How many times have you given yourself an “out” from a workout because you had something to do, an appointment to keep, a deadline to make, a child to attend to?
I believe it is so common that if you tried to tell me, “I never miss or excuse a workout.” I’d think you were lying.
The thing is, we all have obligations and time constraints (at least us mere mortals do) that are constantly competing for our attention. It is EASY to tell yourself you simply can’t take the time out for activity. No one is going to blame you because we all do it and it makes you feel better doing it yourself if you know other people are also doing it. We ALL have something going on and more often than not we will tell ourselves that we can’t break away for even 20 minutes to walk around the block.
The sad reality is, whenever you keep the mental dialogue of “I can’t”, your brain truly believes you and it doesn’t even try to figure out if you can, how you can and what needs to happen to make it where you can.
But let me challenge your thought process a bit here. What if instead of telling yourself, for example, “I can’t go to the gym today, I have a doctor’s appointment.” You instead ask yourself, “How can I still get to the gym today despite having a doctor’s appointment?”
With a simple switch in mental commentary, you can change your thought process from excusing inactivity to problem-solving on how to maintain activity. All the sudden, where before you simply took the option off the table and removed the possibility of a solution from your mind you are now twisting your thoughts around in order to “fix” or find a solution to making a gym session (or walk, run, playing with your kids, walking your dog) possible. And the real kicker? There is nearly ALWAYS a solution. The choice to USE the solution is the next decision to make.
Even now, for as long as I have been ingrained in daily fitness, I may be tempted to excuse myself from going to the gym, but the next thought experiment nearly always wins over; and that is thinking about how I will feel if I DON’T go. I will not like how I feel and I will be disappointed in myself. Who wants to feel that way? No one I know. So, maybe you’ll need to leave 20 minutes earlier or train for 15 minutes less. But something is always better than nothing and excusing yourself one day only makes it easier in the future to continue the pattern.
I realize sometimes there truly is no way around obligations, but more often than not, we are the main thing in the way. So next time you are stopping yourself because you “can’t”, change the dialogue and think about how you can.
What is your best advice for pushing past a mental block or working around time conflicts? Leave a comment below!