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5 Ways to Make Time for Healthy Habits

Free up time to make your goals a reality. Doing that can be straightforward: You decide what you truly want and prioritize your life around it. When you do that, fitting in healthy habits to reach your goals happens naturally.

Track Where Your Time Flies

For a day or two, keep a journal. Write down what you do and what time you do it, in real time. Example – Stayed an extra hour at work, 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Then, evaluate. Does anything surprise you? Snoozing longer than you thought? Maybe that’s an extra 10 minutes of found time. Staying late at work consistently? Perhaps you can leave on time and have more minutes to make a healthy dinner.

Sometimes, free time won’t jump out at you so easily. So take a close look and ask yourself:

  • What tasks take longer than they should?
  • Do I push my priorities aside to do things that seem urgent but are really less important?
  • What am I doing that someone else should be doing? What can I say no to?

Be a Task Master!

Highly successful people often have very short to-do lists. Most people overestimate what is realistic to get done in a day. Set clear priorities at the start of each day, so you know what you need to finish by the end of it.

When you create your to-do list, pretend you only have about 80% of the time you think you do to get it all done. That can keep you from overloading yourself.

Write down everything that “should” get done. Then edit it down to only the top few -- make sure they include your health goals. Make your final number doable. Move things you know you won’t get to today to another day. That’s perfectly OK!

Cut Yourself Some Slack

Spending hours picking the perfect font for your PowerPoint presentation? Or stressing over whether your toddler's clothes match?

Focus on completion, not perfection. You just might uncover a little more time for your healthy habits.

Head to Bed Earlier

Even though you want to have more time in your day, it's important to get enough sleep, too. When you don't get enough shut-eye, it hurts your decision-making abilities, and makes you more likely to binge-eat and less likely to work out.

So the time you might take from your day to put toward your sleep gives you more than you lose.

Sleeping at least 7 hours a night leads to better and longer workouts, according to the Sleep Disorders Center at Northwestern University in Chicago. Enough sleep helps with memory, coordination, and mood, too.

To pinpoint habits that keep you up later than you want, check out your time log. Are you watching TV from 9 p.m. until midnight? Surfing the web?

Whatever it is, put a limit on it.

Here's a tip: Save 10 minutes out of every 30 minutes of TV by watching them on DVR and zooming past commercials. Watch three shows a night? You've just banked 30 minutes for some healing Zzzzs.

Be Early to Rise

People have the ability to make wiser choices in the morning than other times of day, according to research.

Mornings are a great time to get things done, before other things from your day intrude and pile up. Plus, you start the day with a big checkmark on your to-do list.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on November 20, 2013

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