THE BLOG

When You 'Don't Have Time' -- Tips to Reach Your Health and Wellness Goals

06/11/2013 05:55 pm ET | Updated Aug 11, 2013

As a health and lifestyle coach, I've seen the devastation that can occur when people neglect their health and wellbeing by letting their to-do lists control their lives. So have you, I'm sure.

But consider this: How can you accomplish what you need to do, day in and day out, if you don't take adequate care of yourself? What is your "too busy" lifestyle doing to you right now -- and long-term? Will you be around long enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor and the people you love if you don't make time for your own needs?

In all too many cases, people find out too late that they've been driving themselves into serious physical, mental and emotional maladies, into fractured relationships, and even into early graves.

Transitioning to a healthier lifestyle can be challenging for working professionals and entrepreneurs because our everyday lives demand so much of us. So let me help you shift your mindset from "it's just impossible" to "I'm going to make this happen."

The following tips will position you for success as you work toward a healthier, happier life.

Vanessa's Top 3 Tips:

Plan Ahead. Do you find yourself saying "I wish I hadn't eaten that, but I'll work it off later" or "I try to eat healthy, but I'm constantly tempted and usually give in"? By planning your meals ahead of time, you're less likely to succumb to temptation while remaining in alignment with your health goals.

• Pick a day for grocery shopping; make a shopping list. Your shopping list should include ingredients from healthy recipes you've researched that support your specific health goals.
• Prepare your meals in bulk and refrigerate and freeze them accordingly. This saves you food prep time and eliminates the daily packing frenzy.
• Store items at your desk that pave your way to success: oatmeal, oat bran, nuts and seeds, natural sweeteners, dark chocolate (at least 70 percent cacao), bpa-free water bottle, and a superfood powder mix.
• If you travel a lot, be sure to pack the aforementioned items and visit local grocery stores to stack your mini bar with healthier options.

Get Moving. Often I hear people say, "I don't have time to work out." Just a heads up: that proclamation is 100 percent bogus. Think about the many times during the day when you're checking your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest pages. Ten to twenty minutes easily pass by. Or consider the time it takes you to get to an after-work spot for dinner and drinks with your co-workers. Alter your daily habits sufficiently to fit in the exercise and activity you need to get and stay healthy. You can do this. The question ... is will you? (C'mon, make the decision that leads you to your goal: a healthier, happier you!)

• Pick workouts you'll enjoy -- you're far more likely to stick to them. Try different workouts until you find the ones that float your boat.
• Start somewhere! Anywhere! Work your way up to what feels comfortable for you. You don't have to go gung-ho seven days a week. You may start out at 2-3 days a week and work your way up. Just do something positive for your health and wellness on a routine basis until it becomes a happy habit.
• Switch it up from time to time. Even if you find a workout you love, don't repeat the same routine day in and day out. You will stagnate your results over time because your body will get used to the exercise routine and will consume less energy.
• If you travel frequently, bring your favorite workout DVD or download your workouts to your favorite electronic device.

Take a Break to De-Stress. I promise you: it's ok to stop what you're doing for a few minutes to de-stress. Doing this helps clear your mind so you aren't driven to reach for that unhealthy donut (comfort food). Taking a break also helps you refocus and be more productive.

Being overly stressed and frustrated doesn't propel you to your goal; it does the exact opposite. You're never too busy to take a break so get over telling yourself you are. Try it! You'll love it -- after you get the hang of it.)

• Go for a quick walk while jamming to your favorite playlist.
• Sit down on the bench outside and simply take in the atmosphere and your surroundings.
• Play your favorite game on your phone (I love Wordfeud).
• Take a few minutes to read your favorite daily devotional or affirmations.
• Sit in silence and take a few deep breaths; relax!

Transitioning to a healthy life isn't easy but by incorporating small changes you will reap the benefits overtime. To achieve long-term success, try different healthy alternatives until you find ones your body likes.

Don't challenge yourself to lose the most weight you can within a specific time frame; your life is challenging enough. Set realistic expectations according to your lifestyle.

Refuse to put your mental, emotional and physical health last from here on out. After all, how can you be completely happy in any area of your life when you're not feeling robust, healthy and fully alive?

Vanessa Cunningham is a health & lifestyle coach and dynamic speaker based in New York City. She coaches women and children in how to move from "I can't" to a place of enthusiastic action so they can become healthier, more confident and able to take charge of their health and wellness. Trained in over 100 dietary theories, Vanessa creates customized plans for all her clients that are fun, sustainable and empower them to meet their goals. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and visit her at her website.

Check out her latest free video series: "How to Have Long-lasting Weight Loss Success" here.

For more by Vanessa Cunningham, click here.

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