What are your excuses?
Yep. That’s right. I know you have them. (Ahem… we all do.) And getting to know your excuses on an intimate basis can help you identify them and make them actually work for you, motivating you to get out there and do it anyway. Yep, I’m serious, your excuses can help you.
They can be wily little suckers and they work hard to look like valid reasons. But they’re simply justifications and rationalizations for not doing something that scares us. Excuses help us stay in our comfort zone and keep up the status quo, which doesn’t help us out much when we’re trying to change and push our boundaries and grow.
But Amy (you say), you just stated above that my excuses can help me.
And so I did. Here’s how.
look in the mirror
Take a long, hard look at yourself and write out all the excuses you’re currently using (or have used in the past) for not working out (or eating better, or spending less money—whatever is important to your goals and visions).
Go on… be ruthless and brutally honest. And include the silly ones. Actually, especially include the silly ones. (They’re great at illustrating how resistant we can be to change and provide added motivation to push through.)
Let’s see what’s on your list. Did you miss any?
a case study: me
I’ll share some of mine: not enough time; too hot; too far away; I just ate; I haven’t eaten enough; I forgot my water; my workout clothes are still drying; it’s raining; I’m not in the mood; I have a headache; I’m sore from yesterday’s workout; I’ll start tomorrow (or Monday or next week); I don’t have enough money for the yoga class; I forgot my shoes; I prefer to run on trails (and they’re too far away); I overslept; I have too much work to do… and I could go on.
The fact is, there’s no reason why I can’t get out and run. It may not be on my ideal trail, at the ideal time, but I can get out there. I’m not going to melt in the rain. Looking at some of the examples above, they might seem reasonable. If I don’t have shoes, running barefoot could be painful or cause injury.
However, seeing these excuses in writing prompts the bigger (more important) questions: “what can I do to remind myself to bring my shoes?” or “How did I miss putting my shoes in the car in the first place?” “Is there a part of me that didn’t want to run?” And if so, “what’s going on?”
I love running. I love the way it feels. I love the way I feel when I’m on the trail and when I’m done. I love the after effects. I experience more emotional stability and am generally happier after a run. I have races I’ve signed up for and a huge running goal that’s beginning to take shape for next year (that I need to begin training for now). Yet my excuses are many. My reasons make sense in the moment.
what’s going on?
In short: I’m scared. Fear is a common underlying factor in resistance. Fear makes it easy to create new excuses (or keep the old ones). I’ve heard a lot of excuses. In climbing, the route might be too greasy, or maybe people are talking and it’s distracting you. Or maybe the bolts aren’t placed “exactly so.”
Some folks don’t like to sweat. Others prefer to have a matching outfit on when they go to the gym. They don’t have the right clothes.
They, as with me, are likely scared.
Our fears are different for everyone. For me, after giving it some thought, I’m scared of being slower and more out of shape than I was a year ago. I took time off running and now it’s time to start again. I’m also scared of this big goal I have. I’ve been talking about it and now it’s time to get serious. If I commit to the goal, there’s a lot of work ahead. A lot of training and some sacrifices I’ll have to make. Am I ready for all that?
so now what?
Take a look at your list of excuses. Read them aloud to yourself. Share them here if it helps.
What comes up? Is there an underlying resistance?
A lot of times, just knowing why you’re resisting helps push you through. Seeing it on paper or saying it out loud can bring it to the surface and allow us to make a conscious choice as to whether or not we’re going to continue to resist or not. (And more often than not, once we know what it is that’s keeping us stuck, it’s much easier to get unstuck. And frankly, it rarely is as scary as it seemed at first.)
Now, take each excuse and come up with two reasons countering that excuse. The positive reasons. The reasons that relate to, and align with, your original goal and visions for WHY you want to do it in the first place. (Go back to your fitness definition if you need to.)
Remember? I thought so. Now go enjoy your run (or climb, or hike…). I’ll see you on the trails.
If you’re new here, welcome. I’m delighted you stopped by.
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