Excuses are tools of the incompetent
February 22, 2017
I declare that I’m done with excuses!
A couple of days before 2016 came to an end, I saw a post on the Facebook page of the community where I live. A resident shared that he would be offering free HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workout sessions to anyone who was interested (3 times a week & 3 different time slots on each of those days) for the entire month of January. Sounds too good to be true, but I lie not 🙂 . I was so excited! I had already decided that weight loss was #1 on my New Year Goals List. Yes, I admit it; I’m one of those “I’ll start on Monday” people. It’s such a terrible habit, but let’s leave that discussion for another day. So, I was pumped that this offer was coming at the perfect time. Clearly, I was not the only one. As expected, there were quite a number of people commenting on the post and tagging their friends about taking up this offer. Seems everyone was ready to attack their New Year fitness goals. I just knew the sessions would be packed.
On January 2nd, 2017, I threw on some workout clothes, grabbed my mat (which hadn’t been used in months; at least not for working out) and drove over to the location listed for the training session. Well, guess what, I was the only one to show up for that particular time slot. Granted, I expected it to be the least attended of the 3 slots, but the only one! I was surprised. People don’t usually fall off their New Year Resolutions that quickly. I thought, ok maybe people are still recovering from the holidays and will join in later in the week. Well, long story short, I ended up being the only one that showed up throughout the entire month for that time slot. A handful of people did show up for the other 2 time slots but nothing compared to numbers that expressed interest. Now, I’m not completely naive. I do know that many people are all talk and no action but this really surprised me. FREE workout training, 3 time slots available (to accommodate almost anyone’s schedule), prime timing (January – way before people tend to fall off their resolutions for the year) and still such a low turn out!
Well, it worked out great for me! I ended up having free one-on-one personal training 3 times/week for an entire month. It was exactly the boost I needed to get started with my long overdue fitness goals. It’s been over a decade since I’ve been able to stick to working out consistently for any significant period of time. But this time, so far so good. I’m almost 2 months in (In February, I started one of the programs on www.fitnessblender.com) and really starting to feel the difference, especially with my energy levels, my stamina and my state of mind.
As great as the HIIT sessions were, the most important thing I got out of the experience really wasn’t the physical aspect but actually turned out to be a lesson on mental strength. It happened in the course of a short conversation we had during one of our sessions. On day 2, the trainer said to me, “I’m taking personal bets on who will be the first to stop showing up for these sessions.” I quickly responded “well, it won’t be me!” So, of course, I decided right there and then that I would see this through to the end, no matter what. I’m pretty competitive when I put my mind on something. Anyways, that wasn’t the light bulb moment; just setting the scene.
It happened a few sessions later. It was forecast to be a rainy day on & off and sure enough right before we were scheduled to begin, it began to pour! Since we worked out outdoors, I said to myself “well, we can’t workout in the rain so…” I put my mat and water bottle away cursing the rains as I did. I didn’t have any contact info for the trainer so I couldn’t reach out to him. I figured he’d understand that I didn’t show up because of the rain, not because I didn’t want to workout or had given up. But I didn’t feel settled. I kept looking out of the window. The rain was slowing a little but still going strong. I said to myself “I’m going to go anyways, at least I can say I showed up the next time we meet.”
Even though I was about 10 minutes late, I jumped in the car and rushed over (forgetting all my workout stuff). I pulled into the parking lot and I couldn’t believe my eyes, he was there alone doing his own workout under the little area in front of the community center that has a little covering. I threw on my hoody, got out of the car and ran over. The first thing that came out of his mouth was “Wow that’s dedication!” Next he said, jump in and get started. I didn’t have my mat but I got down on the ground and started my planks. I did have long sleeves on so it wasn’t the absolute worst but it did suck! I didn’t care though, I was so motivated and pumped by his words that I just powered through.
After the workout, he confided that he just knew I would not show up so he didn’t even come with the usual extra equipment that he brings for the workout. We laughed about it and he told me others that had his number had already called in advance and asked if the other sessions for the day would be cancelled. He shook his head and made a simple statement “people will always find an excuse to avoid doing something if they are not 100% committed!” He went on to comment that if you say “I cannot do ‘x’ because of ‘y’” then the bottom line is that you are making an excuse. Obviously, there are always exceptional cases, but it really hit home for me. No matter how factual or real of an issue ‘y’ is (or you perceive it to be), there is more likely than not a workaround or solution you can come up with if you really want to accomplish ‘x’ (your goal)!
I tell you, I have never felt more like a champ than I did that day, showing up in the rain to workout and being told that all bets were against me but I came out on top! And, since then, I’m so hyper-aware of my excuses, that I call BS even before it’s a fully formed thought in my head. Lol! But seriously, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my level of commitment, my drive and my productivity since I’ve stopped allowing excuses to get in the way of my progress.
The origin of this quote is unknown, I learned of it years ago in college but obviously didn’t truly understand or imbibe it till now. There are variations out there but they all basically share the same sentiment and begin something like this:
“Excuses are tools of the incompetent, they build monuments of nothingness and bridges to nowhere. Those who specialize in them seldom accomplish anything.”
My 2 cents on excuses…Don’t let yourself get caught up in the world of excuses, it’s not a place you want to live! Click To Tweet
On a side note, I think it was so awesome that Patrick (the trainer) took a significant amount of his time to offer these sessions for free so I would like to pay it forward by sharing about his healthy snack bars.
They come in 3 flavors. My fave is the raw cacao but he says most people like the pineapple flavor the best (probably because it’s a little more sweet tasting). Anyways, you can learn all about the snacks and make an order if you wish at www.bonussalus.com. There’s also a nice write-up on Hot in Houston Now. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Remember, make a commitment to leave those excuses behind and get one step closer to achieving your goals today.
What’s your #1 goal for 2017? Don’t be shy, put it out there. Share in the comment section below. I find once we declare our goals to others, we are more likely to stick to them. Let’s help each other succeed.