Stop Waiting for the Perfect Time

perfect time

*This article first appeared in Panorama Community Magazine in June 2023

Many folks put off making improvements in their health or fitness for a variety of reasons.  They might cite reasons such as “I don’t have time right now, my days are so busy…” or, “I can’t afford it right now…it’s not quite in our budget.”  Some people succumb to “paralysis by analysis” and research potential gyms/workout programs/diets forever and never decide on one.  Others might just report they don’t know what to do at the gym, so they just stay home and do nothing.  

I will let you in on a little secret…conditions will never be perfect.  Waiting for conditions to be perfect will leave you just…waiting.  

Not having time is a common excuse people use for not taking the steps to begin a health or fitness program.  We can approach this in two ways.  One is to objectively look at how you are spending your time.  A quick place to look is at your phone.  What does your screen time data look like?  Next, look at how much TV you are watching.  We easily find the time to binge watch Netflix or YouTube.  Raising these points takes me to my next thoughts.

Many people tend to believe that you need to spend hours in the gym each week to experience results and that couldn’t be further from the truth.  I have people that workout even just three days per week for about an hour or less and they have achieved great results.  Furthermore, the gym is but a very small part of making improvements in your overall health and our results are influenced more by our life outside of the gym (walking, improving what/how we eat, sleeping well, etc). 

Consider this…we can either make time for our health or we can make time for our illness.  Having worked as a nurse in the hospital, I have never had a patient report that their hospital stay came at a good time for them.  It was more than likely quite the opposite.   

A solution I highly recommend for people that might have time challenges is investing in gym equipment for home.  It doesn’t have to be big or pricey and can be as simple as a few dumbbells.  Personally speaking, when I was going through graduate school and advancing in my career, my home gym was a lifesaver.  (Little did I know COVID would come along and it would prove to be even more valuable).  It was far more convenient for me to be able to go home, go in the garage, do my workout and then head into the house to work on whatever project was due versus spending additional time going to a commercial gym.  

Another reason many folks cite for why they are putting off pursuing a health or fitness regimen is costs/finances.  Many, if not all gyms, have a variety of program offerings to fit almost anyone’s budget.  The best investment we can ever make is the one we make in ourselves.  Our spending tells a story about what we prioritize in our lives.  I encourage you to review how you are spending your money.   Sometimes, it means we need to trim from somewhere else to be able to afford the investment in ourselves.  For example, can we perhaps make coffee or breakfast at home versus purchased meals during the week?  Or, maybe there is an opportunity to cut back on meals that we eat out and use that money instead to do something for ourselves that will provide long-term benefits.  Please note, I am not suggesting you “eliminate all fun” to be able to afford the gym or more nutritious food.  I am instead encouraging you to consider exploring all avenues before you utilize a financial reason for not taking steps to improve your health.  At the end of the day, it is free to get out and go for a walk!

Some people spend excessive time researching the best option and end up making no decision at all.  As the saying goes, “there is nothing to it but to do it!”  You can think about it and debate about it forever and that is not going to get you anywhere.  Just start with something, no matter how small, and work on developing better habits.  Improving yourself by even just 1% everyday has a tremendous compounding effect.  Think of yourself like a savings account.  You can put a dollar in everyday and start earning interest, or I can keep it in my wallet and it earns nothing.  Doesn’t mean you can’t change banks (or gyms) later on, but at least you have started moving forward towards self-improvement.  

Lastly, a big reason I hear from people about why they don’t pursue a fitness routine is that they don’t know what to do at the gym.  I can totally understand.  Early on in my fitness journey, I remember walking into the gym and having no idea what to do.  I also remember having some home equipment and not being sure what to do with that either.  Thankfully, I found a gym that I enjoyed and where I received guidance until I felt comfortable enough to workout more independently.  I have also enjoyed working out on my own, while still being guided by a remote coach.  A coach is a great resource and a great example of investing in yourself.  

In conclusion, failure to accomplish our goals, regardless if they are health or fitness related, often comes down to our failure to plan, prepare, or prioritize.  We need to plan time in our schedules to work on ourselves.  We need to prepare appropriately to best set ourselves up for success.  We need to make efforts to prioritize ourselves because we deserve to be a priority.  

I will close with one of my favorite quotes from one of my coaches, “we can have excuses, or we can have results, but we can’t have both.”

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