Monday, September 9, 2013

How to Stop Making Excuses

Excuses are bad, mmkay? They're a slipper slope and here's why.

When I spend so much time and effort working on changing my life and writing about it so other people can get inspired to change theirs, I can get a little obsessive. 

"If I don't work out every day and eat perfectly all the time I'm letting myself and everyone else down."

Then I'll be out at some event and someone will say, "I made these cupcakes!"

It takes some convincing, but after a year of saying no, I'll sometimes say yes on these special occasions. 

Once I got down close to my goal and went Paleo, I decided I'd give myself a free day a week. Just one. How bad can one day be?

I'll tell you. It was insanity. I became an obsessed behemoth on the prowl for baked goods and ice cream. It was beyond allowing myself a treat. It was completely gluttonous. 

Then vacation came. I allowed it to be vacation. I got some exercise, but nothing like I normally do. I made a plan for how I'd eat, but I was pretty free to try whatever I wanted!

So now I'm back from vacation. I am managing to eat primal with a few exceptions... but my "time to exercise" mental muscle is just not kicking into gear. That's not something you can wait for. You have to get yourself back in the habit and make some choices that your mind isn't too crazy about right now. 

There are just too many excuses out there and the margin between rewarding myself after great behavior and just allowing myself a chance to misbehave because I want to is steadily getting smaller. That's on me. It's something I need to change. Primal allows for a serving of bread or cheese a day so I take it, whether I need it or not. I'm at a concert or comedy show? Have some drinks, eat the food there even though there's NOTHING close to Primal. Could I have packed some food. Sure. I didn't. I chose not to and I chose wrong.

This is my latest excuse; A tiny jellicle ball of cuddles and playtime named Tonks. I've spent two whole days off rolling around with her on the floor, cuddling in bed, and playing with her without going for a run or stopping for some yoga. Sure, I'm nesting, but I could have taken half and hour to an hour and done something for ME. 

So in the face of a mountain of excuses how do you gain any purchase? How do you get back on track.

I started to look back on how I started. I started with small goals and changes and kept adding. I feel like an idiot for needing to go back to that model because I felt like a super hero before my vacation and now I feel like an invalid. The first thing I did was to actively stop making an excuse the second it happened.

I was waiting in line for tickets to Shakespeare in the Park. You have to get there around 8am to get tickets and then you have to wait in line till noon when they get distributed. I was hanging out with my boyfriend and snuggling and then I thought... what am I doing? We have FOUR HOURS. I can snuggle for 3.5 and workout for half an hour. So I negated the laziness and got started on a bodyweight circuit. Sure, I got some weird looks from people in line, but I didn't care. I had the time, it was a nice day, and there was no reason to waste another moment worrying about all the reasons not to do it. There are always a billion reasons not to do something. You just have to buck up and make it happen. 

Next up, diet. For this, I feel like I need accountability and support. So, I've decided to hop back into the next Nerd Fitness challenge on the 16th and do a Whole-30 to cleanse my body of toxins and really get back in the Paleo swing. For increased accountability, I'm doing it with my friend Shannon from work. 

It sounds dumb, but the best way to stop making excuses is... well, to just stop making them one by one. If you feel like you're trying to convince yourself something okay, ask yourself why you're doing it and why you want to veer away from your plan. Most of the time, you'll find that the "reasons" you come up with make you feel ashamed because they're not really reasons at all. 

"I couldn't work out because I had to play with my cat." Seriously Anne? You are ridiculous. After hearing myself say that out loud, the next day, there I was, working out in the park even though I felt like people were giving me the "oddball" stare. 

"I'm at a comedy show. I want to have fun and I don't want the hassle of bringing food." There were people who brought chairs and coolers and blankets for the lawn seating. Would it have been that weird if I'd brought some fruit and slices of turkey with veggies? No. I just made the excuse not to. The next morning, I started out right with veggies and eggs with coffee. 

I could sit here and feel bad about it and frankly, I almost didn't write about it on the blog, but this is something we all do! It's time to make a change. It doesn't have to be big. I'm not back sliding because I needed to return to the mentality that helped me get started in the first place. I should be celebrating that I even have those tools cause I sure as hell didn't know what I was doing when I got started. 

We aren't perfect. We make mistakes. You have to remember a failure is only a failure if you stop trying.

So never stop! Bite, scratch, and crawl your way back to the top of the mountain one excuse at a time and you'll be back on track in no time. 

What excuses are you making and what are you doing to change them? Do you have any tips to share? Discuss with your fellow Slayers in the comments.


  1. I've been dealing with this lately too, thanks for the encouragement! I did a Whole30 back in May, and while it was challenging, I have honestly never felt better. Let me know if you have any questions or just want to hear someone cheering you on :)

  2. My friend Nathan (a name you've heard 100's of times from me)and I did "Fat Kid Sunday" when we were living together. That worked for a while. Then we would start on Saturday night and go until Monday morning. Eventually fat kid Sunday went from Thursday to Tuesday. We had achieved our "goals" so we weren't worried about it. I've learned that life itself is a goal and we must respect every minute. We talked the other day about my audition excuses. I don't know why I keep making them because I am clearly awesome! ;) I got a call back to "Mary Poppins"!!! I almost didn't go because I couldn't figure out how to print out my song in the proper key. I went though and sang in the lower key and, well, I'll be returning on Monday. I thought of you while I was being wishy washy and I knew I would have to tell you I didn't go. Accountabilibuddies unite!! Thanks for sharing your quest with us. It really helps to read about someone who is working hard and meeting the challenge.