This happens to everyone: You’ve set a goal of some sort and early on you’ve made good progress toward it. But two or three weeks in, as your motivation begins to wane a bit, excuses start popping up here and there. At first, you fight these barriers to success, pushing them out of your mind. Then a little more time goes by and one day you latch on to one of them. It starts simply, as just a thought, maybe something like:
“I know I should go to the gym after work, but I really need to get some holiday shopping done.”
At that precise moment, you have the power to make an easy choice between two options. You can either decide to go to the gym or to go shopping after work. If you don’t stop right then and there and make a firm commitment to that decision, then something like this might follow: “If I do go shopping, I can walk quickly through the mall and burn a few calories that way. I could even take the stairs instead of the escalator. I’ll probably burn more calories shopping for an hour than I would during my 30-minute workout at the gym.”
Do you see what just happened there? You created a bunch of justifications for your original excuse. At this point you could still change your mind and honor your workout, but you’ve made that outcome much less likely.
As I explain in my weight loss book, Reboot Your Body:
Your success in this effort will be inversely proportionate
to the number of excuses you make.
Fortunately, breaking out of the habit of excuse making is actually pretty easy. The best antidote for it is action of any kind. Get up and go for a walk; do a few chair stretches; open a blank document and get to work on something – whatever you do doesn’t even have to be related to the decision you’re pondering. The act of simply doing something will disrupt that cascading excuse-thought pattern and give you the mental space to make a conscious decision. While it can’t guarantee that you’ll choose the gym over the mall, it will put those two options back on equal ground.