The Power of 30 Minutes

A few months after I welcomed my third child into the world, I decided it was time to get back in shape. I had gained a whopping 40 pounds during my pregnancy, which seems to be the norm for my poor five-foot two-inch frame. I also worked full-time. Needless to say, by month seven or eight, the idea of taking a walk around the block after dinner was about as appealing as a root canal.

Normally I’m active, but I’ve never been great at sticking to a workout routine. I had a long list of excuses I could share, but ultimately it boiled down to my top two. Number one was time. Carving time into my hectic schedule seemed impossible.

The number two excuse had to do with expectations. Oftentimes, I would get frustrated because I couldn’t live up to my own expectations. Track record shows that if I couldn’t lose the weight quickly, my brain would decide the program must be faulty. Secondly, if I couldn’t complete the work out I expected to for the day, I would feel like it was pointless.

After the birth of number three, I became a stay-at-home mom for the first time. I decided my top excuses were null and void with my new life and that I would begin anew. I’m a busy mom, but I decided no more excuses!

I perused the web for a fun exercise program. I found the perfect one that involved dance, a coach with a fabulous accent, fun music and the promise of a terrific bootie. What more could a gal ask for?

In addition to my new exercise program, I decided I would have a better attitude and reset my personal expectations. I used to find it discouraging when I needed to switch gears before I was ready, or stop something that I told myself I would complete. In order to avoid this personality quirk, I readjusted my expectations. I assured myself that I would be okay with 10 or 15 minutes of exercise, even if I planned for 30, because it was better than none at all.

My plan was 30 minutes of exercise a day, four days a week. I could always add more days or time, but I would be satisfied with 30/4. A few months later, I was in better shape than I had been in years. I felt terrific and my Brazilian dance moves had improved tremendously!

There were many days when my 30 minutes were cut short and weeks when I worked out less than planned. I was okay with that because I set realistic expectations and kept plugging along no matter what. My new plan worked!

Then my wheels started turning. What else could I accomplish in 30 minutes a day? I never tried writing a novel. I thought that could be fun. Voilà! Three months later I’m typing the final pages of my first novel, surprising myself with the accomplishment.

What about learning Spanish? Voilà! Three months later, I speak perfect Spanish. Just teasing! My 30 minute breaks are limited these days and I’m now editing the novel I wrote, but I do spend some time on my Spanish almost daily and my language skills are improving.

I challenge you to find 30 minutes in your day and make something wonderful happen in your life this New Year. Look your excuses in the eye and tell them to take a hike. Come up with a plan that works for you, set realistic expectations so you don’t get discouraged and keep plugging along slow and steady. You will get there if you persevere. No one can make your dream happen but you.

“I am a great believer in Luck. The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have.” Coleman Cox.

Michelle Guerrero is a pre-published author of a young adult novel, freelance writer and sometimes blogger at