Taking a Stand Against Excuses

Excuses. You know those things you say when you are trying to get out of something, or justify your choices? The ones you use as leverage to not do some of the things you say you want to do, and you silently, internally, break promises you have made to yourself. I have heard them all, and I have probably said them all.

A coach take these limitations (perceived or real) and helps remove them as a barrier to your goals. A coach listens to what you want and works with you to create a plan to move you toward those things. A coach can thus be the most hated and loved person in your life. They likely call you on your shit, because they have heard what you want, and they believe in your ability to go get it. So they commit to doing whatever it takes, even when you may have given up, or gone off course. They may hear your excuses, may even validate your stance, yet they come back to what you want and stand for that on your behalf. In short: coach has your back.

Here are some of the most common excuses I hear on the daily (for health and fitness, and for life) and some reality checks from a coach (me) on how to work with them.

"I don't have enough time." / "I'm too busy." (same, same)

I see your lack of time and raise you with awareness. There is the trendy saying that you are given the same exact precious 24 hours a day as Angelina Jolie, Oprah and Beyoncé - which I agree with. It's not so much the amount of time you have, it's how you spend it. For a week, keep track of how you spend your time (like you might with a food journal). Be honest about how you spent it. How much time did you spend working? How many times did you check your Instagram account? How much time was spent watching Netflix? Don't go being all judgey with yourself about it, just state the facts. Then you can give it some real thought. If spending a night in with your partner cuddling on the couch is important to you, keep on keeping on.

I was once at a leadership retreat and one of my colleagues said, "If you're not busy working on your goals, what are you busy doing?" Mind. Blown. I was offered this shift in perspective and took it as an opportunity to really look, like really, at how I was spending my time. If you can honestly say that you spend most of your day working on something that matters to you, moves you toward your goals, fills you with purpose, then you may not have time for some other, less important things. However, most people I have met who are using their time toward their goals, rarely use this excuse, if ever. Here's how a conversation with these peeps sounds: "How are things going?"A: "It's been crazy lately, I have tons of projects and running around to do, it's going really great." 

Even if you feel "busy", try using different language with yourself and with others. Bring that awareness to your attitude about time and you may start to see that you have an abundance of time to spend on the good stuff.

"I don't have enough money."/ "I can't afford it."

Wowee this one is a sensitive one for many (myself included). I will use the same approach as with time, but with a twist. Let's assume you do have some money, ie. you have some kind of employment/income. As with your time, it may not be so much about how much of it you have, but rather a matter of how you spend it. The twist is that you can often make more money, but you can't make more time (unless you're re-allocating existing time, but you get the gist). If you're not willing to do more to make more money, how could you budget to be spending it in ways that better serve you? 

As with drawing awareness to how you spend your time, a valuable exercise may be to look at all the places you are spending your hard earned bucks. Print out those bank statements, write out all your expenses and see what you get. You may find you can cut a couple things out to build a budget for other goals (ahem, like training). For more financial tips, one of my all-time favourites is Leslie-Anne Scorgie's Well Heeled.

There are also a ton of affordable and/or free options for health and fitness out there. Like my 12 Week Online Training Program, which costs less than six bucks per workout! Whether you train with MAVEN or not, there are ways around the money excuse when it comes to health and fitness.

"I'm so far gone, it's going to be so hard, I might die."

This excuse makes me perhaps the most crazy, but it is also the most understandable. If you never start, then you will never know how it feels to miss something, to fail, to have to pick yourself back up again. I get it. I want everything to be perfect and sunshine and rainbows and be 100% compliant and on track at all times. But this is real life and that is unrealistic. Even 1% is better than 0%. For example: If you planned on doing three workouts in a week, and you did one, that one still counts! You DID it. Rome was not built in a day, people. Small actions, taken one step at a time can produce an incredible result.

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

"I'll do it on my own, when the time is right."

How's that working out for you? Even as a coach, I have coaches that I work with to help me toward my goals. Even with all the knowledge and tools at my disposal, I need support and accountability, just like you.

"The timing isn't right."

Maybe you have a crazier season for work, or a lot of commitments, but if something is important to you, you'll work it into the madness. The people around you will understand if you have to miss something, show up a bit late or leave a bit early, and will even step in if you need their help because they know you are working towards your goals (and if they aren't, see what I have to say about naysayers here). There is such thing as the perfect time and that time is now.

"I have an injury, I'm waiting for it to heal before I start anything."

A good coach can work around injuries. Unless you're completely immobile, there are always things you can be doing that are good for your body, and likely good for your mental fortitude and confidence. Did you catch any of the recent Paralympic games? 'Nuff said. If you hurt your arm, don't make your legs pay for it by neglecting them. They were created to squat, so let 'em. 

There will always be excuses to be made, and excuses erode your personal integrity. Personal integrity being the relationship you have with yourself about keeping your word. Don't wait to do something toward what you want. Build your life around the things you want, and relentlessly pursue these things. Use your gift of willpower when needed. Become aware of where you are making excuses and consider their legitimacy. 

If you're ready to start now, registration is open for my next 12 Week Online Training Program which starts Monday, September 5th. Check out the FAQ here if you need more info.

Sydney Guevremont
Sydney Guevremont