Last weekend I presented a seminar at a women’s retreat and afterwards had some one-on-one time with a few participants. During one conversation a woman told me it was a challenge to be consistent with exercise, and shared all of the reasons why. I said, “my, you make a lot of excuses.” She looked at me and said, “Wow, you’re right, I do!”
I loved her response! In that instant, she realized she was in control.
The reason we don’t do something is because of our thoughts, not our circumstances.
Sound dubious? Let’s see:
- “My partner brought home my favorite ice cream. He was doing something sweet for me and it would’ve been rude not to eat it.”
- “I can’t exercise at lunch because I’d get sweaty and have to shower and wash my hair. And in the morning, it’s too dark to go outside and in the evening, I’m wiped out from the day.”
- “Friends that I hadn’t seen in months unexpectedly invited me for drinks. What could I do… go to a bar and not drink? That would be weird.”
- “My grandmother cooks Sunday night dinners for the entire family and expects us to clean our plates. I can’t throw out food and hurt her feelings.”
- “I worked a 12-hour shift and didn’t have the energy to cook anything healthy.”
None of these are about the situation at hand, but about how we think:
- “Not eating food is rude or will hurt someone’s feelings.”
- “Not drinking when at a bar is strange or uncomfortable.”
- “I have no viable exercise option.”
- “I need energy to eat healthy or stay ‘on plan.’”
I know these thoughts can feel true, but they’re just thoughts. One might say, excuses.
What are yours?
Once we recognize we’re making excuses, the question we really need to ask is: Do I like my excuses? Do they serve me? Do they help me get the results I want?
If you don’t like your excuses, the first step is to realize they’re optional. The second step is finding a replacement thought you like, that helps you get a better result.
Then practice the new thought. Repeat it. Live it out, even when you don’t feel like it. Keep doing it.
Try this process, one excuse at a time. If you do the work to change your thoughts, you’ll be amazed at the action (and results) that are possible for your body and your life.