Believe it or not, a key training that often comes up in my client work is how to stop making excuses.
The last program of the 2022 spring season was a new 3-week program called the New Normal Ninja Training. It rounded out a back-to-back running of the Body Sass® Cleanse Program and the 28toGreat™ Program, to create a total of 10 game-changing weeks of education, support and training. Participants absolutely RAVED about it. (And I’m offering it again in autumn 2022.)
Week two of the New Normal Ninja Training was “Build Health with Mind Savvy®.” We focused on THE most important factor in health, weight loss and well-being: The MIND, and how we use it. We explored the 7 top tenets of Mind Savvy® with numero uno being EXCUSES. HOW excuses cut our best intentions at the knees and WHY we need to stop making excuses.
Making excuses can seem like no big deal. “I mean, everyone does it, right?” Well, yes, but that doesn’t mean that making excuses is in our best interest. Forty-eight percent of Americans drink at least on glass of soda/pop a day, but soda is still terrible for you.
Just because something is common doesn’t mean it’s beneficial. What if I told you that making excuses leads to weight gain?!
Does making excuses lead to weight gain?
In my 1:1 work with clients, a main focus is working on what I gently call “perceived barriers.” (Eh-hem. Excuses.) The word “excuses” can get folks’ hackles up, in the same way that my pointing out that “Actually, you DID just cut that person off in traffic” might annoy you. Especially when you’re right in the middle of a passionate rant about people that use their horns too much. We don’t love to have our regular ole human messiness pointed out to us.
Besides, does it matter? If we stop making excuses, will we get healthier? Does making excuses lead to weight gain? The answer to all three questions is YES.
What would happen if we stop making excuses?
The evidence points to a worthwhile result: Our life experience would improve, in both subtle and powerful ways. Our health, weight, happiness, relationships, productivity, relaxation, work life, free time and vacations would all get better.
Let’s explore. Especially since this relationship between health/weight loss and excuses may seem a little ridiculous at first glance.
Excuses and their shadowy power
Let’s say you ask your spouse to call the plumber today to fix the toilet and s/he says okay. That night: Did you call the plumber? Answer: No, I didn’t have time.
No one wins here. You know darn well that out of the 480 minutes that your spouse was at work, s/he likely had 5 for a phone call. This no-time-scenario would also mean that your spouse didn’t have time to go to the bathroom, make a cup of coffee or stare out the window for a few minutes. So maybe you feel pissed off or resentful. And your spouse feels uncomfortable and defensive. S/he knows that what s/he said isn’t true and on a deep level, it feels bad.
A better and more honest answer: “I didn’t make time for it. I’m sorry, and I’ll get on it first thing tomorrow.”
Why are excuses so powerful? Because they are little white lies that we tell ourselves and other people. They build distrust, resentment, inaction and help us to avoid commitment. They erode our personal accountability and our movement toward our goals.
When we lie to ourselves, we create stories to support our inaction on things that we claim are important to us. These stories become belief systems. These little excuses build into a shadowy power that keeps us stuck.
It’s TIME to stop making excuses
Time is the biggest pawn in the excuse factory. We often use it as a reason why we’re not doing what we don’t want to do. That’s a key phrase. We can do it; we just don’t want to.
The story of our excuse feels vaguely believable and so we let ourselves off the hook of personal accountability. If we want to lose weight, build health, sleep better and create a Food Sass® Lifestyle, we have to put some skin in the game. We need to prioritize our use of time in a way that supports our goals. Sustained effort is required.
For instance, to create a Food Sass® Lifestyle, a bit of planning and food prep is necessary. As with most things, it’s the transition to a new way of doing things that requires a bit of heavy lifting. Once we create some systems and habits—a few weeks or months—it becomes a relative breeze.
But we must stop telling ourselves that we don’t have time. If someone offered me $100,000 to make time for just about anything, I could prioritize it and make it happen. Our time excuse is more about priorities and less about time availability.
When we believe our own excuses, we’ll keep gaining the weight. Because we’re sidestepping the effort we need to put in on our own behalf.
Further, when you tell yourself that you don’t have time to do food prep, you’re not being honest with yourself. You’re creating a story that supports your continued dissatisfaction with your weight and/or health. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, can carve out 30 minutes a day on behalf of their health.
How to get started in ditching excuses
When you stop making excuses, you become more empowered. You’re no longer buying into a false narrative about why you can’t ______ (lose the weight, heal your gut, reverse type 2 diabetes, etc). Instead of telling yourself you can’t, you ask yourself, “How CAN I?” GREAT question.
Notice where and how you spend time. Notice the situations where you make excuses. Not in a judge-y way, mind you. That serves nothing. More like a sleuthing way. “I’m going to get to the bottom of this whole time and excuse story and get serious about my health goals.”
When you stop making excuses, you liberate yourself to pursue what’s important and ditch what’s not. Once you shine the light of your attention on excuses, they don’t stand a chance. If you make an excuse with your outside voice, feel free to follow right up with a correction.
“That’s not true. I wasn’t late because of traffic. I was late because I didn’t plan well. I’ll do better next time.”
“That’s not true. It’s not that I don’t have time to make breakfast. I just don’t really want to, and don’t know what to make. Any ideas?”
These corrections build integrity. They build self-worth and self-respect. They also build healthy relationships. YOU—and the people and things you care about—are worth every ounce of your own effort!
To your empowered well-being,