Late last month I posted the first addition to this posting. I used a hypothetical scenario between a trainer and a beginning client. You may have noticed that this particular client named “John” was super motivated to begin a new fitness program initially…and then the excuses started to pour in. This is what I want to touch on today.
Have you ever been in John’s shoes where exercising is difficult? Have you ever been super charged and motivated to change your lifestyle only to have your motivation supplanted by your busy schedule? Maybe you are in a high pressure situation at work? Or maybe you have screaming children demanding your attention or the overwhelming temptation to rest and veg in front of the TV after a long days work? Whatever your life may look like it is easy to edge exercise out in the name of being busy. I contend that every time we use an excuse such as “I am too busy” to exercise we might as well say to everybody in the room that “exercise is not a PRIORITY to me yet”.
Listed below is a checklist that you must be able to answer affirmatively to BEFORE you start your lifestyle change program:
1- Have I made my new fitness/nutrition program and absolute PRIORITY in my life?
This is where you need to sit in solitude and really search you soul…sounding cheesy? This is an absolute necessity! This is a time for you to dig deep within yourself and discover your readiness to make a lifelong change. If you find that you are hesitant, doubtful, fearful, or indifferent to making this change then you need to stop and re-evaluate your priorities. If you find that you are indeed able to make time to exercise on a daily basis then go for it and never look back. The bottom line here is that you absolutely cannot start a new lifestyle while sitting on the fence. If work/life is too busy and too important for this change then back off for a while and wait until you are in the doctor’s office dealing with Diabetes…you will then understand that this truly is a priority not just a luxury to be enjoyed at your convenience.
2- Take an inventory of your EXCUSES and then throw them out the window
This is a great exercise that is imperative to do before starting your program. While still in the same solitude of soul searching I want you to physically write down ALL of the excuses that you have that stand in the way of you accomplishing your goals! Each and every last one of them! I don’t care if you think they are “valid” or not, write them all down. I am not saying that you are not busy…please do not misunderstand. What I am saying is that all of these excuses are just mis managed priorities. Nobody is telling you to quit your job or abandon your family…quite the contrary, read on.
Now I want you to write down your Daily schedule. I understand that it may fluctuate…that is not the point. I want you to FIND the time that will work best for you to exercise and make that your permanent time if possible. If your schedule fluctuates you are going to have to make some omissions to make time for exercise. Not possible you say? NONSENSE! I want you to be a grown up here and MAKE EXERCISE A PRIORITY! Stop fooling yourself with every excuse that you find yourself making. Do you see what I am saying here? All of those excuses may be important but if they are more important than exercise then what you are telling me exercise is not important and I cannot buy that one. It is time to make a paradigm shift and make exercise a priority. One last thought…do not skimp on writing this one down! Physically writing it down into your planner will give you the psychological benefit of knowing that you are indeed making it a priority! Write out your dailey and weekly schedule with exercise included. Now I want you to RESPECT it! I don’t care how busy you are, when it comes time for your exercise time it is time to put those important things aside temporarily and fulfill your obligation period…no excuses…just do it.
4. Commit and Burn your Bridge
A fabled general was once said to take his army across the sea to fight a battle of enormous importance. As he reached the shore, he gathered his troops rallied them and lit the ship on fire. He continued, “As you can see we have no way of retreat now, we either conquer or perish”. They won. Why did they win? Because they knew they had no other choice.
So how can you burn your proverbial bridge with your new lifestyle? Here are a few suggestions.
–Inform your family, peers, and friends. Be specific and tell them when you are starting and what you are doing. Enlist them as allies and help them help you stay on track. Make no secrets and make every intention known. Essentially what you are doing is setting up a convenient accountability system that will make it very hard to fail.
-Set SMART Goals: The S stands for Specific. The M stands for Measurable. The A stands for Accountability. The R stands for Realistic, and finally the T stands for a Time Table. This is a great way to make and keep goals that will help you change for the rest of your life.
-Never let the words “I will start tomorrow” leave your lips: You have committed and you do not have the luxury of turning back now! If you slip a day, pick yourself up…you are not off the hook, but rather recommitting to the goals that you have written down.
5. Adopt a mindset of Permananency!
Even though I just advocated SMART goals that call for a time table, your overall goal and focus needs to be set on changing your lifestyle permanently! If you are getting ready for a cruise great…that is great motivation but what I am asking you to do is adopt a mindset that transcends time limits. This is the way you are going to be living for the rest of your life! Five, ten, twenty five years from now you will still be living this healthy lifestyle.
Well there you have it my friends! I enjoy a quote from Dr. Wayne W. Dyer stating, “Excuses are nothing more than an option out of the life that you would like to live”. Please do not short change yourself with tired, worn out excuses that will do nothing more than hamper your efforts to succeed long term. You deserve better. God speed and good luck!