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If it’s an excuse, I’ve heard it. As a health coach and fitness trainer, I’m also part-time counselor. The laundry list of excuses goes something like this …
I don’t get a break from my kids. I’m chasing them or chauffeuring them all day long.
I have a family to take care of, there’s no time left for me.
My ________ aches when I workout.
I will exercise again when my schedule lightens up. (I call this one the “someday” excuse.)
After the work day, I’m too tired.
I don’t have time.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all about compassion. I get busy. I so get busy. I understand how a day can go awry. I get up at 4:30am to teach a fitness class. Then, my iPhone stops working. I have to somehow make it to the Apple store after a morning taping at the local Minnesota news station, back-to-back meetings, then connect with my team in the office and shoot some video clips. Oh, and my son forgot his hockey stick and can I please meet him at school. But hold on a minute, the FedEx guy is at the door and the dog has a vet appointment.
Yep, I’m compassionate about time and life chaos and managing it all. I hear you. I can relate. Here’s where you lose me: I won’t go to your pity party.
Nope, you don’t get to talk me endlessly about why you don’t exercise. I will listen to the reason you give for not exercising and I will feel real empathy. I will, I promise. But then it’s time to pivot to the positive and talk solution. What are we going to do about it?
When you are operating with a victim mindset, you are in your own way. @chrisfreytag
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You are slowing yourself down, sitting on your potential and getting stuck in a passive state. To leave the pity party and move from victim to victor you gotta take responsibility for your current circumstances, your choices and get on with the business of changing them.
How do you do that?
Start with a little tough love. I don’t subscribe to the Jillian Michaels scream-in-your-personal-space-and-tell-you-to-get-off-your-butt-philosophy. I think she’s great, but that’s not me. I believe in motivating from the positive. Get real with an honest look at whether you are taking care of your body, and shift to the positive by setting a small goal to get active. We may have to start with your excuse or justification but then it’s my job to shift you to the positive and discuss solutions and actions steps. My motto has always been “strive for progress not perfection.” Start with something doable and build upon it. What are you willing to do for your health? Answering this question is a good place to start.
Acknowledge your lack of time and then move on. I am sure you have perfectly valid reasons for not exercising. Managing time is challenging, but nothing will change unless you do. Don’t keep telling yourself the same story about not having time. Acknowledge your time challenge and look for a solution—even if it’s exercising just fifteen minutes a day to start.
Notice how often you are negative and switch to the positive. When a negative thought filters in, say “Stop” to yourself. Purposefully replace that thought with a positive one. Why is it so important to be positive in order to get exercising? You cannot be productive when experiencing negative emotions. Period.
If you are grumpy, irritable, overwhelmed, envious, tired, down, you aren’t going to get it done. When you shift and feel positive, open yourself to possibilities and new ways of thinking, that’s when you make the time, and get ‘er done as I like to say.
Break up with your victim mentality. Give yourself less of a platform for excuses. When you notice yourself formulating clever excuses, catch yourself. You don’t have to mentally beat yourself up, just give yourself a gentle reminder that excuses aren’t productive. No more “poor me” endless tales of woe for you. Aren’t you kinda sick of hearing yourself talk about how busy you are anyway? (No one gives out awards for “busy”) Don’t drain your personal power by living in excuse mode. Snap out of it.
Be kind to yourself and hold yourself accountable. Yes, I think we all could benefit from a little more compassion—to each other and to ourselves. When you are kind to yourself (a positive emotion) you will want to take care of yourself. Hosting your own pity party keeps you in a Merry-Go-Round of inaction and negativity.
Here’s the thing: No one is coming to rescue you, but when you make small changes to pivot toward the positive, you can rescue yourself.
Chris Freytag is a nationally recognized fitness expert, speaker, and founder of GetHealthyU.com – Helping U Get Better Every Day. Known for her fitness DVDs and as a regular contributor to Prevention magazine, Chris served as the chairman of the board for the American Council on Exercise for several years, and was named as a top ten fitness influencer by Sharecare. Chris has appeared nationally in SUCCESS magazine, on The Today Show and as a regular healthy lifestyle guest on QVC. Chris appears weekly on NBC’s Minneapolis/St. Paul affiliate Kare 11 News, in a segment called Motivation Monday. Chris lives in Minneapolis with her husband of 25 years. She has three grown kids, ages 22, 20 and 17. Find out more about Chris Freytag or connect with her at GetHealthyU.com on Facebook, Pinterest, and on Twitter.Join her Get Healthy U community by signing up for her weekly emails and get a free guide: 5 Fats You Should Be Eating For Health and Weight Loss!