Avoiding Excuses to Not Exercise

If you are pursuing a health and fitness goal, making an excuse to avoid exercise is a sure-fire way to break your consistent streak and diminish your hopes for success.

You may have read my blog post, "The Most Effective Workouts" where I suggested that the most effective workouts are the ones you don't want to do. Well, this post on avoiding excuse making is an elaboration upon this concept.

An excuse will initially emerge purely as an emotional reaction to a given circumstance. For example, you may feel tired, stressed, annoyed or frustrated. A perfect "excuse" to avoid exercising! Yet this emotional reaction is quickly justified by a seemingly logical explanation. For example, "I'd better exercise tomorrow because I'm tired so I won't give my workout 100%" or "I'm really annoyed by that guy at work so I just don't want to be around people at the gym tonight!". In the moment, an excuse will make perfect sense once it is rationalised. However, once an objective dissection of the excuse is performed, it is quickly realised that there was no acceptable justification to the excuse. Considering the above two excuses as examples:

"I'd better exercise tomorrow because I'm tired so I won't give my workout 100%"
Once you initiate exercise, you will become energised. Try it for yourself and see how great you feel once the endorphins kick in! Exercise is going to fix your tiredness. Avoiding exercise now is just being lazy!

"I'm really annoyed by that guy at work so I just don't want to be around people at the gym tonight!"
Going to the gym would probably take your mind off the problem and put you in a much better mood for the remainder of the evening. Take your frustrations out by putting in that little additional intensity. Plus, those trusty endorphins will lift your mood considerably!

Not long ago, I was englightened to a strategy that aided in overcoming excuses. The key is to consider excuse when you're not "in the moment" when emotions will inevitably take precedence over logic. So here's something to try out:

  1. Draw up a table with three columns.
  2. Compile a list of all the excuses you have made in the past, or that you can see yourself making in the future to avoid exercising. Be honest with yourself!
  3. Next to each excuse in the second column, write down the implications of following through with that excuse.
  4. In the third column, write down the implications of ignoring that excuse and continuing on with your plan anyway.

This way, you've pre-identified each possible excuse that you're likely to make. When the time comes that you feel like making that excuse, you review your peice of paper. This paper allows you to bring some objectivity to your decision making in order to avoid the highly subjective and persuasive nature of excuse making.

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