In 2017 American adults spent an average of nearly three hours on their phone EVERY day. Still, the number one excuse I hear from new clients about why they have struggled to start or maintain a fitness routine is NOT ENOUGH TIME. Surely, in this digital age, I know we rely heavily on our handheld devices for any number of functions, and with a countless variety of workout apps and fitness trackers it seems like it ought to be easy to get on a routine, with all the alerts and reminders these technologies can give us to get up and get moving.
But we are coming to find it is not that simple.
When you look at your phone to check the time, there's a notification that someone commented on a Facebook post you shared. You feel compelled to read and react to continue the friendly conversation. Or maybe you go to open your fitness tracking app to see today's workout suggestion, but before you do you notice a dozen unread emails from the time you left the office.
My goal as a personal trainer is to help people learn to carve out time away from the noise and distractions to benefit their health and well being. The payoff is learning exercises they can do even when they think they have no time to workout at all. While I do offer virtual training, it only works with continued client input and interaction, which is why I am always available to my clients and encourage them to tell me how every workout goes. Even if they feel they fell short of their daily goal, I can encourage them to focus on what got accomplished, and adjust their work load to accommodate their busy schedules.
For my one-on-one clients, we use a notebook so that every exercise is noted with the number of repetitions and weight. They then have an easy reference to follow when working out on their own. And a notebook doesn't ding or vibrate with every news alert or push notification, making it easier to step away from the world for half an hour and focus just on the work that needs to be done.
Perhaps you can implement this useful tool for yourself. Sometimes, the act of writing something down in and of itself creates a greater sense of responsibility and accountability. Struggling with food choices? Write down what you're about to eat before you start snacking and jot down how you're feeling the moment the craving strikes. Feel like you don't know what you're doing in the gym? Ask an employee to guide you through the usage of a few machines and write down your setting and weight for each one.
Just one small habit change - putting down the phone and picking up a pen - can make a huge difference in how much more connected you are to the changes you are making in any area of your life. This is why when I write down my to-do list for the week, it goes on a notepad instead of the notes app on my phone. When I write something down, it is more quickly committed to memory and I feel the extra effort makes me more likely to follow through with the plan.
Are you a hand-writer or app junkie? Have you found something different that works to help you commit to your goals? Tell me about it in the comments!