Excuses (and How to Defeat Them)

We all have them. Excuses are all examples of “we are our own worst enemy/most difficult obstacle.” And it’s a particularly tricky situation because excuses are us passing up the blame for why our life isn’t the way we want it to be onto some other person, experience, or circumstance. However, there is a way to defeat them! The famous quote, “with great power comes great responsibility” is very applicable to you and your life.You are capable of making your life exactly what you want it to be. You have that power and, therefore, you have that responsibility.

The first thing you should do is write down your excuses. Go ahead and indulge yourself by coming up with every reason you can possibly think is a culprit responsible for sabotaging your diet, New Year’s resolution, cleaning schedule, organization of your closet, plan to cook through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and any other goal or plan you may have set. Then, really look at them and determine which is a legitimate reason or cause, and which is you justifying your lack of follow through. For example, if you’re not going on a run four days a week like you resolved to on New Years because you’re six months pregnant, that’s obviously legitimate. That’s okay. That’s good, even. But if you’re not going on your run because you’d have to wake up at 7 or 8 am and you like to stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning, that’s an excuse. If your run or goal is important to you, you will find a way to accomplish it.

Here are some of the most prominent excuses I have myself, and I know a lot of you can relate to several of them:

I don’t have time.
Ah, yes. Time. It is definitely the most scarce commodity in our world today. I go to school full time, work, and try to have a life. To many, this work and stress load would be a dream. I can’t imagine working full-time, putting effort into a marriage/partner relationship, raising children, planning (and paying for) a wedding, or anything else you crazy people have on your plates (sometimes all at one time!).

The way to defeat this excuse is to know that chances are you do have time. And also start with realistic goals. you may not be able to commit two hours at the gymn everyday, but the hour or two you spent catching up on your shows? I highly recommend you invest in a way to record them. If you want to get in better shape, record them and go to the gymn. Or, if you can’t or won’t have another time to catch up on them later, teach yourself to hoop dance while watching them (it’s what I do), invest in some dumbbells and lift while watching, do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks. 

If you’re trying to work towards incorporating a time of peace to meditate everyday – which is really important and so very beneficial – then commit to starting small. Our world is constantly moving, beeping, rushing, talking, and advertising. Start with five or ten minutes of quiet meditation a day. Turn your phone on silent in another room, turn off the TV, ask your partner to watch the kids. You can do anything for ten minutes. You’ll love it, too. If your goal is to say, cook more dinners at home, cut down on time for tomorrow’s meal by prepping during commercial breaks or watching on a TV in your kitchen if you have one. (my goodness, I could write a whole post on this topic itself!)

I’m not in the mood.
This one’s easy, but so difficult as well. The answer is: just do  it. Unless you’re sick or something – take care of yourself and recover. But if you push yourself to reach your goal, you will come out the other side feeling better about yourself, your capability, and your ability to complete other goals. Accomplishing a goal, meditation, and exercise all release endorphins, which make you happy. 

I’m not prepared.
Take steps in advance to prepare yourself! Keep a bag of spare gymn clothes and shoes in your car and just leave it there. When you have some time while you’re out, you’ll have everything you need to run to the gymn after class or work!

I don’t have the energy.
Push yourself. You can do hard things. You will have more energy after your work out. You will sleep better and have more energy tomorrow, as well. You will feel renewed and more calm after your mediation – which will aid in increased clarity of thought, better channeling of energy, and more restful sleep. However, also take notice and pay attention to what your body’s telling you. If you worked out hard yesterday, perhaps allow yourself a rest day. Turn down the phone for a few minutes once you’ve climbed into bed and get some peace and quiet that night. Honestly, it’s important to push yourself when you don’t feel like it, but if you’re sick or recovering or sleep deprived, pushing yourself may be counter-productive than allowing your body time to recover and heal. 

I’ve already been doing poorly today; I’ll just start tomorrow.
This may be the excuse I run into most. And the fact is that, although it’s tempting – and easier – to continue and “start tomorrow,” but what is important in this scenario is to forgive yourself and not freak out, punish yourself, or beat yourself up for what you’ve already done. It’s too late to change how your day started, but it’s Never too late to finish strong.  

part II coming soon

“Never believe that evil little person that says in your ear, ‘I’ll start my diet tomorrow.’ When you hear that voice come in your head, believe me, that person’s out to kill you.” — Super Size vs Super Skinny – Season 3, Episode 1

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