Below are a few ways you can incorporate daily exercise into your routine as well as find time to cook healthy meals at home.

It can be tough to get into shape. Especially if you haven’t focused on you in a while. The pounds may have packed on, the clothes may have gotten bigger, your self-esteem may have dropped. You may have let yourself go, but it is never too late to start the daily exercise and make an effort to focus on you again.

But I just don’t have time,” you might say. And I might say “That is victim talk.” What I mean by that is, yes it can be extremely difficult in the hustle of 21st Century life to find time for daily exercise, but you are only thinking in terms of an actual workout.

You are thinking of spending 30 minutes jogging around the park (you have a lunch period, right?) or a dedicated hour to go to the gym. “Don’t be a victim.Find a solution. You may be at work the majority of your day, but that does not mean you have no time.

You might say something like: “I don’t have time to cook.” This is an excuse to eat fast food every day, and not a very good excuse at that. Again, we cram so much into our days that it seems like there are not enough hours in the day.

The truth is, if we had more hours, we would just cram more into them. You cannot use this excuse if you truly want to focus on you again. This scenario just shows a lack of planning. Below, I discuss several ways you can incorporate exercise into your daily routine while helping you find time to cook healthy meals.

1. Slow Down to Speed Up

It all starts with planning. You need to Slow Down to Speed Up. Slow Down enough to plan out your daily exercise routine. Slow down to determine when you can cook your meals. Prepare everything you need ahead of time; make sure you have all of the ingredients you need before starting to cook, make sure you have the workout equipment you need with you.

Slow down to see if you need to cook all of your meals for the week in one day, as many people do, or if you need to prepare the next day’s lunch the night before. Either choice will depend on the activities you have scheduled, and meal preparation may not occur at the same time each night.

It does not have to. You can have different times each day, as long as you are cooking your meals ahead of time so you are not rushed the next morning.

Slow down and look at your day. When can you fit exercise into your day? I already hinted at using your lunch period to work in some jogging. You can do anything you want in the 30 minutes or hour you are allotted for lunch.

There are a plethora of workout videos on YouTube and other sources. Can you use these to your advantage? Absolutely! Most are 20 to 30 minutes long, so they can work perfectly.

If you can bring in some small equipment to the office, then do so. You can add variety to your 30-minute regimen by using dumbbells or other equipment. If not, make use of the furniture and walls, any resource you have at your disposal. The point is, there is time.

And what about actually eating? Don’t be afraid to eat at your desk. Multitask. Your body needs daily exercise more than a dedicated time to sit some more.

2. Put the Phone Down

How much time do you spend texting friends? How much time do you waste on social media? According to research, the average amount of time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media sites is 135 minutes!

That is 2 hours and 15 minutes! Over two hours of seeking social acceptance, watching cat videos, and following the lives of people we have no connection to.

What can you do in those 2.25 hours that would prove productive? Could you cook a couple of meals? Get in a workout? Of course, you could. Even if this time is broken up over the course of a day, that is the time you could still use towards working on yourself.

How much of that social media surfing do you do while at work? Instead of keeping up with the celebrities, take that time to squeeze in some exercise. Those five minutes you spend scrolling would be better spent doing some squats or pushups.

And your boss would probably appreciate you spending those five minutes getting healthier rather than looking at memes. You have to look at your time incrementally, and the use of your cell phone for texting and social media is the biggest incremental time-eater in your life. Reduce your use for a better you.

3. Don’t Forget Your Mind

We’ve talked about ways to fit exercise and meal prep up until now. You cannot forget to take time out for your brain as well. Your mental state will determine how effective your time management efforts are.

It will also set your motivation levels. If you are not motivated to eat healthier, then you will continue going through the drive-through; you will not make the effort to improve your fitness degree.

Use part of those 2.25 hours from social media skimming to set aside some time to relax your mind. I do not mean to veg for five hours bingeing your favorite show on Netflix. Drown out the stresses of your busy day with some music or reading.

Or even writing. Blogging about your fitness efforts can actually be very therapeutic for the mind, releasing your frustration and stress. By telling people about the steps you are taking to make a better you, you will develop a support group that will encourage you to succeed, keeping your mental state strong.

Finding free stock fitness images to enhance your blog can be enjoyable and encouraging as well. They can give you a visual goal to aim for. So do not tell me, “I don’t have time.” You do have time. You just have to actually look for it, and once you do you need to make use of every minute you can.

Slow down and plan. Stay off the phone. Keep your mental state positive. Do these three things and you will find time to shape a new you.

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