I had an epiphany a while back as I drove to work. It was still early, the sun was just beginning to lighten the sky. Winter was losing its grip on the season and that sense that spring was coming, the idea of change was in the air. Most people were quietly nestled in their beds at this time of day. As I drove to work I was impressed with the number of people I saw that were out exercising – running, walking along the street, I even passed a group of boot campers in session in a parking lot. I was a bit bleary eyed myself and had I not been heading for appointment with a client I would have surely been asleep. But these people were “up and at ‘em” as my Mom liked to say. I had to give them credit. They could have been off to work, or eating breakfast, or watching TV, but they were out exercising. Heck, they could have been sleeping… and then it hit me.
If you make your fitness program a higher priority than sleep, you’ll get it done.
We all have our priorities and we all only have so much time. We are each dealt 168 hours in a week and it is up to us to decide how to spend them, no one has more time than you, no one has less. Certain things are sure to make the priority list, like eating, showering (hopefully), and sleeping. Most people put working on that list and most people have exercise or improving their health somewhere on that list, but the question is where does it fall? If it is below the importance of sleep, then you’ll need to work hard to make sure you can fit it in where sleep isn’t a consideration. But if your fitness program is truly more important than sleep, meaning you will forego sleep by waking up early or by staying up late to make sure you get that workout in, it will happen. If you can do that consistently, then you will be committed to your fitness program and results are likely just a few steps down the road.
Knowledge is power and having self awareness is part of knowledge. You, or your clients, should know where sleep ranks after an honest look at one’s self. I’ll use myself for example. I know I am supposed to floss and I know healthy gums can be a barometer to represent one’s internal health, but when push comes to shove I would rather go to sleep than floss. Traditionally you floss at night but I find myself taking out my contacts and plopping into bed, the unopened floss container still sitting on my bathroom counter. The regular plan of flossing before you go to bed, for me, doesn’t work, because sleep wins out almost every time. I need a new plan. I love to workout so instead of flossing before bed I now try to floss before I workout. It is going okay, when I have the perfect solution for how to accomplish something that ranks low on the priority list I’ll let you know . But what I do know is if you want to make long term progress with your fitness and health, you need to find a way to make that part of your life more important than sleep. Dreams are great to have, but you don’t accomplish your dreams in your sleep.