Idle hands are the devil’s tools.
This quote has been used for generations to describe why children get into trouble.
Any parent will tell you how important it is for their kids to be involved in something outside of the normal, 8-4 school day.
Whether it’s sports, music, theater, or academic related, keeping busy is a simple and effective way to improve your overall performance.
There is a reason why so many lottery winners turn to drugs, alcohol, and other vices – and often end up bankrupt and desolate after winning enormous sums of money.
With time to do anything you please, you will be tempted to make poor choices.
This is extremely common in the fitness landscape as well.
There’s no better time.
The perfect time to make solid, measurable strides in fitness is when you are incredibly busy.
Hunger is your mortal enemy when on a diet. If you can minimize and control your hunger, your odds of dietary success increase significantly.
Hunger is also impossible to eliminate. To an extent, it will always be present when dieting. Even the most skilled dieters feel hunger at times.
The simplest way to make hunger bearable is to ignore it. Becoming stoic and “uncaring” in the face of hunger allows you to conquer your hunger effectively.
How do we ignore hunger?
By immersing ourselves in our daily activities to the point where the hunger doesn’t even register into our consciousness.
Think you’re too busy to focus on your fitness?
The first step is to schedule some “you” time. This can always be done. It may be a pain to find a babysitter for your kids or wake up before the sun comes up, but it’s always possible.
Some of the busiest people in the world carve out an hour each day to train. Surely you can as well.
After this first step is complete – and you have your training time set up and your meals planned – the next step is to fill every other second with activity.
Become so busy you don’t have time to think about your diet or your training. Don’t skip them – continue to execute your plan – but don’t obsess over them.
Stop staring at the marshmallow.
If you find yourself with significant chunks of free time, here are some tried and true methods of filling your time and making the days roll by with ease.
Pick up extra shifts at work.
This is especially helpful for you if you work an hourly job. The extra shifts will translate into extra money, making this a win-win situation.
Take it from a teacher – dieting is more difficult when you’re working less. Dieting in the summer (when I’m on break) is brutal. Dieting during the school year (when I’m at work) is a breeze.
Work through your lunch break.
Skipping your lunch break, or eating while you’re working, sounds almost taboo. Nobody wants to do this. We view our lunches as sacred times to gossip, talk with others, be slaves to our smartphones, and browse the internet.
In other words, we spend an hour being unproductive and harming our professional morale.
Eat your sandwich while on the job. If your lunch break is mandatory, find something to fill your time that is positive in nature. Do a puzzle, read a book, or start a blog on your laptop.
You’ll grow from the extra hour of work, and you’ll be less tempted to dine out and make a poor choice.
You might think having kids would be a terrible time to work on yourself. Many parents gain weight post-birth. Men and women alike tend to let themselves go a bit when taking care of a newborn.
There is no justifiable reason for this.
You will get less sleep, you will be more tired, and it will take some planning.
There are a number of positive fitness benefits to having children:
- Going to the grocery store and meal prepping will feel like a vacation when compared to changing diapers.
- You won’t want to dine out for years, making it easier to eat your meals at home.
- You will have motivation to be a positive example and role model to your kids.
- Training may be the only “you” time you have. Cherish and enjoy it.
Re-frame your busy life as a parent. You won’t have nearly as much of a social life as you used to. Cut back on your drinking and partying, focus on yourself and your family, and set up positive habits which will help you moving forward.
Do your chores.
There are always chores to do.
The dog needs walking, the car needs a wash, the floors need cleaning, and the carpet needs vacuuming.
Get to work.
Bonus: A few hours of cleaning is a mild form of cardio. For extra fun, time yourself completing each chore. Write down the results. Next time, try to shave a few minutes off of your time.
Coach a sport.
If you don’t have children, you can still coach a sport.
What did you enjoy as a child?
Another option is to check your local school district’s websites. You’ll receive a modest paycheck for dedicating a few months out of the year towards coaching.
It’s a simple way to fill the time after work and before bed – which is the most difficult time period when dieting due to all of the temptations to snack.
Start a blog.
What’s your passion?
Sports? Finance? Lifestyle? Money? The Kardashians? Quilting?
Whatever your passion is – whatever you enjoy doing in your spare time – start a blog about it.
Learn to write.
Learning to write will allow you to growth in ways which cannot be quantified.
Writing about your favorite past time will barely feel like work.
Over time, you might even figure out a way to monetize your blog, which will add an additional revenue stream to your finances.
Read a book.
The genre is completely up to you.
Get lost in a fictitious world of warlocks.
Read self-help books to improve your life.
Peruse blogs and websites of popular online authors.
Writing and reading are like the yin and yang for your intellect.
Give each an effective dose in order to maximize your intelligence and gain a new perspective.
Get a hobby.
Just don’t let dieting be your hobby.
Play some video games, crochet a blanket, restore an old car, or take up bike riding.
Find a way to fill your downtime.
If you’re going to spend most of your day staring at the clock wondering when your diet will be over, your odds of success become diminished in a hurry.
The best tip for dietary adherence has nothing to do with macro ratios, micronutrition, or hydration.
To optimize your compliance, get busy and stay busy.
Your diet should be your background noise, not the main focus of your existence.
Yours in true health,