As we begin the New Year, we often look within ourselves for areas to improve and areas to build on, counting our successes and weighing them against our mistakes. But sometimes these areas are difficult to assess. In psychology, a scotoma is “a mental blind spot or inability to understand or perceive certain matters.” I think we all suffer from this. We have areas of our lives, habits, if you will, that are disabling us from being and achieving our best. Quite often it is the excuses we settle for that handicap us. After all, if you are looking for an excuse, any one will do.
When it comes to working out, here are some of the more common excuses people use:
“I don't have the time.” Treat your exercise time as you would any other appointment. Put it on your schedule and adhere to it. This simple step with your exercise time can apply to other areas as well and allow you to fit in the important things in lieu of always responding to the less important urgent things.
“It’s too early.” Often the problem isn't that it is too early; it’s that you're going to bed too late out of habit. Think about changing your habits to going to bed earlier, affording yourself the time to wake up earlier and get some exercise in before you begin your day. In my experience and observation, those who have a morning training time are more likely to adhere to their program, thus yielding better results. You'll feel better about yourself and your day because you began with something good for you.
“It’s too late.” Some people like the evening workouts, while others are left wired and staring at the ceiling most of the night as a result. Rather than doing a high-intensity workout, do a low- to moderate-intensity session. Perform at a lower percentage of your max, whether it be treadmill, bike, swim, or even resistance training. Going lighter will allow you to do something rather than skip your probably much-needed training session.
“I can do it tomorrow.” No, you can’t. You can do tomorrow’s session tomorrow. You can't do today’s session tomorrow. You're tricking and confusing yourself by not being honest with yourself and saying, “I am skipping today’s workout.”
“I just ate” or “I need to eat.” Planning can alleviate this. Giving yourself a two- to three-hour window to eat beforehand can prepare you for your training session. If you just ate, then go to your workout and go with less intensity. This may be an opportunity to work on your areas that need the most improvement: flexibility, balance, agility. Something. Don’t skip.
“I’m tired.” Maybe, but if you have been using this one for a long time then it’s time to saddle up to the gym and get your move on. Regular exercise has been shown to improve energy levels and productivity.
“I can't afford it.” Consider a fitness program that does not rely on the gym. Try a local sports league or home-based workouts. It will be worth it to get started slowly and save your money along the way for proper instruction to develop a safe and effective routine in the long run. Make the investment in yourself.
“I am too out of shape.” Really? Yes, I have heard this one and it only proves what was mentioned earlier: “If you are looking for an excuse, any one will do.”
As the saying goes, insanity can be defined as doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results. What is it that is keeping you from being your best? What excuses are you settling for?