It’s already back to school time, which means for parents and teachers we have to completely reset our schedules. Again. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed and deprioritize ourselves as school drop offs and soccer practices take over.
The easiest way to get back into fitness, or stay on track, is to plan for it.
You might feel like setting time aside to make a schedule seems counter intuitive. “I need less to do, not more!” However this is always what I start with anytime I feel my fitness or nutrition start to slip. Pick a non-negotiable weekly time to sit down and block out your week. Here is how I do it:
Make a list of everything you need and want to do that week. This step can be skipped, but this helps ensure you don’t miss anything.
I love Google Calendar personally, but a paper calendar can work, too. Whatever you use, make sure it’s something you will actually follow. I do love writing in paper planners, but if I don’t add it to my Google Calendar and get a reminder for it, it isn’t happening. Find what works best for you.
For example, work, school drop off, kid’s practices, etc. If you know it is not available time for you, block it.
Once scheduled, treat them like they are mandatory as well. Here is what all should be included:
Workouts. Start with three a week. They do not need to be full hours. Maybe one is a quick walk/run with the kids or dogs, another could be a yoga video from YouTube, maybe a third is a fitness class with a friend. Start with something manageable and build from there.
Meal Prep. Block a few hours, I prefer Sundays, to make meals for the week. This could include kid’s lunches, your lunches, breakfast or even all meals for the week. The keys is to start making meals for the times when you are not home and are tempted to hit the drive through. Maybe you aren’t a morning person and breakfast is your nemesis. Plan to make some egg muffins or have some healthy smoothie ingredients frozen and ready for the blender.
Keep it simple. With workouts, start small and build as this turns into a habit. Bonus points for scheduling this as a family activity. The littles usually love to help out, and teaching them how to make healthy food is an awesome life skill. Win win.
Eating. This may seem like overkill, but days where I have to do school drop off, work, then be at the kid’s softball are the days I forget to eat. When I add in a 30-minute window to eat during the day, it helps make sure I don’t forget all day and face-plant off the wagon when hanger strikes.
Fun. Put in something just for you each week. Maybe you want to get up and yoga or journal before the kids get up. Add it! Or maybe you have a weekly date night with your partner; schedule that. Just something that can help you refill your cup. It can be a short window, but put yourself first for at least 30 minutes a week. Trust me: this is a game changer!
Time blocking is super simple, but it does take practice to create the habit. Make sure to be patient with yourself when you get the call that your kiddo is sick and needs to be picked up ASAP. We all know that is exactly what is going to happen the first day you time block out. If you can readjust the rest of your schedule for the week, go for it. If not, simply pick it back up the next day as originally planned. Start small and build as you go.
Life with kids rarely goes exactly as planned, but when you have a week that went well, or it didn’t but you still finished the week on a positive note and got to the gym anyways, reward yourself. Maybe it’s with a pedicure, or a new shirt, a craft class you’ve wanted to try, or even that fancy coffee drink you love. You did the work, celebrate it.
Finally find an accountability buddy for this. You can meet with them in person and create your own schedules; maybe you and your partner do this each Sunday, or even a friend you text with once you have completed your weekly time block. This is not necessary, but it’s nice to have. Putting it out there in the world that you plan to do X, Y, Z this week can help keep you on track. And everything is more fun with friends anyways, right?
Get out those calendars, and get time blocking.