How to stop making excuses

Written by [email protected]

Share this article

It’s not uncommon to have times when you miss training sessions, in actual fact missing the odd one can do you good and can even aid recovery. This only becomes a problem if you start to miss sessions regularly. You stop making improvements, you miss every other session then you stop altogether.

If this happens you’ll often find that it’s due to one of two things. Firstly, an excuse. “I’m too tired” or ”it’s a bit cold today” and so on. The other, a valid reason. “I’ve got to pick my kids up” or ”the class I do has been moved to a time I can’t do” etc. Recognising which of these is responsible for your latest ‘no show’ will help you decipher how to tackle it and then move on.

I’m certainly not claiming to be a psychiatrist or a lifestyle guru but being in the fitness industry for eight years and occasionally being a bit of a wimp I’ve heard plenty of reasons and made up a few excuses along the way.  So how do you tell the difference?

Usually an excuse is based on emotion and choice. You can normally replace whatever your excuse is with “I just don’t feel like it”. If you find yourself doing this you might find that you’ve got a classic case of ‘lack of motivation’. Don’t panic it won’t kill you, well it might if you can’t be bothered to look both ways on a main road but I’m sure it’s not that bad so don’t panic. Re-motivating yourself isn’t straight forward but we can give it a go with a simple goal setting schedule. Here’s the interactive bit so go and grab a pen and a sheet of A4.

Try and remember why you started training in the first place. If it was fitness-motivated then think of a fitness-related goal. Put this at the top of your page. For example running a 5km fun run. This is your main goal. In the middle of the page write your middle goal. I’ll run twenty miles a month throughout. Then finally at the bottom of the page write a shot term goal. I’ll run three times a week for at least twenty mins a time.

You should also attach a time scale to each one. For example three months, one month, every week. You can do the same for weight loss. I’ll lose one stone for my holiday in twelve weeks. I’ll lose 5lbs a month. I’ll use the gym three times a week for at least forty five minutes a time. Make sure your goals aren’t too difficult but are hard enough to be a challenge. Once the goal has finished have a steady week then plan for the next one.

A ‘reason’ holds more weight than a typical excuse and it can be equally if not more destructive. Most ‘reasons’ can be simplified as ‘I’m doing something else’ or simply ‘ I haven’t got the time’. Is this you? Grab a pen. This time get your diary as well. If you’re saying “what diary” we’ve probably just solved your problem.

First of all list not only your most recent reasons but all the reasons you’ve had before and new reasons that you can foresee for the future. These are your barriers, they prevent you from exercising. Now write down what you would like to do exercise-wise per week and where you’ll be doing it. Three 45 minute workouts at my local class three miles away.

Some barriers may be solved by arranging child care others may be simply by swapping your gym session with a home session. I’m not playing this down or trying to patronise but taking time to re-plan your routine maybe easier than you imagine. Once you’re into your new routine and it’s just too cold to train then please see paragraph four.