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Although it may sound like a trick question, there is a difference between making the time for exercise and finding the time to exercise. If you look at your daily planner and decide to use some rare, free time in your day to exercise, you are simply finding time. If you make sure you have time scheduled each day to exercise—you are making time. Do you see the difference?

One of the biggest reasons women have for not exercising enough is that they just cannot “find the time”. And therein lies the problem—you end up planning your day without leaving any time for exercise. However, if you switch gears and schedule exercise as a part of your daily routine, you will have greater success at not only getting in your exercise, but also keeping up with it for the long haul.

Sure, life happens and sometimes your best laid plans get derailed. As moms, your responsibilities are endless, so there are going to be occasions when even making the time to exercise gets thrown off by unforeseen events or emergencies or just by life in general. However, if you are already putting in the effort each day to make the time, having a day or two off is not going to undo all your hard work. In fact, you may find that missing a day or two gives you greater motivation to get back on track as soon as possible because your regular routine has been interrupted and you desperately want to get back to it. And that is the greatest benefit of making the time rather than finding the time—it is now a regular part of your day. After all, you make time each day to sleep, eat and bathe so why not do the same for exercising?

Here are some helpful tips for making the time:

  1. Always try to designate the same time each day to exercise. For example, if you drop your kids off at school at 8:20 every morning, then make 8:30 your daily exercise time. You can be done by 9:30 (or sooner) and still have the rest of the day to do whatever it is you need to do.
  2. If you can, schedule other things around your designated time. This may sound silly (or even selfish), but by dedicating that hour only to exercise, you will be more inclined to stick with it. If a friend wants to meet you for coffee, do it after your workout instead of before or during your scheduled exercise time.
  3. Do not let yourself get sidetracked. Even if you have a little bit of time between dropping off the kids and your exercise time, try not to run an errand or go home to clean the dishes. You run the risk of missing your planned time and/or losing your motivation to exercise once you are done with whatever it is you did. Avoid this problem simply by scheduling your exercise as early in the day as possible. By doing this, you get it done and out of the way early enough which leaves you with plenty of time to wash those dishes or run to the grocery store.

With the New Year here, losing weight or getting back into shape are high on the list of resolutions. The best way to keep them throughout the year (and years to come) is by scheduling exercise instead of using it to fill up some free time you might have on a given day. And do not feel bad if you put off that friend for the hour or let the dishes pile up before you leave the house. You are entitled to that time you made for exercise. It is not selfish to want to improve your health. With all the selfless acts that moms do on a regular basis, it is not asking too much to take just one hour a day for yourself.