In the latest installment of her column, Meredith Atwood discusses the debate around every person having "the same 24 hours."
The “Same” 24 Hours
Melissa Hartwig (co-founder of Whole30 and New York Times best-selling author) and I had a wonderful conversation on my podcast last week and it centered around this question: Do we all REALLY have the “same 24 hours”?
Melissa and I “met” on Instagram after she posted a photo explaining her take on the concept of everyone having the “same 24 hours.” Needless to say, I heard about her post fairly quickly—because I have a podcast by that very same name—and it seemed like we were not aligned in our belief about this concept. However, like mature and amazing women do (if I do say so myself!), Melissa and I peeled back the layers of this “same 24 hours concept,” and we had an incredible dialogue.
Melissa frequently talks about our current “culture of fitspiration.” She saw a post where a “fitspiration” individual wrote: “We all have the same 24 hours, what’s your excuse?” Melissa went on to say in the podcast that, “You cannot, in an attempt to help someone, leave them with ‘we all have the same 24 hours’ like a mic drop. When I was going through my business split, my divorce and more—my 24 hours looked a lot different than it does now…If you really want to help people and motivate and inspire them, then you have to provide them with the tools. You have to share…and say ‘here’s what I did’ and ‘here’s what I do.’ You can’t drop this ‘work harder, get it done’ and that be it.”
We all do have the same number of hours in our day, but everyone’s day is not and cannot be the same. My day today is different from yesterday. My day is different from your day, which is different from your yesterday.
That being said, the sun rises and sets—and keeps going on and on. So how do we make the most of our 24 hours? That is the quest and that is the question.
But how do we find that magical “time” to go for a run? To work out? And to make everything else in our lives work? As a starting point, we can glean incredible inspiration, ideas and “life hacks” from women and men on social media who are willing to be vulnerable, share struggles and come forward with a helpful, authentic attitude about how they get through (and even thrive through) their tough times. (We can also drive ourselves insane with social media—so it’s a delicate balance.)
In my podcast, I speak with amazing individuals who have been through tough times and come out the other side stronger than ever. One question I ask is: “What is one thing that you do in your 24 hours that leads to your greater health, happiness and success?”
Interestingly, the vast majority of my guests—ranging from athletes to authors to musicians to entrepreneurs—have a daily gratitude, spiritual or meditative practice. Another group finds that their 24 hours are enhanced by taking time for themselves by reading or writing or spending time with those important to them. Finally, another group of guests attributes their daily 24-hour maximization to running or working out.
Awesome intel, but what do all of these things have in common?
Pure and simple, these commonalities are all the act of simple carving out of time for ourselves. Whether we take that precious sliver of time to read, hug our kiddos, run or write, we are saying, “Hey universe, I am worth this small splinter of time out of my 24 hours and I will then go forth with all the life tasks after I take care of myself.” When we say that, we make a real, tangible shift in our priorities. We take our 24 hours and we give it a new power.
This idea of taking care of ourselves by running or practicing self care is not selfish (even though some subsections of culture would love to make us feel that way). One of the greatest assets to our 24 hours is to do something kind or productive for ourselves—to begin to believe that we are worthy of health, happiness and success. If we don’t believe it (yet), we must work to build that foundational belief with every fiber of our beings.
So where can we start this journey? That’s the question, for sure.
But I find that a great place to start any quest for change often begins with a shiny new pair of running shoes.
Meredith Atwood (@SwimBikeMom) is a weekly contributor to Women’s Running. She is a four-time IRONMAN triathlete, recovering attorney, motivational speaker and author of Triathlon for the Every Woman. Meredith is the host of the hit podcast The Same 24 Hours, a show which interviews interesting people who make the best of the 24 hours in each day. Read more at SwimBikeMom.com.