Christmas: So much to do

Getting Fit: Competing demands

Christmas: So much to do

Christmas: So much to do

This is article 2 of my series 3 simple steps to becoming Fit2Thrive. The first step I introduced is, Play, which means makes sure that every day you find a space for pure joy and freedom, a space to just be yourself no matter what and feed your soul. There are just so many ways to do this in the life you currently have but are you taking advantage of even a few of them? Years ago I wasn’t but when I started making time to play my life just got better.


Christmas chaos

Christmas is always that crazy time isn’t it. For me this year the lead up to Christmas has involved:

  • my sons birthday
  • my wifes birthday
  • getting rid of the hottub
  • which led to removing the gate
  • which led to our dog getting loose through the temporary gate
  • which led to urgent DIY
  • All the other usual stuff working parents get up to
  • plus chasing my dreams by building this blog

Now that’s not too bad a list of stuff to have done and my life is continually moving in the right direction but it doesn’t mean I am always the picture of calm.


Step two is about handling all these competing demands, learning to both prioritise and direct your efforts to find and keep your balance.

Each situation is different so you need a little analysis and insight to figure out the solution. Right now I have just got past the twitches I normally get when I have too much on for too long. I used to think that was a problem but now I have noticed that it is as normal as soreness after a hard workout. Just an indicator you have pushed yourself hard. In this case it is a sign that nerves need rest just like muscles do though no one pointed that out in my sports science degree, or my psychology A level. I had to learn this particular lesson myself, funny that!!!

They also don’t tell you that excitement and fear are physiologically the same, your heart races, you get really alert, that kind of stuff and the difference is how you perceive the feeling of this physiological arousal. Sometimes you get excited, like I do before a tennis match or before a big presentation at work. Realising this excitement has affected my body helps me interpret the emotion in a positive way so it can help me. Knowing this about emotions gives me power over my life and influences the decisions I make.


A breath fo fresh air :-)

A breath of fresh air 🙂

So the second main reason most health and fitness programs fail is because they fail to take into account all the competing demands on your time. This is why so much of my focus is on appreciating how far you have come, so learn how to see signs of progress which helps you relax and priorities which is about figuring out what really matters to your success. It is so common to focus on irrelevant or less important things that make you feel bad.

My story about the lead up to Christmas is about me realising how much I have actually done aswell as helping me plan what I really need to do before christmas and what can wait. You see I have had my fair share of christmases where I turned up really tired which means grumpy or less than chipper and it was all through over work. That meant that I just ate for the sake of it because I was not ready to really enjoy the occasion. This year I am making more time for me so that I pace myself better and turn up to Christmas with the right attitude. You see, I can tell you lots about how to make christmas fun and healthy but it is critical that you turn up to it in the right frame of mind.

So as part of my efforts to maintain my balance I have combined this with step #1: play and popped to the pub during lunch to write this post and because I needed time to get perspective. I have wanted to write this post for days but either didn’t have the time or knew I needed some me time. When I came to write this post last night the words felt like too much effort because the story wasn’t clear in my head. Though I felt the pressure to publish because I want the 3 steps out well before Christmas so I can give you guys time to think, act and reflect.

Time is so often what you need and this morning I realised that the challenge of getting this campaign done in time and up to the standards I expect is the kind of challenge I am referring to, given how little time, energy and resource I can commit. The point is that you are in the same boat aren’t you because Christmas is just another date on the calendar where there are too many demands and too little time.

The beauty is that there are so many ways to deal with this common problem. I worked at a software house running project after project with the main aim of learning how to handle these competing demands. Right now the lesson I will share is about perspective. I go to the pub every so often at lunch to get some space and also for a walk. I get some needed steps to reach my daily goal but I also help my body heal itself. Gentle movement is like a massage because it gets nutrients to where they are needed and removes waste products. It’s the same for the brain which gets fed with more rich fresh blood and you also change the way your brain is activated for the duration of the walk giving a rest to the over used parts.

The picture above of fields and sky is the main reason I love walking, particularly in Milton Keynes because the beauty just puts me in a good mood, the smell of such fresh air invigorates me and my mood always lifts.  Even though it is now cold and wintry I always feel better when I take that time to go somewhere that will make me smile, both inwardly and outwardly. The double benefit is that is helps me get things done because you do better work when you are happy and motivated.

I hope this short piece helps, we all feel tired, stressed out and over whelmed, particularly in the lead up to christmas. This is one of the many things I am doing to enjoy the ride and make sure each day I have fun while I get stuff done 🙂

What is competing for your time?

What I really want to know is what things are competing for your time and energy at the moment?

  • Work
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Travel
  • House maintenance
  • Hobbies
  • Entertainment
  • Festivities (Christmas :-))
  • Anything else?

Let me know in the comments section below. Finding out how to turn a busy day into a health day while getting everything done is the kind of challenge I like. The first step though is just putting into words those things that compete for your time.

Have fun telling me what they are. If you don’t want to write them here then please drop me an email at or use the social options at the top of the page.

In the final part of this 3 part series I talk about creating memories

Photo credits: Christmas chaos courtesy of Evan Courtney, used under a Creative Commons license, Christmas on Mainstreet by Justin Brown

Comments 4

  1. Your list of tasks made me chuckle, but the point you make about realising what you’ve already done as well as what you still need to do is the one that really jumped out at me. Something I am trying to implement, not always entirely successfully!

    1. Post

      Tell me about it, realising what you’ve done is something most of us do badly. It doesn’t really come naturally to me. Though every time I have done so I have felt better which is why, after years and years, I really make a point of valuing what I have achieved.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. As ever – your post rang very true Col! Your list is pretty much identical to ours. I used to stay fit through doing the school / nursery run on foot – carrying child / children whilst walking the dog. Now Dave is doing that (on his bike – obviously no longer need to walk the poor dog!) and I’ve become completely sedentary whilst sat on the sofa working! Need to include opportunities for perspective – thinking time and gentle activity for sure. Have you ever encountered NEF’s Five Ways to Wellbeing by the way – 5 areas in which we achieve wellbeing in our day to day lives.

    1. Post

      Thanks Sarah,

      There is always so much to do isn’t there. It becomes so easy to get absorbed in whatever needs doing and just stay seated for hours, never moving, I end up finding reasons to get up off my butt and the more I do that the better I feel.

      I hadn’t heard of NEF Five ways to well being so thank you very much for sharing it looks really good and the evidence is pretty clear isn’t it. I found the details at

      What I find the biggest challenge is turned the clear evidence into action which is why I’m focusing on things you do every day. I have always believed that we are as designed for this modern era as any of the previous eras it is just that this is the first era where activity has been rare. We have always been forced to be active, so now we have the luxury of choosing how and when to be active.

      This report makes it clear that fun must come first because otherwise you will come up with reasons not to. It’s also why it is so important not to add just another task to the day but instead take one off.

      Thanks for sharing such a great reference I will definitely check it out further.


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