Excuses, and Being More Mindful

When I wrote the Mindful Living Program earlier this year (which is now on sale on Amazon, see below), I didn’t realize that simply being more mindful would help in so many different areas.  To wit, this morning I came across an article on how to achieve a great chest workout in 10 minutes. Before reading the prescribed routine, I quickly thought of how I would approach it.  Not only for chest, but thinking through an effective 10 minute workout for every day of the week.  I always play this little game that if my life suddenly became extraordinarily busy, how would I still sneak in effective workouts while juggling the demands of every day life.

That train of thought got me thinking about excuses.  Quite possibly the most oft-heard excuse by clients is that they just don’t have the time.  And while I will certainly concede that life with kids and careers and familial obligations is painstakingly time consuming, I think those that live a life of fitness make the time regardless.  When we’re in a time in our lives where there just aren’t enough hours in the day, we default to doing things by process of priority.  Very simply, some of us have fitness higher on that priority list than others.  As it stands now, I get up an hour earlier than I have to each day so that I can fit in my gym routine.  And if that time was somehow usurped by unforeseen responsibilities, I would find other ways to get in a workout, even if I had to resort to 10 minute tabatas.

And so what does this have to do with being mindful?  It got me thinking how often we toss out excuses for not accomplishing the things we know we probably should.  I started to think of the psychology of excuses, and that we likely use excuses for our own piece of mind.  Saying “I just don’t have the time” makes not exercising so much more palatable than saying “I’d really rather sit and watch TV with the free hour I do have”.  So, being mindful in this case means looking past the excuse and being honest with yourself.  Possibly, with seeing it for the way it really is, we can recognize that the excuse is paper thin and actually make a positive change.  There’s also no reason to think that you have to jump right into hour long workouts, or even leave the house.  Starting with short, higher intensity home workouts just 4 to 5 days a week will barely register an hour of your time in a 7 day cycle, but have a positive impact on your health.  Your excuse then, is gone, and I’m willing to be that when you start to see its positive effects, it will become a higher priority, and you’ll likely want to work harder.  Results drive motivation.

So, the next time you try to con yourself with an excuse, regardless of its nature, really think about (be mindful) what you’re actually saying and whether or not it’s just a line you’re feeding yourself to justify not doing whatever it is you’re avoiding.

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