Recently, I have started a series on my Facebook page entitled, Can We Just Not... *Fill in the Blank*.  Each video, I try to break down non-constructive, and sometimes flat-out destructive, thought patterns and behaviors. This past week, I did a video called Can We Just Not...Be So Reactive.

I truly believe that the antidote of reactivity is intention. And, in case you’re unclear what I mean when I use the term “reactivity,” I am talking about the overwhelm that comes from feeling out of control or like you aren’t able to stay on top of things in your day or effectively interact with the people involved in your day-to-day life. I believe reactivity is a huge blocker to productivity, personal satisfaction, as well as fitness and wellness goals. How are you able to prioritize yourself when you are expending all of your energy just trying to get from one moment to the next?

You can’t.

This is when intention comes into play. You have got to get intentional! And the most effective way to do this is to take some time each morning to focus on what your intentions are for the day. So let me give you a sample case study.

Subject: Working mom with three kids, one who is still in daycare and two who are involved in activities. One of whose activities involves day-long tournaments each weekend. Let’s just refer to her hypothetically as “Every Mom Everywhere.”

Current Situation: Wakes up at 6:30 every morning. Gets two oldest to the bus by 7:30, drops youngest at daycare at 7:45, commutes, works from 8:30-5:00, commutes, picks up kiddos, dinner, homework, baths. This also includes activities two nights a week. Saturday is busy with a tournament from 9-4. Sunday involves grocery shopping, laundry, etc.

Goal: To eat healthier and exercise.

Solution: She needs to make time for herself by being intentional, prioritizing and taking care of herself so she can take care of others. It’s not the easy solution but it is the most worthwhile!

Let’s be real, though, just reading about her current situation is overwhelming. And there isn’t even mention of her marriage and making time for her partner! Or friends! Or extended family! What if she is caring for a sick parent? How about the day-to-day tasks of being a parent like parent/teacher conferences or recitals, the school fundraiser, etc. Oooh-weee! How does someone in this situation possibly find time for herself to eat healthier and exercise?!

My solution may seem unrealistic given her circumstances. And I agree with you that there is no way she can do all she needs to do in a given day AND be healthy and fit. She cannot possibly do all the things on all the days.  Because...spoiler alert...nobody can! This is when that morning practice of being intentional comes into play

So, here is a six step morning routine that will help our hypothetical “Every Mom Everywhere” reach her goal of eating healthier and exercising.

1. Start each day with setting the intention of how she wants to show up.

2. Prioritize the three most important things she needs to do in a given day.

3. Focus solely on those three things.

4. Think about how she wants to do those three things.

5. Schedule those three things.

6. Do those three things.

In the case of our hypothetical “Every Mom Everywhere,” this might look like setting an intention on Monday morning of 1. packing a lunch and snacks for the day so she’s not grazing or eating on the fly 2. going for a walk on her lunch break 3. focusing on patience. So, on that Monday, nothing else is more important than sticking to her food plan at work, moving during her lunch break and practicing patience with herself, her children, her partner and any other to-do. This is a whole lot more manageable than attempting to do fifteen things to cultivate her health and wellness. THREE things. This is realistic.

It is also realistic to know that this will take effort. The reality is this “Every Mom Everywhere” may have to be to get up a half hour early to be able to focus on how she wants to show up in the world.  But my hope is that she knows making time matters and that those thirty minutes will allow her to take back control. Those thirty minutes are not spent reacting to her children or her partner or any other person in real life or on social media. The thirty minutes are invaluable to getting her mind right and figuring out what is most important for her on that one given day.

The healthy meals aren’t just going to appear.

She isn’t going to just “find” time to workout

Vital down-time she needs has to be scheduled.

Saying no to the overwhelm means saying yes to herself.

To yourself.

Do you have the courage to prioritize yourself and become intentional?