this name may sound familiar to you, but if not here’s the skinny on one of our first listener’s, supporter’s and question asker, Triple Threat K. When we first started doing the show a little over a couple of years ago Triple Threat K wanted to make some changes or had started to make some changes, but needed a bit of guidance and direction. She’s a person that I would consider to be legitimately busy. She’s married, has a young child leaves her house at around 7 and doesn’t get home from work until between 6 and 7, she fires a dinner together, then does the required parenting activities and it’s not until around 8 or 9 that she gets a minute for herself. It’s at this time she does her workout. She has a lot of trouble getting moving in the morning and with her commute and the amount of work she needs to do in the day, it’s the only time that works for her, so she puts on a follow along exercise video and does that for 10 to 30 minutes depending on the day. Then she shuts it down for the night. After doing her reflection she came to the conclusion that was the only time she was able to workout, it’s what works for her and she’s been doing it for 2 years now.

I work with another client once a week, that lives a very similar lifestyle, early mornings and long days at work left him unmotivated to exercise when he got home, so his solution was to do the stairs at his office everyday at lunch. His office building is about 20 storeys high, so he starts at the bottom and climbs all the way to the top 3 times and that’s it, it takes him 15 to 20 minutes to do and so he doesn’t miss his lunch he drinks a giant protein shake over the course of the afternoon. Over the 6 months he started doing that he lost about 15 lbs. He’s continued to do that because it works for him and he’s still kept it off.

There are a lot of people that live similar lives to these two examples. Early mornings, long work days, children to look after and very limited time. But after some detachment and reflection on their lives, they found a way to fit exercise in. Here are some things I want to point out about their solutions.

Their solution does not require them to go to a gym, their solution requires them to exercise for 10 to 30 minutes a day, not an hour or an hour and a half, neither one of them use big equipment as part of their solution, Triple Threat K might use a jump rope and light dumbbells from time to time, but mostly uses just her body weight. Is their solution perfect? Probably not for you or me but it’s perfect for them, because it’s something that each of them will do.

As you reflect on your life and try to decide how busy you actually are and how you can restructure your life to create more time and live more healthfully, I want you to think about what’s really important to you, what activities have to happen and what activities do you do without really thinking or just do because you’ve always done them. After you’ve done that reflection you should have a better idea about what you can change and what activities you should be able to fit into your life. It won’t be perfect, but it will most definitely be better than nothing.



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