Monday, February 14, 2011

Excuses - have you used yours today?

Let me share a quick story with you... A couple of nights ago I went up to the gym (for a change!) to do my usual 1-hr lifting followed by 1-hour cardio. From the onset, I knew I wasn't in the right frame of mind to exercise. I had barely gotten into my car and had already started making excuses as to why I should cut the lifting short and just skip cardio altogether. By the time I had actually arrived at the gym, I had a myriad of excuses as to why I wouldn't stay longer than 30 minutes. As I did each set, I got more and more angry with myself. In essence, I had quit, at least in my mind, before I had even started.

After about 40-minutes I stopped what I was doing and made my way to a quiet area of the gym. It was time to reflect on what I had done for the past hour. In my mind, I had tried to justify all of the made-up excuses why I had to leave without completing my work-out:

"We're expecting bad weather, I need to get to the store before they sell out of everything."
"I need to get home before the weather gets bad."
"I can just do extra tomorrow."

After some self-realization, I concluded that all of these excuses (and trust me, there were many more) were complete nonsense. There would still be something left at the store regardless of what time I got there, my 4-wheel drive does just fine in the snow, and I won't end up doing extra tomorrow.

For those literary minded subscribers, in Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote:

"This above all; to thine own self be true."

While Polonius (the speaker in the play) most likely wasn't referencing "being lazy at the gym", the thought is still valid.

We formulate excuses in our minds, and then trick ourselves into justifying them as fact, legitimizing them as the truth, and furthermore allowing them to shape our actions.

Take a second and recall the last time you made an excuse as to why you couldn't do something. Truly think about it, and honestly tell yourself whether or not your excuse carried any validity, or whether it was a feeble attempt at being lazy. Only you know the truth, so only you can decide with the final outcome is.

Excuse 1 - "I don't have time to work-out. I work 9-5, then I have obligations each evening."
Answer 1 - My gym opens at 5am, what about yours?

Excuse 2 - " I'm on the road a lot with work, so I don't get to exercise as much as I would like."
Answer 2 - There's not a bed in your room than you can do push-ups with your feet up on it? There's no floor to do crunches? You can't find a single thing in your room that you could use as a weight? $15 will buy you a workout band, there's plenty you could do with that.

Excuse 3 - "My kids get up at 7am, I don't have time to go to the gym in the mornings."
Answer 3 - So get up at 6am, get your yoga mat and a DVD, and do a workout program.

Life is always going to get in the way, and give you plenty of excuses as to why you can't exercise/eat properly/stick to your goals. If you truly want to get in shape, you will find a rebuttal to each excuse, and find a way to accomplish what your mind has told you that you couldn't do.

For those wondering, that night I finished my lifting, and I pushed my cardio harder than I have for a long time. I was true to myself... I held myself accountable, and the outcome made it all worthwhile.

As always, I welcome any feedback/criticism (good or bad), or any input you would like to share. Thanks for following Inspire(d)...

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