What if we replaced “I don’t have time” with “It’s not a priority” ?

By: Missy Henry

What if we replaced “I don’t have time” with “It’s not a priority”?

I mean it. Try it. Go an entire day and every time you are tempted to say (or think) “I just don’t have time for that”, instead replace it with “It’s not a priority”. How do things immediately change for you? Maybe they don’t. Maybe that “thing” you are talking about isn’t a priority. So it can then be filed away in your mind to be conquered at a later date when and if you decide to tackle it. But what happened to you if that “thing” was in fact something you list as a priority?? How does that shift your mindset towards it? For example someone may think “they don’t have time” to play with their kids. But switching that to “it’s not a priority” to play with my kids certainly changes the meaning… at least for me anyway. This same concept can apply to health behaviors.

Whether I’m coaching health, bootcamp, personal training or nutrition, this is often a common conversation. People aren’t evil. They aren’t trying to self-sabotage themselves. But some need some help on prioritizing. Society is great at prioritizing quick fixes or instant gratification. But what happened to reaping the benefits of good ole fashion hard work. Staying disciplined towards something you’ve always wanted. Most of you remember that feeling at some point in your life. Maybe it was youth athletics, or finishing your Master’s degree for a promotion. At some point most of us have put in the work, the effort, THE TIME, to get us to a place we’ve always wanted to go. I will argue that relationships require that very thing as well; work and dedication.

SO why is this often hard for us to translate in terms of our health? Why do we exercise one day and think, great am I there yet? When did working out become last man on the totem pole? When did healthy eating get characterized as way to expensive and gross? (Or salads??? I would like to chat with the person that correlated healthy eating to only salads. ugh!).

As coaches, we talk about mindset to our members all the time. How you can mentally get through a tough workout. How you can use it to help with stress management. How to use it to remember to meal prep each weekend etc. It’s all about mindset and that we may need to switch mindset in order to reach our goals. Switching mindset is a fancy way of saying develop new habits. (pssst look for Joy’s next blog on some commitment/habit tips!).

So this is my challenge for you and your current mindset about your health, your life and your goals. Sometimes we need to take a deeper look into things before we try new habits all together. What is truly important to you? What is your priority? Create a list of the top 10 “priorities” in your life. I hope health (in some form) is on that list because it is when we take care of ourselves, that we can then truly be there in full capacity for others. (I promise you this…)

Notice what came out in your list. Stare at the list and let it sink in. Then I want you to circle the items that you often “don’t have time for”.
Next, I want you to repeat this sentence with each of the items you have circled. “[insert item] is/are not a priority for me”. (So if Friends were on your list and you often don’t have time for them, you would say, “Friends are not a priority for me.”).

What happened deep down when you said that? Maybe nothing changed. Maybe everything changed. Some deep emotion that sparked because it made you realize, that OF COURSE that item is a priority, how could I say that!

I myself struggle with procrastination. It lets me down and my family down sometimes. So this is an exercise I started doing to remind myself of what I truly value. Because like anyone else, I have engrained habits that often get in the way and easily take control when I view my world in terms of TIME and not PRIORITIES or VALUES.
So how did this mindset exercise work for you? Any shifts take place? Any new priorities pop up? Life is so much more than just time; it’s how we spend it and the quality in which we spend it. I lift so that I get to spend more quality, capable, and stress free years with my family and friends. (And to feel a sense of accomplishment, who am I kidding. Don’t ever feel selfish for wanting/needing something just for you as well.)

So what kind of healthy habit could allow you a little more time to spend with the other people on your priority list?

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