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I don’t have time to go to the gym.
I don’t have time to cook tonight.
I don’t have time to make breakfast.
I don’t have time to food journal.
I don’t have time to take a walk.

What don’t you have time for?

How many time have you uttered a similar phrase?

How many time did you let yourself off the hook after saying it?

Now, try saying this to yourself…

Working out is not a priority.
Cooking a healthy dinner is not a priority.
Eating breakfast is not a priority.
Watching what I eat is not a priority.
Taking a walk break is not a priority.

Does it put things in a different perspective for you?

Instead of saying “I don’t have time” try saying “it’s not a priority,” and see how that feels. Often, that’s a perfectly adequate explanation. I have time to iron my sheets, I just don’t want to. But other things are harder. Try it: “I’m not going to edit your résumé, sweetie, because it’s not a priority.” “I don’t go to the doctor because my health is not a priority.” If these phrases don’t sit well, that’s the point. Changing our language reminds us that time is a choice. If we don’t like how we’re spending an hour, we can choose differently. -Laura Vanderkam

I’ve kind of talked about this before when someone asked me how I stay organized (hint: I don’t.) I refer to it as making things “non-negotiable.

Here’s the thing…

YOU decide what’s on your non-negotiable list. YOU decide what’s a priority.

You know that, right?

  • Kristen Pierce

    I agree. Between kids and working outside of the home full time, prioritizing is a key. As a result of my prioritizing, I have not seen a TV show (besides a few big athletic events such as the world series) in years. For me, running (about 45 miles a month) and reading are the the two things I have prioritized to do for myself. I do serve my kids healthy meals, but they are far from my ideal — a common weekday meal might be hard boiled eggs, cut up cucumber, an apple and maybe some bread. Not the type of meals I grew up on, but healthy nonetheless. In order to prioritize, I have had to scale down my career aspirations (I still work hard and about 45 hours a week, but work is less important than it once was), and give up other things that are less important to me.

  • lisa price

    Great post!

  • Paula

    I like it!

  • Rhonda

    This is a great post – and just what I needed to hear!

  • Jacqui

    That’s a great way to change the way you perceive what you’re saying. I saw a similar hint in a book I was reading. It goes like this…. each time you go to put something in your mouth that you really shouldn’t be eating, talk to your food. You say: “I can choose to be healthy, or I can choose to eat this. I choose to eat this.” And then do it. Wow. It makes you think!

  • Laura Jane

    So true! I’ve tried very hard to eliminate the phrase “I don’t have time” from my vocabulary. It really does making a difference and puts me back in control instead of “time.”

  • nancy

    I have time for all the above but my apartment looks a mess. I walk as much as possible now. I am always searching for new recipes and food to eat but this can get me into trouble like the Riceworks crisps I found Sweet Chili & Sea Salt/Sesame. I am out of these and will not buy any for awhile (I hope–LOL).
    Things are working well and I am afraid to change anything until I hit a plateau.
    Thanks for all the time you give!

  • Karen Jaffe

    Great post! I just got the chance to read it because being online is no longer a “priority” since I started working full-time :-) I remember when I was having trouble making the time to exercise and how empowering it was to finally admit that I could make the time by getting up earlier in the morning, but I wasn’t willing to do that. Taking your control back changes everything! Thanks for the reminder.


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