“Eighty percent of success is showing up.” – Woody Allen
Do you have anyone in your life who you can count on…to come up with excuses? You know the type of person I’m talking about. These folks seem to have absolutely the worst luck in the world. When it’s time for them to show up for you they have a flat tire, a sprained ankle, or a sewer pipe that broke and flooded their basement. If you made plans a month ago to get together, some minor calamity will befall them hours before you’re supposed to get together. These folks always seem to contract a mystery illness, have automotive problems, or random commitments that pop up at the last minute. I’m going to guess that we all have had experience with these types of people and eventually we come to the inevitable conclusion that we cannot depend on them to show up for us.
It is certainly disappointing and frustrating to find out that you can’t depend on a friend to come through for you, even if it’s just engaging in purely social things. However, it’s even more unfortunate when we fail to come through for ourselves.
Much like our flaky friends, we can become experts at making up lame excuses to avoid taking action. We tend to do this by justifying our reasons with logic, when deep down we know we are letting ourselves down. Naturally, this can occur in any area of life and I find it is a major challenge when it comes to health, fitness, and proper diet.
Human beings can justify almost anything within our own minds. Whether it’s purchasing some gadget or toy we don’t really need (and won’t use more than once) or parking next to a fire hydrant because, “it’s just going to be for a minute.” These are small things with minor consequences, but the habit of justifying laziness and apathy is invariably fatal to success.
For example, let’s imagine that as part of my New Year’s Resolution to get in shape, I committed to go the gym and exercise three times per week. And today, when my alarm clock went off at 6:00 a.m. I went through a series of reasons why it was definitely not a good idea to go to the gym today.
Perhaps my inner dialogue could go something like this:
“I did not sleep well at all last night and it would be pointless to even try to work out. I’m just not going to be into it at all. I’ll just go tomorrow instead.”
“Plus, I’m still a little bit sore from my last workout and I don’t want to overdo it. After all, if I hurt myself I won’t be able to train at all.”
“And, I think I’m starting to feel a little bit of a cold coming on, and working out will only make it worse.”
“Oh, and last time I went to the gym on a Wednesday it was way too crowded! I don’t want to have to wait to use any of the equipment. I’ll be there all day.”
The challenge is the potential truth in all these statements and that’s why it becomes easy to justify laying in bed. However, deep down I know none of those reasons is serious enough to keep me from training if I really wanted to keep my commitment to myself. The reality of the situation is I want to lay in bed because it is a lot easier to stay in a warm, comfortable bed than it is to drag myself to the gym in freezing weather so I can punish myself with cardio and weights for 90 minutes. However, admitting that I just want to sleep in makes me a lazy bum, while skipping because I am sleep deprived, sick and sore does not.
Way too often that’s how it is with the reasons we give ourselves. We have the reasons that “sound good” that we tell ourselves and then we have the real reasons that we dare not admit. And the problem is it becomes easier with each time we make excuses and don’t show up for ourselves. It becomes a habit. Pretty soon any old excuse will do and our health, fitness, and goals in all areas of our lives suffer because of it.
“The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.” – Dr. Robert Anthony
I believe successful people have an uncanny ability to be honest with themselves. I encourage you to make a real effort to be honest with yourself next time you plan on ditching your workout, straying from your healthy diet, or failing to show up for yourself. Ultimately, no one is going to force you to take care of yourself, no one is going to pursue your goals for you, and no one can make you show up for yourself. It’s up to you.