“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J.R.R. Tolkien, Lord of the Rings

I am one of those people whose life often prompts other people to ask, how do you do it? Where do you find the time? It was more striking when I had three young kids but even now I hear it.

I hear it about lots of things but most often about exercise and working out.

But even as someone who manages to fit things in when others can’t, I hate slogans like the one above and below. They’re a little too mean for my taste. I find them judgmental.

We lead busy lives. Someone posted in the fitness accountability group that Cate and I are both part of about trading off sleep versus workouts. He shared an article, Should I sleep less to fit in a workout? Bottom line, it’s not worth it. Don’t miss sleep.

But what gives?

I thought that in the spirit of honesty I’d talk about the things I don’t do that help me find time to exercise.

First, I don’t watch very much television.

Second, I have low standards for my personal appearance. I keep my hair short. Mostly I just wash it, put styling lotion in it, and leave it be. I don’t wear much make up.

Third, I’m not a single parent. During the kids’ early years I wasn’t even the most involved parent. Jeff was. We’ve also got a community of other adults around us who’ve helped out. Hi Tracy! Hi Michael and Val! Hi Rob! Hi Sarah! While the kids were little my mum worked full-time taking care of my kids. In addition, there were grandfathers who did most or all of the driving kids around. A nearby aunt didn’t hurt either! (She’s the best aunt in the world. Hi Susan!)

Fourth, I get help cleaning my house. And by “get help” I mean I pay someone to clean. Even so, between times, it’s mostly a mess.

Fifth, I pretty much don’t cook. Luckily these days my kids do. We all pitch in.

So yes, I have time to exercise but that time doesn’t come from nowhere. I make sacrifices and those sacrifices might not be ones you want to make. I’ve also got a lot of privilege in the form of family support, income, and a job where I can get away with my short, messy hair.

How about you? What gives to make the time to work out? Where in your life do you cut corners?

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