. . . you have to figure out a way to incorporate it into the natural flow of your day--if you expect to have any success at all, that is.
You wake up, get out of bed, and drag a comb across your head--and hurry through traffic to your job. You work 8 hours plus lunch, then scramble through traffic again on the return trip home. You pick up kids from school and the daycare, run to the bank before it closes and the grocery store for milk which you just remembered is nearly empty in the fridge. There is perhaps a quick trip to the doctors office or auto body shop somewhere in the middle of all this, or a return trip to pick up something your kid left behind somewhere that he urgently needs for class tomorrow. You go home and grab dinner. By that time, it is 7:00, you are at the end of your energy, and it's time to pack everyone back up again and go to the gym. Whew!
Headache, sickness, unexpected errands or the slighted provocation and you'll be ditching your excursion to the gym. In such an environment, exercise is superimposed on a lifestyle and it is completely extraneous. It will be the first thing to go when the scales are tipped and your to-do list increases by even the slightest bit. You'll be lucky to hit the gym once a week under these conditions. And let's not even factor in time for rest and relaxation.
Some people are able to find time for the gym despite all distractions, but for many of us, it just ain't gonna happen this way. It takes a colossal effort to force it into your lifestyle when your lifestyle is set up this way. You may end up disappointed in yourself when really the deck was seriously stacked against you and you only had a small margin for success to begin with.
I spent a semester in Spain in college. Me and a buddy lived with a family about a mile out of town. We quickly learned that taking the bus was going to be too costly and saved it for only the rarest of occasions. We had to walk to class and return to town anytime we wanted to shop or go out socially. We walked a few miles every day, and that doesn't count the many more miles walked on weekend excursions around the country.
And we walked. Rain? We walked. Tired? We walked. Blisters on our feet? Walked. Sick? You guessed it. Didn't feel like walking? We. Still. Walked. And walked and walked. We had to!
Walking is often thought of an old person's exercise. However, walking became a nearly religious experience for my friend and me, and we were 22-year old men. We absolutely loved it. Once we got into shape, we looked forward to it. On the rare occasions when we took the bus, we noticed how irritable we were and how unsatisfying the day was without our morning and afternoon walks.
Yet, the moment walking was not absolutely essential, we dropped it. We had every intention of maintaining the habit once we got back to America. After a few attempts, we both let it slip away and quick. Despite our conditioning and intense love for walking, it got put off when it no longer fit into the normal flow of the day back in America.
So do what you can to make sure that exercise is integrated into your day in a natural way. You won't need to force yourself, because sheer necessity will do that for you. Set yourself up and make the planning easy on yourself. Live within walking distance to your favorite stores or within a safe bike ride to work. Don't allow yourself too many modern conveniences when you could be getting valuable motion and exercise. Put your Exercycle in front of the TV, not in some out-of-the-way corner of the basement. Any other ideas?
Design your day with exercise in mind. Make exercise an essential part of your normal activities--then you won't have to tack on additional time for it. You also will have great success doing it--you'll have to!