Last month one of the great thinkers of our time, Stephen Covey, passed away. He was 79 and died due to complications following a bike accident.

His most influential book is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I read it when I was in university and I wish I could recall who suggested I read it because it has had a huge impact on my life.

While each of his seven habits are important, here I want to focus on his fourth habit, which he called “Put First Things First”. Covey felt this habit was so important that he created another book just on this habit. From there he created a company based on the time/ life management system that this fourth habit is all about.

What does all of this have to do with exercise and healthy living you ask? It has everything to do with it.

The idea behind “Put First Things First” is that we should organize our days and lives around the things that are most important. These are things that are not normally urgent but are very important. Things like proper planning, prevention, recreation, building relationships, seeking out new opportunities and – you guessed it – exercise.

The idea is that we need to schedule these things first to ensure that they get done. Otherwise, other things will get in the way and the most important things will not get done. Time is one of the biggest excuses I hear at my studio from people who need to realize that unless they schedule exercise first and others things around it, exercise will never happen.

I love it when people tell me they are busy. Really? How busy are you? The people I know who work full time and have kids find time. What keeps you so busy? Sometimes it is comical the way some people think they are so much busier than everyone else.

The bottom line is that if you do not make your health a priority you are rolling the dice with your life and the lives of the people who depend on you.

Make the decision to “Put First Things First” and schedule exercise into your daily routine. I don’t care what you have to give up to make this happen. Nothing is more important than your health. Don’t wait until it is too late.

A special thank you to Stephen Covey for the influence he has had on me and millions of others.