Exercise Compliance Secret #1: Prioritize Exercise Over Cleaning


People often ask me how the heck I fit exercise into my schedule. I have two children, aged 2 and 4. I have two part-time jobs, one as a Pilates trainer and the other as a freelance writer. I do not employ a babysitter or nanny. Like everyone else, I am busy. It is not that "badge on my sleeve look what I can accomplish" kind of busy. It is the exhausted kind. The kind that really would benefit from one less activity, one less responsibility, a little less stress. Nevertheless, a schedule devoid of free time is my reality, just as it is a difficult reality for many, many, people.

So how do I do it? Simple: I prioritize exercise over cleaning my house.

Here's my thinking: my house will never be clean or orderly enough, and trying to make it so is a huge time sink. I could spend hours picking up toys, making beds, washing clothes, washing dishes, sweeping the kitchen floor, dusting, and vacuuming the carpet. The list goes on and on. It never goes away. Just as soon as one task is marked off the list, two more get added. When it comes to cleaning, there is always something.

So I exercise first, because if I were to begin my day by trying to attack the cleaning and straightening of my house, I would get absolutely nothing else accomplished, ever. My house would surely look better, but what is the real gain over the years? To me, the exercise produces a better benefit: it keeps me healthier, it alleviates stress, it keeps my weight in check, it makes me feel better. These things allow me to be a better wife and a better mother. These things give me the energy to train clients and write articles every second I can find.

Certainly a clean house is important. I devote some time to cleaning and straightening every day. But I do this after I have exercised. Yes, this drives my husband crazy from time to time. It drives me crazy from time to time. But I know my priorities, and the cleaning will eventually get done, and if it really gets bad, I just may get my husband and kids to help me out a bit.

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