Finding Time Motivation and Purpose
I’ve been wanting to write this blog post for a while—since January, when I started my first full-time “adult job” here in Norman.
Because soon after CrossFit 405 South was no longer my “job,” I struggled with my time management. I was so excited to have a “big girl” job as soon as I graduated from OU, but my first week in the office, I was clobbered by the reality of an 8 to 5 schedule—and all the other fun things that come with being an adult.
I wanted to keep CrossFitting. I knew the WODs were vital to my mental and physical health and would help me deal with my new stress. But it was hard to find the time—and the energy. Sure, I could hit the 5:30PM or 6:30PM WOD after work (sometimes even the 4:30, if Norman traffic played along)—but I was exhausted. After work, all I wanted to do was go home and eat and sleep.
Fast forward a few months and I’ve settled into a better routine. I realized that I have a lot more energy at 5 in the morning than I do at 5 in the evening, so that’s when I go to the box. I found a way to WOD, work, and accomplish my personal errands/chores (most of the time).
But I’m still single. And I don’t have any children to wrangle. Basically, my life is work and working out (and delaying wedding plans). So, I still marveled at the question that struck me when I started my job at Levant:
How do people at CrossFit 405 South and CrossFit Midtown find the time, energy, and motivation to workout when they have another life? A demanding job, kids, a spouse…or even a really intense hobby?
While I was planning to write this blog, I listened to a podcast from Lee Cockerell about the importance of exercise. (Note, this podcast is about leadership and business. Lee also wrote a book on time management. He’s not a fitness guru or personal trainer. He’s 73 years old, acted as Executive Vice President of Disney World Operations for ten years, and chose to do an entire episode on the importance of exercise. And he’s from Bartlesville, Oklahoma, if that matters to you.)
I took a few things Lee said, along with the advice of my box-mates in Norman who WOD daily (and have jobs and families), and made a list to uncover the secret to “WODing while adulting.”
“You don’t find the time, you make time.” –Lee Cockerell
If Lee Cockerell, one of the busiest and most successful men in America can make time to workout 6 to 7 days a week (and get 7 to 8 hours of sleep!), why can’t I? If that means waking up an hour earlier, so be it. Saying you don’t have time is an excuse. Everyone has 168 hours a week. Some people make time for their health, some people don’t.
Everyone at CrossFit 405 and 405 South is making time to WOD. I know this because they’re busy people, and they show up every day. Polly, who was in the gym just a couple months after Marcail was born, is a great example.
“Basically, I believe that people do what they want to do,” Polly said. “If someone wants to be at the gym, they’ll be there.”
And as a new mom, I know she was tired. I know she had other things to do. But she made the time because being at the gym was important.
Time Pro Tip: Marcail loved watching her mom workout (and still does)! No babysitting required!
Know Your Purpose
Yes, CrossFit is fun. But you didn’t think that when you started, and you don’t think that during most of the WODs. There are many days I’ve thought, “I don’t need to workout…” because I had forgotten why I decided to show up at CrossFit 405 in the first place. (I want to live a long life, but I also want to enjoy the way I feel every day—and, of course, everybody likes to look good.)
The “why” is different for everyone. For some athletes, like Brad Anderson, CrossFit and staying in shape can mean the difference between life and death.
“My job requires me to be in shape,” Brad said. “Yes, I know there are fat cops, but I don’t want to be one. I owe it to my family to be in great shape—not only to set a good example, but to survive while I’m at work.”
“Survival” doesn’t just apply to cops and firefighters when it comes to being in shape. You have a better chance of surviving all sorts of disasters and diseases when you’re in better health, whether it’s a car wreck or the flu. Think about that next time you’re feeling unmotivated. Think about the kids you have who you want to chase around the backyard this summer. Think about the energy you have at work compared to when you don’t exercise. Discover your personal “why,” know it, own it, repeat it—and remind yourself next time you don’t feel like showing up for a WOD.
Time Pro Tip: Brad and his wife tag-team their workout schedules and taking care of their kids. He goes in the morning, she goes in the evening. And his kids play about 4 different sports, so, again…they’re making time, not finding it.
Be Accountable with your Time and Energy
You’ve probably seen this in every blog or book you’ve ever read about working out, so I won’t say much. When it comes to CrossFit 405 and 405 South, the great thing is that we have accountability built in to the gym. You don’t have to drag your reluctant friend to the gym with you—your barbell buddies are already at CrossFit 405. And when you know you’ll have to explain your reason for skipping a WOD to your “crew” the next day, sometimes you rethink the box of Girl Scout Cookies at midnight.
Or you just show up anyway.
For Kristen Campbell, soon-to-be mommy and superhero dentist, she found that working out with her husband was helpful to both of them when it came to scheduling workouts.
“It does help to have someone to keep you accountable,” Kristen said. “For us, we found that if we go together, we go. If one of us can’t make it, it’s easier for the other person to back out.”
Lesson learned: Bring your Boo to the Barbells!
Time Pro Tip: Get a two-for-one special by making a WOD date night! (If your love doesn’t CrossFit like mine, you can always try their sport and give your muscle memory a run for its money. Hello, basketball…)
Schedule Time for Your Workout
It sounds simple, and it’s another tip you’ll hear time and again…but it works. You’re a lot more likely to do something if you pick a specific time to accomplish a task, then write it down in a planner or calendar.
For me, it’s 5:30AM. Every day. Some days, I realize I need rest more than I need a workout, so I sleep in. On those same days, I usually think, “I could probably make the 4:30 WOD today, or the 5:30PM…” But it’s not in my schedule. It’s not part of my routine. And you know what happens? I never go in the afternoons. Do you ever say, “Oh, I’ll workout at some point today…” and then actually do it? (Maybe if you’re a coach and you’re already in Midtown or at CrossFit 405 South.)
This doesn’t just apply to your workouts. Scheduling any important tasks helps you stay focused and on track throughout the week. Jenna Wetzel (winner of the Spirit of the Open award in Norman) said she spends focused planning time on Sunday making a list of things to accomplish during the week.
“Scheduling my week is everything,” Jenna said. “That way, all I have to worry about Monday through Friday is going to the gym and going to work.”
Can you imagine? Using mental effort for only two things… they say your willpower depletes as you use it throughout the day. So, if you’re using all your willpower trying to plan and organize and accomplish your everyday life—how much resolve will you have leftover to make yourself workout? Eliminate that problem and plan ahead! (Or WOD first thing in the morning so you never have to think about it. Just wake and do.)
“I got clarity around my schedule.” –Lee Cockerell
This is the big one.
Take a look at your life and decide what’s really important. Think about how much time you spending running around, telling people how busy you are…then think about what you actually do with your time. Don’t just think about it—write it down. What do you spend your time on? How much of your efforts are wasted? Is there something you can let go altogether?
Often, we let urgent things get in the way of important things. Our own misunderstandings of “need” pull us in different directions, usually away from the few things we actually need to do. For Kristen Campbell, prioritizing her schedule meant knowing when to be “selfish” and workout so she could perform at her best.
“I realized that I may have to tell people ‘no’ to dinner, or let go of something at home because I deserve that time for me,” Kristen said. “It’s healthy and good for me, and I’m a better person when I feel good about myself.”
Amen. You may have groceries to buy, or a car to clean, but like Kristen said, those things will be there when you get back. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t properly take care of everything else in your life. Whether that’s your job, your house, or your family.
Take stock of your priorities, schedule time for what’s important, and stop worrying about everything else. After that, announce on the CrossFit 405 and CrossFit 405 South Facebook groups when you’ll be WODing so your Norman and Midtown buddies can call you out when you’re a no-show. 😉
-Chandler Neal, Norman’s newest “adulter.”