A few months ago, just after returning from Asheville for Spring Break with my daughter, and still figuring out how to fit in a regular workout schedule (I had only been doing drop-in classes at my CrossFit gym one or two days a week), I saw a post on Instagram from Melissa Hartwig, one of the founders of the Whole30. I follow a lot of health-related and inspiring people and friends, of course, but this post resonated with me. I took a screenshot of the pulled quote from an article of Laura Vanderkam's in The Wall Street Journal, “Are You As Busy As You Think?” I still have that screenshot and have probably become annoying to my friends when I listen to them talk about how they want to do something or incorporate something, but they just don’t have the time or [fill in any number of excuses here] and then I pull out this quote and read it aloud.
Instead of saying “I don't have time” try saying “it's not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I'm not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it's not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don't like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently.
After digesting this, and deciding that getting fit is a priority for me, I upped the number of drop-in days at the CrossFit gym. Then I got even more serious about it and joined. Now, I manage three days a week and plan to up that to four or five days a week this summer. Sometimes my daughter tags along, sometimes she doesn’t. But at least she sees that it’s a priority for me. And she’s learning that fitness and health should be a priority for her.
So, I’ll keep the screenshot because I’ll undoubtedly need to remind myself of this from time to time. It’s an awesome reminder that everything is a choice.
Shannon Steffee is a magazine editor by day, and a mom, health nut, and music lover by night. In her spare time, she enjoys writing about health-related topics and sharing her personal experience with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and gluten-free eating. You can find her on Twitter: @ShanSteffee. She is based in Orlando.