It was one of those workouts. I wanted to stop but had noticed lately that more and more of my workouts ended at 20-minutes. I needed to push through, not make excuses.
Do you ever get out of your healthy routine, justifying it with the better-than-nothing argument?
I’m all about squeezing in what you can in the time you have. That’s different. If I was honest, I’d been slacking.
What’s the difference between letting yourself off the hook when you need it and making excuses when you don’t feel like doing something? It’s blurry sometimes, right?
Three possible answers come to mind:
• Self-compassion: maybe you realize you’ve been pushing too hard or your body is simply saying “enough” right now. Or maybe it’s one of those days where you don’t make the healthiest of choices and you forgive yourself and move on. You’re human, it’s okay. Tomorrow is a new day.
• Honesty: you admit that you’ve taken your eyes of the prize and you’re no longer focused on the bigger picture. It’s possible that your motivation was external and you need to build an internal bias towards healthy habits. Or, you realize you don’t want it as much as you thought you did.
• You’re in a rut: I mean, how many walks around the same neighborhood can you take, right? Your routine is stale, your food choices have become dull. You still really want to achieve your goals but you’re bored out of your mind.
Given our culture of pushing to succeed without regard to personal needs, being kind to ourselves feels like we’ve gone soft. But there’s a great deal of study on the benefits of self-compassion. One way to think about it is to ask yourself, “how would I treat my best friend in this circumstance?” Go and do likewise for yourself.
Honesty is a tricky one. It’s easy to blame external circumstance (one’s schedule, family dynamics, the weather…). For me, my strategy of fitting in what I could turned into shorter workouts as a habit rather than a necessity. Once I recognized it, I was back to it. That was easy. But if circumstances have changed, internal or external, that’s a deeper dive. Get support.
The easiest one of these to accept, and correct, is the rut. Get creative with your exercise and food choices. Track your results and compete with yourself. Using something like the Polar M430 gives you tons of data and even comes in orange! (Okay, I may be the only one excited by that.) Or maybe you just need a week of active rest, completely out of your norm but still moving a lot.
So when you find yourself slacking, ask yourself a few questions. Once you identify what’s really going on you can determine how to move forward.
It feels good to have answers (and a plan!), rather than make excuses.