“You can have results or excuses. Not both.” – Anonymous
Human beings tend to only ever do as much as they absolutely need to.
Motivational speakers call this innate trait laziness, biologists call it efficiency. Either way, the fact remains: we are evolutionary wired to minimize time and energy wherever possible.
And this is not necessarily a bad thing. If we weren’t wired this way, we probably wouldn’t have survived this long as a species.
Back in our caveman days, before supermarkets, calories were worth their weight in gold. For cavemen, trying to actively burn off calories would have spelled certain death.
In this light, our fitness excuses make total sense. Our reptilian brain comes up with believable sounding rationalizations to stop us from burning off our precious calories; to minimize time and energy.
Unfortunately, due to our present access to highly calorific foods, the fitness excuses that once ensured our survival, now send us to an early grave.
Below I’ve provided the 10 most common fitness excuses our reptilian minds trick us into believing and why, ultimately, they’re all nonsense.
1. I don’t have enough time.
This is probably the most common fitness excuse of them all.
First off, when you say you don’t have enough time, what you’re really saying is “I don’t have enough time for that”.Advertising
Do you really think that if you were to add up all the time you spend watching TV and surfing the web throughout the average week you couldn’t replace any of it with a workout?
A 30 minute workout takes up 2% of your day.
Don’t ask yourself how much time you’re going to waste by working out a few times a week. Ask yourself how much of your life you’re going to waste being unfit and overweight.
2. I’m way too tired to workout.
Your mind, when it comes to exercising, is like a spoiled child. If you give in to its demands without a fight, it will see weakness and prey on it often.
If you miss one planned session, you’re much more likely to miss the next. The biggest journey always starts with one step and the biggest failings always start with one step backwards.
You need to show your mind who’s boss. You won’t always have lots of energy when you go to the gym but that doesn’t matter. The only thing that counts is showing up and giving it a shot.
If you’re too tired to workout, change your sleeping habits, not your workout habits.
3. But exercise is so boring!
You don’t want to exercise because it’s boring?
So you find brushing your teeth, taking showers, styling your hair and getting dressed highly entertaining? No. We do these things because we have to. We accept them as part of life.Advertising
The people who never miss a workout are the ones who view it just like brushing their teeth. Complaining about it is just pointless. To be successful sometimes you’ve got to do things that aren’t as fun as watching your favorite TV show. That’s just life.
If don’t enjoy your workouts, you don’t stop working out, you just workout differently. Try crossfit, martial arts, hiking, body building, powerlifting, running, or swimming. Try music. Try anything, but keep showing up.
4. I have no motivation to workout.
If you think you need motivation to train you’re already half beat.
What you really need is meta motivation: the motivation to train even when you’re not motivated. If you rely on your feelings to decide whether to workout or not, you never will. As you know, your feelings are designed to keep you caged up in your comfort pit. Your feelings want you to be safe, not successful.
That said, there is a trick you can use to get yourself motivated to workout, and it’s backed up with research. It’s called ‘the few minutes’ principle.
The basic idea is that procrastinators often put off doing certain things because the size of the task in front of them seems too overwhelming. By deciding to just go to the gym for a ‘few minutes’ you’ll often see the workout through to completion.
Are you motivated enough to train for two minutes? That’s all you need.
5. I have kids to look after.
One day your kids might have someone to look after too: you.
Don’t burden them with an ill parent when they have their own kids to look after. And don’t be the kind of parent who tells their kids exercise is good for them but doesn’t follow their own advice. Kids are smarter than that.Advertising
If you’re really struggling with managing your fitness and your kids, combine the two. Find a field and play frisbee for a few hours, go swimming, take a walk around the lake and feed some ducks. There are so many fun and cheap ways to exercise with your kids, the only limits are your imagination.
You kids should be your biggest reason to exercise, not your biggest excuse.
6. I don’t have anyone to train with.
What you’re really saying with this fitness excuse is that you don’t have anyone to talk with while you train. If you’re training properly, you won’t need to talk.
Don’t get me wrong, having a training partner is great but here’s what you’ve got to understand: most people first meet their training partners at the gym. The reason you probably don’t have anyone to train with is because you don’t have many friends who train. Like attracts like.
By becoming someone who regularly trains, you’ll start attracting people into your life who also value health and fitness. You have to earn your training partners, they don’t come free.
7. I don’t feel very well.
After you get into the habit of overriding your fitness excuses and working out regularly, the thought of missing a workout starts to drive you insane. When I broke my jaw in two places the doctors told me I couldn’t lift heavy weights for three months. What did I do? I lifted light weights instead. Train smart, not hard.
At some point in our lives we’ve all pretended to be ill so we could skip a day of school. Some of the better actors among us probably blurred the lines in their mind between real symptoms and those imagined. It’s easy to exaggerate things when it fits our agenda.
If you’re really sick, I don’t recommend you train. But feeling a bit tired or achy – that’s no reason to skip a workout.
8. The gym is too expensive or far.
If you think you need a gym to achieve your fitness goals, you’ve been seriously misled.
The world is your fitness playground. Ever watched a training scene from a Rocky movie? He chases chickens, runs up steps, punches meat, and chops wood. Many people cite these scenes as their favorite. Something about training dirty and raw resonates deep within us.Advertising
There are whole fitness subcultures dedicated to working out outdoors, and without formal equipment. Ever heard of Calisthenics, Tai Chi, Yoga or Parkour? Look them up.
If you want to put on muscle, try some typical strongman training like chopping wood, flipping tires, lifting barrels. Remember, if it’s important enough to you, you’ll find a way. Arnold Schwarzenegger made his own gym equipment out of chairs and sticks for the first year he trained. He claims he gained 25 pounds of muscle from doing this.
9. I don’t know how to train properly.
If you’re reading this article, you’re obviously more than capable of figuring this out. The internet is brimming with routines and training tips. This site alone will give you more than you need. Read these 10 tips for better workouts, perfect for beginners.
However, it’s important that you don’t get too engulfed in the theory of ‘training properly’. Like most things in life, you learn best on the job. Ask people in the gym to show you how to use proper technique, then practice through action.
People love giving out tips. You might even get a training partner out of it.
10. I feel intimidated by the fit people there.
This is normal and everyone has this when they first start out. The environment is new, everyone there looks like they know what they’re doing. You feel like you’re in someone else’s home.
The number one reason you feel intimidated when you go to the gym is because you don’t go enough! If you started going regularly you’d get used to the place, the people and your fitness would improve. Everyone knows training improves your confidence. Just stick with it. It’s something you’ll laugh at a few months down the line.
Anyone can get in great shape. Anyone can become fit. But very few people ever do because they give in to their natural inclination to minimize time and effort.
Stop making excuses and just stick with it for two months. After that you’ll be finding excuses to workout even when you do have important stuff to get on with.
Featured photo credit: United Artists, Chartoff-Winkler Productions via Rocky (1976)
Last Updated on January 21, 2020
The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want
Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.
Why You Need a Vision
Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.
How to Create Your Life Vision
Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.
What Do You Want?
The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.
It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.
Some tips to guide you:
- Remember to ask why you want certain things
- Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
- Give yourself permission to dream.
- Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
- Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.
Some questions to start your exploration:
- What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
- What would you like to have more of in your life?
- Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
- What are your secret passions and dreams?
- What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
- What do you want your relationships to be like?
- What qualities would you like to develop?
- What are your values? What issues do you care about?
- What are your talents? What’s special about you?
- What would you most like to accomplish?
- What would legacy would you like to leave behind?
It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.
What Would Your Best Life Look Like?
Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.
A few prompts to get you started:
- What will you have accomplished already?
- How will you feel about yourself?
- What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
- What does your ideal day look like?
- Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
- What would you be doing?
- Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
- How are you dressed?
- What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
- What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
- Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.
It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next step. Give yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.
It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.
- What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
- What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
- What would you have needed to learn along the way?
- What important actions would you have had to take?
- What beliefs would you have needed to change?
- What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
- What type of support would you have had to enlist?
- How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
- What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?
Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.
It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.
Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com