Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…

I’m sure you’ve all heard that it takes 21 days to turn a behavior into a habit. So, when I first heard this, I thought to myself, “Oh, I just need to force myself to exercise for three weeks, and then it will come naturally to me!” Easy enough, right?

Not so much.

Don’t get me wrong, I would start off great. I did exactly what you were supposed to do—I would get out and run consistently, take days off to do cross-training, follow a training guide to give myself goals and so on. Then, something would throw me off. My knee would start to hurt, or maybe I would get a nasty cold, or I’d get scheduled back-to-back shifts that would take my free time to run away from me. And just like that, the routine I had so carefully crafted would collapse, and before I knew it, I would find myself fallen off the wagon for weeks, even months. Any progress I had made would feel like it was erased, and it would be just that much harder to get my motivation back.

I know I’m not that only one who has experienced this. When you feel like you’re just barely making it through each day, it’s hard to think about adding one more thing to the plate. Instead of letting your excuses persuade you to put it off just a little longer, face them head-on and disarm them.

The most common excuse I’ve heard is, “I just don’t have time!” I know this one well because I tell myself this almost every day, and it is my biggest challenge by far. I’d start out the day thinking I would head to the gym after class, but then I’d think, “Oh, I’d have to change my clothes, and then I’d have to drive there and back, then I would have to shower after…I better just stay home instead and catch up on my homework. I’ll go tomorrow!” Then, tomorrow would turn into the next day, then the next—you can see where this is going. Life adds up sometimes, so it’s understandable that you can’t devote hours every day to exercising. However, instead of watching the next episode of Criminal Minds on Netflix, you can:

  •  Do exercise videos on YouTube. It’s free, and you can stay home: win-win!
  • Tell yourself you’ll only go the gym for a short time. More often than not, you’ll get into it and want to stay longer!
  • If there’s something you need to finish ASAP, bring it with you, if possible. I’ve gotten lots of reading and studying done on the bike at the gym, and it kept me from falling asleep while studying ;)
  • If you absolutely cannot fit something in, don’t beat yourself up about it. But to make sure your rest day doesn’t turn into a couple rest weeks. Make a plan with a friend to work out together in the near future. You’ll be less likely to skip if you know your friend is counting on you.

 

I’ll admit, my excuses still get the best of me sometimes, but I’ve found these to be beneficial for me. What works for you?

Written by Jenny Beuschel, 2016 Fitness Ambassador