Most of us are pretty good at coming up with excuses about why we can't have what we want in life.
It seems that sometimes it's easier to come up with an excuse than it is to put in the actual work it takes to improve our circumstances. Change often seems big, scary and overwhelming and we feel some sort of pull to make sweeping life changes rather than focusing on simpler, easier things.
We've all heard these or said them at some point:
-I'm too busy to work out
-Joining a gym is too expensive
-I don't have time to prepare healthy meals
-I'm too old to go back to school
-I'm too young to go for that management position
-I'm not good enough to <insert thing here>
-I don't fit in
-I can't start over
-I can't leave X because of Y
-I don't have time for X because of Y
-I can't do X because of Y
What if you took a few minutes to really examine what it is you think you want but believe you don't have the time, money, ability, energy, guts, looks, popularity, motivation, etc., etc., etc., to do, have, attain etc. Do you truly believe the thing holding you back is something impossible to overcome?
What if the next time you bump up against an obstacle, you ask yourself "What has to be true to make X happen?"
What we tell ourselves:
"I'm too busy to exercise."
"What has to be true for me to be able to exercise?"
Jot down everything you can think of that would need to be true for you to make exercise a part of your life:
"I would need at least 30 minutes every day to commit to exercising."
"I need something to wear."
"I need to join a gym."
Consider each point. Is the statement really true?
Point #1 - I would need at least 30 minutes every day to commit to exercising:
"Actually, 30 minutes 3 times a week would probably be a good start and make a difference to my health. I can start taking the stairs up to my apartment instead of the elevator on the other days. Since I enjoy walking and the weather is nice now, I will take a brisk 30 minute walk over my lunch hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays."
Point #2 - I need something to wear:
"I actually already own a couple of pairs of yoga pants and shorts that I can work out in. I'll spring for some new t-shirts with the gift card I got for my Birthday. I have a pair of walking shoes in my closet. I guess I could dust them off!"
Point#3 - I need to join a gym:
"Per point #1, I don't actually need to join a gym now. Perhaps in the winter I'll look into joining an indoor exercise class. For now, I'll start walking briskly for 30 minutes, 3 times a week over my lunch hour and take the stairs instead of the elevator to my apartment on the other days of the week."
This was actually the gist of a conversation I had with a client recently. It demonstrates the point that most "problems" can be broken down rather simply and workarounds pretty easily identified. Now, simple isn't the same as easy. We still need to put in the work! Even after a simple plan has been developed we might still bump up against road blocks. That's okay. Don't expect perfection or beat yourself up if you don't immediately become a fitness fanatic, abolish all of your excuses or become a smoothie junkie. Start with some small steps and keep working at it!
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