For the longest time, women have been designated as caregivers. Taking care of their community, taking care of their family, taking care of everyone but themselves. When images of “career women” started to emerge, women who began to put themselves first were labeled as selfish. Then the idea that women can have it all started popping up. You know the one I’m talking about, graduate with a masters degree, full-blown boss babe career woman, who also takes care of the three kids and the dog, is a loving wife, and goes the extra mile to go to every single school talent show oh and she also works out, drinks plenty of water and eats balanced meals….I am sure there are some incredible women who are like this, but I also know some pretty incredible women who DO NOT fit this description. Whether we have kids or not, whether we are in school full time or have multiple jobs, it is clear that prioritizing ourselves and our health is a challenge. I am not saying that life's challenges give us an excuse to skip our workouts or to eat unhealthy 24/7; I just want to point out that there are plenty of hills to climb for us when we make our health a priority. So, for those boss babe superwomen who need a little help prioritizing their fitness and health, these six tips are for you.
1. Create Non-Negotiables
Certain things in life are non-negotiable—life’s big red boxed, triple highlighted to-do’s. How we prioritize and palace value on things in life is interesting. Most of the time, we say, “ Oh, I can’t do x, y, or z…” but in reality, we mean that “ X, Y, Z is not a priority.” When something or even someone is a priority in our life, we create those “red boxes” or those “non-negotiables.” So how can we create non-negotiables that facilitate our health and fitness? First, we must realize that we can not excel in any other part of our lives if we do not take care of our physical and mental health. When we prioritize our health and fitness, it will help support us in every aspect of our lives. For example, my non-negotiables in relation to prioritizing myself are;
- I have to get at least 30 min of movement a day. I treat those 30 minutes like an important doctor’s appointment or an important work meeting.
- I have to drink at least 80z of water a day ( that’s two of my Hydro Flask bottles). If I don’t, I can’t have coffee the next day.
- I have to spend 15 minutes outside. I work from home and am at my computer alllll day long. I start getting anxious if I am in one spot for too long. And I know I am not productive at all if I am indoors for too long. So I schedule my “outside time.”
Find what helps you be the most productive, healthy self and block those events and those times in your day. Is it eating something green every day?
2. Prioritize your day
Okay. So we have settled on our non-negotiables. What is the best way to make sure we stick to these non-negotiables? It can help to spend some time prioritizing your day. I like to make daily to-do lists. I draw a line in the middle of the paper, and on one side, I have a “must do” and a “can-do” list. On the must-do list, I write down my non-negotiables. For example;
- Write two blog posts
- Clean bathroom
- Workout at least 30 min a day
- Go to the grocery store to restock on veggies.
- Think of a new blog to write.
- Make fabulous dinner
- Book hotel for Big Sur
I like having the must-do and can do because even though these are still tasks on my to-do list, I don't feel as bad if I don't get to the can-do list. I make sure to prioritize my workouts and make sure I have nutritious foods, so I put that on my must-do list. Once I have set a hierarchy in my to-do list, I think of a daily timeline. I know that the afternoons are when I am less creative and less able to focus on the computer, so I like to workout in the evenings because I can shut off my brain and just move my body. I know that my mind starts getting all over the place, and I get anxious before bed sometimes, so I like to meditate 10 min before bed. To break up my day, I like to go grocery shopping around lunchtime. This is just an example of how I prioritize my day; your day will most definitely look different. But by prioritizing tasks and times in your day, you can give yourself the best shot at sticking to habits that support your health and fitness.
3. Build Habits
Speaking of habits…. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going” We all want to believe that we will be struck by motivational lighting. While at times this is, in fact, the case ( like when you get a cute new sports bra and you can’t wait to go workout), motivation is not always enough to keep us going when things start getting tough. So while motivation is always a great way to get started in working out more or eating healthier, or getting more sleep, what will help us actually follow through with these healthy actions is developing habits. These habits don’t have to be BIG acts; in fact, it’s always best to start small. For example, something as simple as placing your workout clothes right by your bed so that you immediately see those and are anticipating working out. Another small habit is keeping yourgreensand a glass of water out the night before so that when you wake up, you see it and immediately drink up. Making things as easiest and convenient is how we begin to build habits. And over time, these small acts start building so that it becomes so natural we don’t even question making our health a priority.
4. Hold Yourself Accountable
Okay, so we created our non-negotiables, we prioritized our day, and we are making healthy habits. And just how we can build healthy habits, we can develop unhealthy habits too. When this is the case, we often need to be held accountable of our actions. Figuring out ways to hold yourself accountable or finding people that will help hold you accountable. Finding a community of people who are all prioritizing their health, or like you, making an effort to do so will be able to give you the extra push to keep you going. They can offer support and serve you honest feedback. Even then, it can be easy to fall down the cracks of life. It is strongly encouraged to joina groupor even start your own little group!
Working out and eating healthy can often feel a little blah… but it’s not because eating, working out, and eating healthy is boring; you might just need variety. You need to play! Do something silly, something creative, something out of the ordinary. Make a new recipe, go hiking, play in the dirt, and have workout dance parties. We often view our health and fitness as something so serious, but serious and important don’t have to be the same thing. Health and fitness and getting strong are important, but it can be fun too! And when it’s fun, we are more likely to keep doing it, keep making it a priority and keep showing up.
6. Keep showing up
Last but not least, life is HARD. Life is CHAOTIC. Life is … well, LIFE. It can feel exhausting trying to keep up with life. It can feel exhausting, making your health and fitness a priority. And to be honest, we won’t always succeed in doing so. We won’t always get that workout in or sleep those 8 hours.
Here’s the thing, we won’t always get it right, but just because we are not always on our health and fitness A game… the mere fact that we are trying to make our health a priority is worth being celebrated.
We won’t always get it right, but one of the most impactful steps we can take to prioritize our health is to keep showing up. One day at a time, keep showing up, keep working to be that 1% better.