We all use them. They sound like this:
I’ve got to put the kids to bed
I’ve got work to do- I’m working late
I’m too tired
I have to cook
It’s the weekend
I don’t feel like it
I’ve got to get home for the dogs
I’m no good at XXXX
Generally it boils down to:
Time, resources/ knowhow/ support, motivation and strategy/ planning.
All of us have reasons which prevent us from taking action. For example to do more exercise, to eat healthier or start meditating to reduce our stress. We all have regular family and work commitments which can get in the way – and it can be all too easy to skip doing what we have said that we are going to do, to get what we say that we want.
Over the past 20 years of helping people to change and create habits which optimise their health success I have also learned much about what gets in the way, the common behavioural patterns which increase frustration and stifle success. I will be more writing posts about these findings over the next few weeks, but one point that I want to make today is about excuses.
Don’t be fooled by your own excuses. Learning to recognise them early on will save you a lot of pain. Become aware of your tendencies and utilise strategies to combat them. Consider your weaknesses when planning your lifestyle changes. There are always ways to manage and overcome them when you have set a goal which is powerful enough.
When faced with a real situation – when you have to make that decision you can generally do one of 3 things. Fold and give in, stick to your guns, or find an alternative solution or action which meets your needs- a more flexible approach if you like.
For example – you may want to put the kids to bed each night- but if you feel frustrated that you have missed your class- and you may blame your partner or work for this and this can leave you feeling angry, frustrated and resentful. At times like this you’ve got to ask yourself- how is that helping them? If you can rationalise that your family can survive one bedtime without you then go to your class. Alternatively, miss the class, but go for a run or walk instead. My top time here is to get dressed in your workout kit well in advance. I’ve found that this helps me to get into a active mind-set in addition to giving a nonverbal message which your family will unconsciously process.
Whether you prefer a flexible or more routine approach to sticking with your plan, make sure that you take action and don’t find yourself making a chain of excuses which keep you stuck. Don’t give yourself such a ridged routine which is unrealistic and makes you unhappy either.
The key learning is to know you favourite excuses and be ready to overcome them.
Self prioritisation is big time related to this- more on this topic next time.
Stay focused and enjoy making those changes!