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How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
Article written by Heidi Campo: NSCA CPT, CSCS, and certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist
How to overcome making excuses part 1 ?
Have you ever had a fantasy about developing superhuman powers? We see it in comic books and in the cinema all the time. An average person who struggles with everyday problems suddenly gets bitten by a radioactive spider, receives a letter in the mail, or is touched by a paranormal force. All of a sudden, this person’s problems seem to disappear. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
The story arcs of these heroes show them overcoming barriers and seemingly achieving all their dreams thanks to their newfound abilities. Do you ever find yourself fantasizing about developing similar powers? Do you think, “If only I had this special gift, then I could easily overcome these obstacles and achieve all the things I want?” How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
The fact is that almost all of us have fantasized about achieving superhero status with things like wealth, power, looks, fitness, and class. Having a healthy and optimized body is something that everyone would choose if they could get that wish granted magically. The reason why we don’t all achieve our dreams and goals is because of the barriers that keep us from them. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
Benefits and barriers
When we are in the beginning stages of change, we will start to consciously or subconsciously analyze the benefits vs. the barriers of achieving the thing we are thinking about. For example, you might have spent the last few years slowly gaining weight while focusing on other things. Now you are becoming aware that you want your body and health back. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
We slowly start to notice the benefits of change. We keep track in the back of our minds whenever we confront something we don’t like about the status quo. ow to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
- We try to put on a favorite clothing item that doesn’t fit anymore.
- Seeing a photo of ourselves from an unflattering angle that shows us what the mirror does not.
- When a child or person comments about our body or health that highlights our dissatisfaction.
- We get winded when trying to do something we used to be able to do with ease, such as going up the stairs or walking the dog.
- We get a red flag at the doctor’s office or on our health insurance that warns us of declining health.
- Opportunities with promotions, dating, or getting picked for recreation leagues pass you by for someone else.
We can all add to this list a hundred times over. This list above is an example of pain points. These are the things that hurt us. We don’t like them, and they are solid motivators for us to see the benefits of change. Experiencing these things will highlight the need to change and get us moving toward action. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
What happens next is when the barriers show up. We start to take action, and then reality hits us. Maybe we realize we don’t enjoy exercise at all. Perhaps we don’t know how to make healthy entrees taste as good as junk food. We call these points of discomfort and disruption the barriers to change, more commonly known as excuses. I don’t like the word excuse because it has a negative connotation with it. We perceive people who use “excuses” as lazy and unmotivated. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
I prefer to analyze behavior by looking at the barrier (not excuses). For example, perhaps your most significant barrier to change is feeling like you don’t have enough time. This might be a cold hard fact, or it could be that the barrier can be broken down and simplified enough for you to overcome. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
In this article, we will go over the top 4 most common barriers to changing our health and losing fat, as well as some productive solutions to break down these barriers into more manageable solutions. Allowing your benefits and reasons for change to outweigh your barriers and excuses will make change a reality!
1 You don’t like it
The number one barrier or excuse that people have towards change. Is that they just don’t like what they need to do to achieve the desired results. Maybe you don’t enjoy exercise, vegetables, protein, or dieting. You prefer more sedentary activities or food that is not good for your health.
Here are three solutions to this barrier, as illustrated in Figure 1:
- Start working towards developing competency in the thing you are trying to change. We usually don’t enjoy something because it makes us feel out of our element. For example, you might want to start eating healthier, but shopping for better food is overwhelming. Maybe you spend way too much the first time you buy “healthy” groceries, then most of the ingredients go to waste because you don’t know how to prepare them before they go bad. Improving your competency in this new lifestyle is something you can do with the guidance of a professional.
- Improvement of skills will develop as you learn more and become more competent. You can start by learning how to shop, meal plan, and cook. These are all base levels of competency that we need to develop if we are going to build sustainable habits. Next, you can hone your chef skills or dial in your fitness. Finally, find joy in your progress when you reflect on how far you’ve come. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
- Lastly, try finding different ways to do the things you don’t want to do. For example, if you hate lifting weights and running, you can try doing power yoga and Zumba. There are many ways to move your body; you don’t need to be pigeonholed into an exercise activity you don’t enjoy. The same goes for cooking. Maybe you don’t like preparing meals but enjoy cooking small things daily. If the biggest thing you hate about cooking is the planning and preparation, try doing a meal delivery service that delivers fresh ingredients and new recipes to your doorstep weekly! Again, you don’t have to hate what you are doing. Take some time to analyze your options and start trying different things until you find something that works for you!
2 You don’t have time
The second biggest barrier to change is the perception that we don’t have time. Now I will say that this is a tricky subject because I have genuinely met a rare person to whom this is applicable. However, these individuals are rare and typically live lives with more critical priorities that put their health at the bottom of their priority list. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
Time management is one of the most critical skills to develop if you want success and happiness in your life. Unfortunately, many people live in a state of existence that is reactive rather than proactive. This means they react to the things that happen to and around them rather than taking action to make the things happen in their lives the way they want them to happen.
You may have heard about Stephen Covey’s bestselling book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” In my opinion, this is one of the best books written on time management. You can purchase this book yourself with this Amazon affiliate link: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.”
The author discusses a four quadrant approach to time management in this book. As seen in Figure 2. Everything we do falls into one of these four categories. It is either How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
- Important and urgent
- Important but not urgent
- Not important but urgent
- Not important and not urgent
Most people live their lives in crisis mode. They spend all their time focusing on high-pressure matters that are important and urgent. Then they only have the mental capacity and energy to do the things that are not important and not urgent when they slow down.
This is because they neglect to take care of the things that are either “not important, but urgent” or “important, but not urgent.” That is until those things build up to become an important AND urgent crisis. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
You might spend all day putting out fires, only to have the energy left at the end of the day to watch mindless TV or scroll on social media like a zombie. You are left feeling like you don’t have time to exercise or eat well. You know it is important, but based on how you are currently feeling, it is not urgent.
The thing is if you live your life this way, eventually your health and fitness will catch up to you, and it will become an urgent crisis, as with everything in life that we neglect with our poor time management skills. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
Things like managing your health often fall into the category of important, but not urgent. Things like:
- Cardiovascular training (150 minutes recommended per week as per the CDC and ACSM)
- Strength and resistance training (2 training sessions weekly recommended as per the CDC and ACSM)
- Eating habits like
- Eating a high-protein diet
- Including more vegetables
- Drinking more water
- Cooking at home vs. eating out
- Including more whole foods vs. junk foods
- Sleep habits
- Managing your stress
- Healthy lifestyle in general
If we don’t pay attention to these things, they will eventually become a full-blown health crisis that can bring our lives to a screeching halt. Important and urgent health issues look like:
- Medical crisis
- Developing diseases like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Inflammation related issues
- Health emergency
- Heart attacks
- Breakdown of bodily systems
- Fitness test deadlines to qualify for a job, that you might not be able to pass now
- Health test deadlines for things like life insurance that you might now get a poor rate with
Essentially, each person needs to take time management seriously. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It all comes down to how we spend it. If you feel you are pressed for time, take a moment during your next long drive to contemplate what your priorities are. Think about what time wasters you can get rid of. Consider how you can delegate or decrease the amount of time it takes to complete specific tasks in your day.
3 You are too tired
The most significant contributors to how much energy we have come down to our sleep quality and quantity, water intake, calories/ nutrients, and stress levels. Suppose you feel like you don’t have the energy to get through the tasks you need to do. Consider starting with your sleep and water.
Why is sleep so important to consider?
- Sleep is one of the most critical and underestimated factors in our overall health. If your sleep is poor, your health will follow.
- Sleep is part of your circadian rhythm (See Figure 3) which is the biological clock internal to our bodies via chemical secretions and reactions. However, it also interacts with our external environment via light, noise, temperature, etc.
- If your circadian rhythm is off, it will cause a harmful chain reaction of physiological adaptations leading to disease.
- Americans are chronically sleep-deprived, which is a central factor in weight gain, stress, and poor immunity.
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to optimize their energy. Athletes recovering from workouts or individuals recovering from injury might even need more sleep. The same goes for stress. If your physical body and mind are stressed, then you will need more sleep and downtime for your body to repair itself.
An average sleep cycle is about 90 minutes. Adults need to go through 4-5 sleep cycles a night to care for the body properly (Seen in Figure 4.) If your sleep cycles are getting disrupted or if you are not getting enough of them, you will often struggle with fatigue, brain fog, motivation, and weight gain.
Not having enough energy to spend on taking care of your diet, exercise, and health is a funny paradox. It comes from not taking care of those things to begin with. When you start to eat better and move your body more, it creates positive momentum that helps you do more and more over time!
I like to think of it this way, have you ever been stirring a beverage really fast in one direction? Let’s say you stir your beverage clockwise, creating a little whirlpool in your cup. This represents your momentum for moving in the direction you have been going. (This is the direction of gaining more weight and diving deeper into fatigue.) To change your direction and get the whirlpool to spin in the opposite direction, it takes quite a bit of effort and turbulence to begin.
Going from stirring your beverage clockwise to counterclockwise will create a lot of turbulence and resistance initially. The good news is that it will start to move counterclockwise at first slowly, but then quickly pick up momentum and get easier as you keep going.
It is the same thing with the relationship between our energy and our habits. The more we focus on our good habits, the more energy we will get, and the easier it will become. So start with drinking more water and getting enough sleep! How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
4 It is too challenging
If you find exercise or dieting too challenging for you to stick to, I recommend using the dial method. We talked about this a bit in another blog regarding exercise, but how can we utilize the dial method to overcome our excuses to diet?
I like to use the metaphor of a video or arcade game. You will often see the character’s stats displayed somewhere in the game. If the character gets damaged, you see its health bar go down. If the character collects coins or levels up, you see their skill bars fill up. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
When we play games like this, we usually need to focus on one upgrade at a time. Let’s imagine each upgrade costs 100 coins. You can choose to use those coins to level up armor, speed, skills, or unlock special maps on the quest. However, you can’t do all those things at the same time. You need to choose which parts of your character you need to focus on and level up first. That will give your character the biggest advantage in completing their next task.
It is the same thing in real life. If you find it too challenging to cut back on caffeine right now, you should focus on improving your sleep first. If you have a hard time improving sleep, then you can put your focus into time management skills. As you level up each skill, it leaves room for you to start focusing on the less developed skills after you have mastered the more critical ones.
Maybe you are doing a great job of eating enough protein and taking your medication daily, but you are terrible at drinking water and never exercise. You are terrible at those things because you find them too challenging. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
I suggest this, focus on the whole picture and work on the easiest thing to do first which will make the biggest improvement to your health. Usually that starts with water, sleep, and calorie balance. Read this article for more tips on how to lose weight fast!
Other suggestions for overcoming something too challenging are these:
- Seek guidance from a professional to help you navigate solutions to your challenges.
- Circle back to time management. Is your task too challenging because you feel like you don’t have the time to master it? How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
- Break it down into bite-size pieces. Humans are incredible and capable of anything. Sometimes we just need to scale things down into manageable parts. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
To sum it up
- Almost everyone at some point notices the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. Their success in achieving their goals is determined by their barriers (excuses) to putting in the work.
- The large majority of barriers can be overcome, scaled, or worked around. There truly are no real barriers that will keep you from your ultimate success in life, only perceived barriers.
- The barrier of not liking dieting or exercising can be overcome by developing competency, skill, and finding things you enjoy! How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
- The barrier of not having enough time for your health can be overcome by improving your time management skills. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
- The barrier of being too tired or not having enough energy to work on your habits can be overcome by focusing on the habits themselves to begin with. Improving your health will give you the energy to keep going. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
- The barrier of it being too challenging can be overcome by scaling down your areas of focus, or even from breaking each habit down one at a time to master. How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1
Are you ready to overcome your barriers and stop letting excuses keep you from achieving your superpowers? Call our clinic today and schedule your first appointment with us to get started. Our providers can address the underlying medical issues that keep you from losing fat. Our nutritionist can give you guidance on your diet and lifestyle. Lastly, our medical assistants will provide you with weekly motivation, inspiration, and support to keep you going! How to Overcome Making Excuses Part 1