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You're not making "excuses"

When it comes to making changes in our nutrition or training, we often judge ourselves for a lack of progress or a lack of action. We call every roadblock that gets in the way an "excuse." But "excuses" - the things that get in the way of us achieving our goals - actually hold some value. We do things the way we do for a reason, even if that reason isn't necessarily "good" or helpful. Recognizing what your "excuses" are and where they come from can help you figure out how to overcome the real roadblocks to your success.

Understanding why you're doing what you do is key to making lasting changes. Take, for example, the scenario where you find yourself indulging in chocolate every afternoon at 3pm, even when you're not hungry and you wish you wouldn't. Upon closer examination, you might realize that you're turning to chocolate because you're feeling low on energy, and the chocolate perks you up for an hour.

This is what I mean - you may be framing the chocolate consumption as a "problem" and the need for energy as an "excuse." A different framing could be that you struggle with low energy in the afternoon, and there are a few different ways we can address that issue. By stepping back and evaluating the drivers for your behaviour, we can redirect those behaviours to more goal-oriented solutions.

For the example we're using, low energy might be a food issue, in which case we could increase lunch portion or incorporate a planned snack. If it's not likely a food issue, we could explore ways to restore energy at that time of day, or explore ways to accept the discomfort of that tiredness as being short term and not harmful.

The solutions will be unique to you. But problem-solving for the reasons behind your "bad" behaviours gives you a toolkit to overcome the things that trip you up.

Self-judgement makes this process harder. Berating yourself for your behaviors and labeling yourself as lazy, bad, or inferior because you're struggling to change a habit doesn't help you! Dealing with emotions around a set of behaviours separately to the problem-solving piece is probably a more helpful approach.

By reframing the way we perceive our roadblocks and behaviors, we can set ourselves up for success. Rather than viewing excuses as reasons why you're not good enough to reach your goals, we can see them as cues for where to start our problem-solving approach.

Change starts with forgiveness for yourself, identifying the underlying issue, and building reasonable steps to address the problems. Next time you catch yourself "making excuses," take a step back and listen to what your brain is telling you. Only when we learn to work with our impulses instead of fighting them will we win.


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