Nothing bugs me more than talking with people where they say something like “yeah I know I should workout” but then they don’t do it.
I was talking to a friend the other day who claimed that he can’t sleep and it’s ruining his life. I simply mentioned that he needs to start exercising and of course ‘he already knows that.’
So why aren’t you doing it then?
Of course, an excuse was made. He’s too busy obviously.
This got me thinking, what is an excuse? Aren’t 99% of them really just rationalizations and personal lies we tell ourselves? I know when I get honest with myself, excuses go out the window. Very few excuses are based in actual reality.
They are fictitious and self-made.
Ultimately, excuses are weaknesses and the implications of them aren’t pretty. They are the killer that will keep you from experiencing life on the higher plane.
Life is simply about making decisions. You make good decisions, you live a good life. You make bad decisions, you experience a bad life.
Here’s the amazing truth, if you make great decisions, you literally create heaven for yourself.
Heaven and hell exist right here, right now.
Whether you experience heaven or hell is determined by how you conduct your life. So what determines how we conduct our lives? Our evaluations and ultimately our decisions.
Nobody is impressed with how good your excuses are.
So, here are 8 things your excuses are really saying. After much introspection and meditation on the issue as well as learning from various resources these are what I believe to be the core of what is behind 99% of excuse making.
Because a major part of what I write about is how to improve your body, in this article I’ve taken that angle and used examples around working out and eating clean.
However, the same concepts and understanding can be used and applied toward any area of your life. So keep that in mind while reading this.
1. Standards for Your Life/Body are Missing or Weak
The first thing your excuses are really saying is that you haven’t consciously determined standards for your life and body. This concept is simple and familiar because we all know people who have high standards, and we all know people who have low or no standards.
Think of someone you know who won’t settle for anything but greatness in a certain area of life. For example, a good friend of mine has a extremely high standard for his academic performance.
So what is the result?
He does well in academics. He is no smarter than a lot of people who don’t do well academically, he simply has that standard. With that standard in place he evaluates things differently, makes better decisions, turns on certain parts of his brain that would otherwise be dormant, and takes different actions.
Because of this chain of events, he experiences superior results.
As humans, we live up to whatever standards we have for ourselves. If your standards are weak, that’s how you will conduct your life; weakly.
Conversely if your standards are strong, that too is how you’ll live your life. We all have standards. The question is what level have you set them?
It’s simple: a standard is the bottom line of what you’ll allow and what you won’t allow. In fact, the official definition is “a level of quality or attainment.” If your standard is to have a healthy fit body, you’ll find a way to make it happen.
If there is no standard in place or the standard is low, you’ll get whatever shows up, which for most people isn’t a pretty sight at all.
If you find yourself making excuses for not working out or not eating cleanly, it’s pretty obvious that you simply haven’t raised the standards for how you conduct your life and what results you’re willing to accept for yourself.
Determine, right now, what the standard for your body is going to be. Is it going to be never going over a certain bodyfat percentage?
A certain weight?
A daily habit of working out?
If you haven’t already, set up some standards for your body NOW. Remember, the alternative isn’t pretty. What are you standards going to be in regards to how you conduct your life and habits? What are your standards for your eating habits? It may be time to raise them.
2. Your Subconscious Mind has Associated Pain to Taking Action
At the core of what drive every person on earth is a ‘twin force’ wanting to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Everything we do in life is ultimately consequential.
We get some combination of pain and pleasure as a consequence of actions in other words. Ever notice that you can categorize basically all emotions you experience as generally pleasurable or painful?
That’s because they are.
The interesting thing about this is we all ‘associate’ different emotions to different scenarios/actions.
So for example, person 1 hates roller coasters and person 2 loves them. Why? Easy. Person 1 associates pain to the experience of roller coasters while person 2 associates pleasure to them.
How did this happen?
Well there may be a difference in the nature of person 1 and person 2, but it’s highly likely that at some point in person 1’s life they experienced some sort of emotional or physical pain while riding a roller coaster and therefore their subconscious mind linked up ‘roller coaster=pain’ and so now person 1 claims to ‘just hate’ roller coasters.
If you’re making excuses about not working out, it’s very likely that there is something similar going on. In fact, I guarantee there is. You associate more pain to working out, and less pleasure to working out than taking other actions in life.
That’s the bottom line and that’s why you find yourself in a state of inaction.
Here’s the good news; part of being a conscious human being is being able to direct these associations. Directing them can be easy too. It’s simply gaining awareness of your subconscious functioning and taking charge of it.
Start to become conscious of the emotional reactions that take place within yourself.
If the thought of working out invokes negative feelings you surely have your pain/pleasure associations programmed in a way that isn’t serving you and is keeping you from taking action and leading you to lying to yourself in the form of excuses.
Make working out fun.
Give yourself rewards and recognition of your personal victories. Listen to music you love.
Do whatever it takes to associate pleasure to working out and eating right.
I’m convinced there is no single action/habit a person can implement that has a greater payoff towards the quality of their life than working out and improving their nutrition.
Ultimately success will breed success because you’ll start getting results and therefore start associating more and more pleasure to working out as well.
So stick with it.
Results (aka pleasure) are likely right around the corner.
3. You Haven’t Gotten Addicted to Exercise
This one is really simple; if you’re making excuses about exercise, you simply haven’t gotten addicted to it yet. Yes, exercise is very addicting once you’ve gotten over the initial pain period as anyone who has exercised consistently for years can attest.
The issue is getting over that first hump before the addiction sets in. I’m convinced that there is no greater high in life than rigorous exercise.
There is no greater feeling than overcoming adversity and conquering yourself and your weaknesses. In my opinion, it is a god given drug.
Your brain is a sophisticated pharmacy that manufactures the best drugs in the world, and yes these drugs are addicting to the point where you’ll want to keep coming back for more.
Again, stick with it.
Know that your brain is literally manufacturing drugs that over time will become addicting. Remember, getting addicted to exercise is probably the best thing you could ever have happen.
4. You Haven’t Made it a Must
As Tony Robbins says, everyone has a list of ‘shoulds’ and they end up ‘shoulding’ all over themselves. For example:
- I should workout.
- I should eat right.
- I should avoid donuts.
- I should this.
- I should that.
However, having a list of ‘shoulds’ literally does nothing to improve the quality of your life.
It’s only when your ‘shoulds’ become ‘musts’ that things change. When you change your ‘shoulds’ to ‘musts’ it’s no longer an option.
You take action to make things happen, no problem. This is closely related to the standards issue I mentioned above. When you make raising your standard a must, you’ll find yourself making different evaluations, different decisions, and ultimately taking different actions.
I’ve noticed that when I make something a must rather than a should I basically take on a ‘life or death’ mindset.
What I mean by that is it becomes somewhat of a ‘kill or be killed’ mentality where my only aim, with no other options, is to make things happen.
My advise is to start with one ‘should’ and make the firm decision to transform it into a must. Maybe your scenario is you need to quite drinking soda on a daily basis. Become one track minded, and do whatever it takes to conquer that soda.
Make it a must.
5. You Don’t Believe Results Will Happen
There is nothing that will keep you from taking action like having a false belief nestled between your ears. It’s always interesting and fun to unveil these within myself.
I use to have a belief that I could never get ‘ripped’ because my genetics just wouldn’t allow it.
So you know what? Of course I didn’t really try. My brain, because of this false belief, had a ‘filter’ that would nix out anything that told me contrary. Finally one day I realized I was harboring this false belief and
I made the decision to put it to rest.
Since then, I find myself making new evaluations, new decisions, and taking new actions because of it. And guess what? I’ve been able to get my body far beyond what my furthest expectations ever were.
A useful way to look at beliefs is to view them as ‘possibility filters.’ We’ve all heard the phrase “whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.’ Sure this may be cliche, but for the most part it’s true.
Always keep in mind “if it’s humanly possible, consider it to be within your reach.’
There is nothing more debilitating than thinking that you are a special snowflake.
You are not a special snowflake.
This is one of the most empowering things you can ever realize. If someone else can do something, it’s highly likely that you can too. This isn’t some feel-good message, this is reality.
Stop thinking that others are just better than you, or superior, or anything else. Start the process of evaluating the beliefs that are controlling your life today.
Uncover them, squash the inaccurate negative ones, and find yourself living life on a higher level than you could have ever imagined.
6. You Haven’t Prioritized
Simply stated, if you can tell me about what happened last night on “Survivor,” or any other mindless show, then you have no excuses of why you have no time to go exercise. Stop kidding yourself. Stop lying to yourself. Stop rationalizing. Get real and prioritize.
A distinction that really helped me become better at prioritizing (obviously I can still improve too) is realizing that life=movement.
This epiphany literally eradicated laziness from my soul which allowed me to start prioritizing effectively because I really don’t desire to go into ‘do nothing’ mode anymore. Everyone I’ve ever met has more free time than they would like to admit.
Stop wasting this time thinking you need to go into a state of inaction.
You’ll realize this when you make the decision to effectively prioritize your daily habits and actions. Get off the couch. Turn off the mindless tv and transform the quality of your life by simply taking 30-60 minutes a day to exercise and making a few simple decisions with your eating patterns.
7. You Lack Momentum
One major epiphany I’ve had in the past year is that life is all about momentum.
Depending on how you are conducting your life, you have positive momentum or negative momentum.
So an example of negative momentum is someone who begins turning to drugs as a fix for their problems and dis-satisfactions. What happens next? Well I’ve witnessed this with a few different people that I’ve known.
Life becomes more and more boring because they’ve trained their brain to look for instant fixes as a solution to how they feel.
Their spirit gets crushed because they know their life isn’t what it could be. Then they waste their money, and even start stealing from people they love for the next high.
They waste more money.
Their body begins to deteriorate and perform worse and worse. This makes them want more instant fixes. They go for more drugs. They feel depressed because they know this isn’t what life should be about, but instead of turning things around they are in a negative feedback loop where their life momentum is headed in an exponential downfall.
Failure is breeding failure.
Conversely the same thing happens with positive momentum. When you start to feel alive from a great workout, you want to eat more healthy. When you eat more healthy, you start to feel better physically and emotionally.
When you go about your day generally feeling good you treat people better, and therefore make more sincere connections. Then you hit the gym with more energy and intensity which enables you to get even better results.
At this point you are in a positive feedback loop and your life momentum begins increasing exponentially upward. This is where you want to be. Does the quote “success breeds success” come to mind? It does for me.
When you’re making excuses, it’s likely that you haven’t taken board on the positive momentum train. So what does it take to get on this train?
Stick with it!
Again, I’ve said this over and over, stick with it. Results will come if you’re taking the right actions consistently. They can’t not come. When this occurs you’ll have positive momentum on your side! This is like rocket fuel for your life.
It’s a great place to be and a place you should demand yourself to be.
8. Your Emotional Muscles to Sustain Resolve are Weak
Being able to sustain your resolve is a muscle. Sustaining your resolve means being persistent.
It means overcoming adversity and keeping your ‘eye on the prize.’
This is absolutely a muscle.
The more you use it, the stronger it gets. The less you use it, the more it goes into atrophy. Keeping promises to yourself is SO important. If you’re not using it, you’re losing it. If you’re not using your resolve muscle and keeping promises to yourself, your ability to sustain resolve will go to hell.
Like your body, you want to be training your resolve muscle on a consistent basis. Remember, “obstacles are what you see when you take your sights off the goal.” Don’t allow yourself to be derailed.
Take a minute to imagine someone who has no ability to sustain their resolve. What comes to mind? I don’t know about you, but for me it’s a weak pathetic person who continuously starts things only to quit as soon as things don’t go their way.
How will their life turn out?
Probably horribly. Nothing of value will ever be accomplished, and life will probably be in a perpetual state of disarray and up/down drama. Determine that you will NOT be that person. Train your ability to ‘stick to it’ despite hardships and obstacles.
Start slow by making little promises to yourself and keeping them.
Remember, Rome wasn’t built overnight, and no one ever walked into a gym and immediately bench pressed 600 lbs. Even if the promises you start out with are dumb and insignificant you will be training your resolve muscle by following through.
It could be something as dumb as “I’m going to go home tonight and not sit on the couch until after I fold the laundry” or they can even be arbitrary like “I’m going to remember to take two deep breaths anytime I turn my computer on.”
Yes these are dumb examples, but for a reason; you’ve gotta start somewhere training your ‘resolve muscle.’ This is what’s going to allow you to keep a sustained vision for improving your life.
The Excuse vs. The Truth: Common Excuses I hear on a Regular Basis
So here is a list of fitness related excuses off the top of my head that I hear on a regular basis. Keep in mind, I too, have engaged in this kind of excuse making.
This isn’t me preaching, it’s me trying to evolve myself and help you along the way as well. Like I’ve stated earlier, most excuses are simply self-told lies. Again, it’s time to clean these out of your life, because in the end they are sucking the life out of your soul.
The Excuse: I just don’t have time to workout.
The Truth: You are the one who makes your schedule. Prioritize it effectively. Make the most of your time. Effective workouts that could seriously transform someones body could take as little as 10 minutes anyhow. It just takes some creativity, intensity, and dedication.
The Excuse: I’m just lazy.
The Truth: No you have low standards for you life fueled by impotent goals. No one is ‘just motivated’ or ‘just lazy.’
The Excuse: Eating Healthy is Hard.
The Truth: Eating healthy comes down to simple decisions. It is no harder than eating unhealthy, it just requires different evaluations, and ultimately different decisions.
The Excuse: I don’t like the taste of water.
The Truth: Your taste buds have been conditioned to be over stimulated. It’s time to break that pattern and drink what nature intended us to drink.
The Excuse: I just love my sweets too much.
The Truth: Everyone loves sweet, you’re likely physically addicted to them. You don’t have to completely give them up anyhow, you just have to gain control over them and eat in moderation.
The Excuse: I’m too tired at night.
The Truth: Your body has been conditioned to go home and vegetate on the couch. Plus, it’s likely you’re not eating in a way that allows your body to have sustained energy. Break the pattern, and create new habits. New habits will have been shown to form in about 3 weeks. Also, create your schedule wisely and set yourself up to win. Are you a morning person? Night person? What about working out on your lunch break?
The Excuse: I don’t have the right genetics to gain muscle.
The Truth: No you just haven’t consistently implemented the correct strategy yet. Yes, it takes time and consistency.
So what do you think? Obviously you don’t ever make excuses for yourself, but I’m sure you know people who do don’t you…. 😉 What are common ones you notice?
Comment below and let’s discuss!