Excuses, we all have them. And we all try to explain why they are valid and standing in our path to success. I think though that there are other things that do indeed get in your way when you are pursuing any goal and you have to be prepared to handle them. I came up with three different categories where I think all of these road blocks fall: Obstacles, Priorities, and Self Sabotage.
Definition: Something standing between you and your goals that needs be changed, worked around, or removed from your path.
- Busy or overbooked schedules.
- Lack of money to invest.
- Frequent travel.
Make It Work:
There will always be something that unexpectedly jumps in on your way to success. The key is to plan ahead for small obstacles and take immediate action to overcome bigger ones as they appear. For example, planning ahead to pack your dinner for a long day at work will eliminate the dilemma of having no healthy food options at nearby eateries. You might not be able to join a gym to exercise but running outdoors is easy and only requires the clothing you would have worn to the gym anyway. The key here is to figure out how to get around this obstacle. There is nothing stopping you!
Definition: Not every goal is ranked equally. Things in our lives fall onto a continuum of importance and our priorities have the highest importance.
- Graduate School
Make It Work:
When most people say “I don’t have time”, they really mean is “It’s not a priority. Other things are filling my time.” You have to decide how important a goal is to you at the moment. Maybe you want to go back to school but have children first. It is not that you don’t have time to go back to school. You would just rather invest your time into raising a family. Same thing goes for weight loss. You say you don’t have time but the real truth is that you just haven’t made it a priority.
In order to make this work, you need to figure out your priorities right now. Make a list of things in your life that take up your time and energy. Then rank them in order of their current importance. Be honest with yourself because lying about this will only hurt you. Then take that same list and rank it in order of what you want their importance to be. Maybe you spend more time watching TV than hitting the gym. On your first list, TV would be a higher priority but on your wishlist, exercise would be. Then, take your new priority list and figure out how to make that a reality. Shuffle your schedule around to fit in your highest priorities. Drop those things that are taking up your time but you view as lowest priority. You only have so much time and energy, why waste it on something unimportant?
Self Sabotage (Excuses)
Definition: These are the meaningless excuses. They often are formed in a lie that you tell yourself and others as to explain why you are not committed to a goal.
- “I can’t cook.”
- “I don’t like vegetables.”
- “I have bad [inset body party here] so I can’t exercise.”
Make It Work:
Be honest with yourself. Write down a list of things that are standing in your way to being successful. Pick out those things that are just excuses. You know it is just an excuse when you start reasoning why it is a valid excuse. Can’t cook? Take a beginners cooking class. Hate vegetables? Figure out new ways to cook them or hide them in your favorite dishes. Injured? Talk to your doctor and a personal trainer about working around your limitations. Some of your excuses might fall under the above categories so think about those too. Figure out what is stopping your from reaching your goals.
I will use myself as an example. First, my most major obstacle right now is being out of the house for 10+ hours per day. This means I have minimal time to hit the gym and am often caught on the go during meal times. The gym thing has been slacking as of late (due to priorities) but I always make sure to pack several healthy meals in my mega lunchbox to always be prepared for hunger. I also have a mental list of acceptable foods to purchase when I really need to pick something up when I’m out and about.
My priorities are as follows:
- Grad School
- Husband Time
- Family/Friend Social Time
- Weight Loss
- Personal Free Time
I am okay right now with that list of priorities. Most of my TV-watching and down time happens during Husband Time. I rarely have my own time to spend just hanging out with myself (you know, doing things like panting my nails, reading, etc.) Also, grad school often comes before anything else since the amount of time spent on campus and the amount of take-home work adds up to a lot of time. I might be able to switch 3 and 4 but none of my friends and family ever see me already!
Finally, what are my excuses? Oh, I have those.
- “I’m hungry and don’t care what I eat right now.” (Yep, it happens. I care later but can’t do anything about it.)
- “I need to do X, Y, and Z first.” (I usually never end up getting to Z and my time just disappears it seems!)
- “I have to go do this other thing instead.” (It is really “want to” and not “have to” sometimes.)
- “I’m too tired to exercise.”
So there you have it. That is pretty much my evaluation of where my goals stand at the moment. My top goals are having a great marriage (this is a given) and graduating from grad school. Other social obligations and weight loss come after that.
You just have to remember that you can’t do it all at once. Your priorities will fluctuate. You’ll constantly be faced with new obstacles. You’ll always try to think of a new excuse if you let yourself. You just have to keep pushing toward those goals!