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Tips to Start Healthy Habits with a Busy Schedule


We often hear the phrase “Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day” and I think this is supposed to mean that we should all be able to create and/or find time in our day to exercise and eat healthy foods.  I do think this is true to an extent, but it is not accurate to say that “We all have THE SAME 24 hours in a day.” 

Everyone has 24 hours in the day to work with, but those hours are filled with a variety of different priorities, so the first thing to do to get yourself on track or to help yourself stay on track is to stop comparing yourself to other people.  We are all going to do our best with the time that we have and here are a few ways to help you do that:


  1. It can be easy to get into a mindself of “all or nothing.”  The mindset of feeling like if you don’t have a full hour to dedicate to exercise then you might as well just skip it altogether.  A 20 or 30 minute workout at home is better than not doing it at all.  Even a quick workout can help improve your mood and help you make progress towards your fitness goals.

  2. Small efforts add up over time.  Those 20-30 minute workouts might not seem like much, but if you are going from no workouts at all to a 20-30 minute effort everyday or even three times per week, that’s a big change over time.  

  3. Set yourself up for success.  You may have heard this one a million times, but it does work!  If you are trying to start a morning exercise routine, prepare as much as you can the night before, so you have no excuses.  Set your clothes out.  Prep your preworkout drink and food.  And start slowly.  If your regular wake up time is 7am don’t jump right into a 5am alarm and a full 60 minute workout.  Take a week to start waking up 20 minutes earlier and do a short workout to give your body time to adjust to a new routine.  The same goes for starting new healthier eating habits.  Give yourself time to make small changes, for example, set a daily water goal for yourself first.  Or try replacing two or three take out meals with home cooked meals.  Once you have established one healthy routine then work on the next.

  4. This is maybe the most difficult, and I am mostly speaking to the moms reading this, please remember that it is ok to take care of yourself first.  If you have to give your kids a screen and a snack for 20 minutes so you can workout or take time to prepare healthy food, it’s perfectly ok to do that.  And it’s especially ok to do that if you’re going to feel happier and more patient after a workout or be proud of yourself for having a healthy meal ready.


If you have questions about any of these tips or would like to learn more please reach out to one of your YMCA wellness coaches or personal trainers.  We are always happy to help!

Allyssa R., Sarpy YMCA Health & Wellness Director

Category: Health & Wellness
Image of Allyssa - YMCA Health & Wellness Director


Allyssa Ray is the Health and Wellness Director for the Sarpy YMCA.  She is a certified  personal trainer and group exercise instructor.  She started running more than 25 years ago in middle school track and cross country.  She has trained herself and completed 10 full marathons (one on a treadmill in the lobby of the Sarpy YMCA!), one ultra-marathon, and a bunch of half marathons and 10ks.  Her running adventures are always supported by her husband and three children!  If you are looking for help in getting started with a running career she would love to offer you guidance or even just be your cheerleader!