Admit it, you’ve made excuses.  We all have.  Right now my favorite is ~  I’m too HOT to exercise.  Granted, right now it is 109 degrees in the shade on my home patio.  And it’s 86 degrees in my pool, so I think I may be making excuses about  not getting my cardio on.  You can breathe heavy in a pool, too, right?

So this blog is about excuses (we all have them) versus reasons (we have these too, just less of them), how to distinguish the two and, most important, how to put your excuses aside and do the right thing.

Excuses are used to justify or defend bad behavior, as in “My attack on that cake was justifiable as it struck first, assaulting my senses, so it had to be killed and consumed.”  By the way, if you’re in need of a good excuse, you can find one at The Mother Of All Excuses Place.

Reasons are actual defenses, as in “I can’t work out today because I am in a body cast.”  As you can imagine, there are few actual reasons while there are a plethora of excuses, and many of them are darned convincing, as in “I have to skip my workout in order to work on my plan for world peace.” 

If you find yourself coming up with excuses, even if they sound like reasons to your Inner Best Friend (IBF), it’s time to address the resistance head on and get on with what you’re avoiding.  I’m a great example of the excuse game … my Inner Best Friend has an endless supply for virtually everything because, for some reason, my IBF thinks I deserve a pass and that the rules don’t apply to me.  Obviously, I love my IBF and she has been very helpful on shopping trips, but she’s frankly a lazykins who would rather sit around and surf the ‘net or bob in the pool on a floaty thing rather than actually work out.  She’s very supportive of tasty treats instead of (yet another) salad.  My IBF likes to sleep in, take naps, and do almost any activity other than the things we both know we must do in order to achieve fitness and health.

Tricking her isn’t easy since she knows everything I’m up to, but I am trying a new tactic that you might want to employ for yourself.  I’m a July baby, so I consider my birthday to be my own personal New Year’s Day, meaning that I can have a do-over on the resolutions that didn’t manage to get resolved on Jan. 1 or Chinese New Year.  (We’ll have another chance in the fall with Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.)  This year, in desperation to actually make some progress that sticks, my solution is to make “pledges” to my trainer, Andrew, each week.  A pledge is more difficult than an affirmation and has a more formal feeling than a promise — my word is my bond and all that.   My reward is that at the end of just 6 months, I will have added or deleted 26 things ~ adding some good habits, deleting some bad habits, and overall meeting goals without the painful slap of doing it all at once.

Last week I pledged an all-out embargo on dairy (easier said than done) since I am apparently severely allergic to dairy products in all forms.  This week I pledged to eat 4-6 mini-meals a day and one of them must be breakfast because I’m a notorious breakfast-skipper (also much easier said than done).  Next week (at Andrew’s insistence), my pledge is to add 20 minutes of cardio, 5 days a week, to my routine.  This is a hard one and will require major schedule rearrangement, but it’s been pledged, so it has to be done.  For once, I’m writing checks my body can actually cash.

Breaking huge insurmountable tasks into bite size pledges may be just the ticket if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of revising your entire life in one fell swoop.  I’ll let you know how it works for me and you can tell us about your pledges … a public pronouncement is a powerful motivator and great for accountability! 

Pledging my way to fitness ~ Puff

2 Responses to “I'm Too (BLANK) To Exercise”

  • Jana Gill:

    Thanks, Puff. I too am a notorious excuse-masquerading as reason- maker. I have to ….. and therefore I simply can’t workout today. Fortunately, my cycling buddy and good friend has been making some pledges of his own to ride more often. It is hot here also (103 today), so we have been meeting at 6:15am to do a 2 hour ride once or twice a week. Both my buddy and I have school-age children, 7 between us, so understandably the reason/excuse line can get a bit blurry. What seems to be working for us is planning to go riding: we plan to ride, and then one of us doesn’t make it about 2/3 of the time. How is this helping our fitness? Since each of us doesn’t know when the other might have to ditch and skip the ride, we get up and get ready anyway. This morning my pal ditched me, so instead of riding, I took the dogs for a 4 mile power walk. Last Wednesday, we miscommunicated on the meeting spot, but we each rode our separate ways, so to speak. Anyway, we are managing to get in more workouts simply by planning to meet.

  • Puff:

    Jana — The Friend Accountability Program is a great way to get past your own excuses / reasons. I have had occasions where I’ve had walking dates with a friend and it generally resulted in a much ligher level of commitment. I’m proud of you both for getting it done, despite the challenges of kids, dogs, life, miscommunications, etc. Good on ya!

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