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Do you make excuses for not making changes in your life?

In reality I don’t know anyone who doesn’t make excuses sometimes.

I know I do. 

My monkey mind gives me all the reasons I need to turn around and walk away from certian changes I need to make. 

This week though something shifted and I have made some huge changes, that, I have to be honest, were long overdue.

The thing is, I’m usually pretty motivated. If I set my mind on achieving something, I invariably do, but a few things seemed to come together to defeat me this time and I know I am not alone.

 

What has been the issue?

Well, this time last year I was feeling great. I had been going to the gym, eating well, rehearsing every week for the show I was due to be in and I was feeling strong and happy. 

Then lockdown hit.

I made a rookie error and decided that one way I could try to help my children feel less scared and have happy memories of lockdown was to allow a few treats in our diet that we wouldn’t normally have.

It worked. Every lunchtime we would get together, watch an episode of Dr Who (our lockdown 1.0 treat) and have some crisps or chocolate, maybe popcorn and a film in the evening. Everyone was happy.

It was a great idea, if lockdown had lasted for the 3-5 weeks we originally aniticipated. The problem is we have scarcely been out of lockdown since then and the treats, though in fewer quantities have continued to flow. We have all been missing our friends and family and food has been our comfort. 

This increase in treats, emotional eating and of course working exclusively from home so not going out as much (I walk around a lot when I am delivering training) has meant that I have put on a few pounds. Not a massive amount, but more than I am happy with. More importantly though I am also feeling sluggish, not sleeping as well and my joints are hurting even more than usual. 

This week I shifted my mindset.

More truthfully, my mindset shifted for me. 

I don’t know about you, but I have been feeling a change in the air. The world feels more positive, people seem to be looking forward to life opening back up and things feeling more normal. There is less fear in the news, the statistics are looking positive and everyone is starting to feel more buoyant.

I have also finally got to a point where I absolutely had to make a change. I can cope with feeling tired and sluggish for a while but I’ve had enough now. But what have I done?

Well, I have dramatically changed out diets. Treats are only for the weekends now. We have upped our vegetable intake even more and I have been trying to get moving more.

As someone who has never enjoyed exercise this is HUGE. Going right back to primary school, I was never allowed to participate in team sports because I was the only asthmatic in the school and the teachers were worried it would make me ill. as a result, by the time I got to High School I already associated sport with not only danger but also being left out and excluded.  As you can imagine, this isn’t a great foundation for building a love of exercise.

Imperfect change

Throughout my life I have made myself exercise. I went to step aerobics and yoga when I was a student. I even joined a gym and went religiously for 12 months before I got married. I walk and dance and have a sporadic relationship with yoga.

I have owned just about every type of gym equipment; exercise bike, rowing machine, air walker… always second hand and usually with a squeak or glitch that put me off using it. I have bought a kettlebell, I bought a dumbbell and then yesterday I took the plunge and bought a cross trainer. 

I love walking and I love going out for a walk, especially if I can walk with someone else and have a good chat. I can walk for miles. Some days though I don’t have time to squeeze in a walk outside, or it is really windy (which makes my breathing difficult), this way, I will be able to walk or even run, short distances between clients or pieces of work. 

I know that this is going to make a difference for me. 

Making changes is about small, consistent steps and being realistic. That’s what I’m aiming for. I find it easier to do 20 minutes a day than I do an hour three times a week.

The biggest step is already taken. 

Making the decision to change is always the biggest and hardest step.

Deciding to do something and for the right reasons is so important to achieving your goals. For example, my change isn’t about weight loss. That will hopefully be a welcome consequence of the change, but my focus is very clearly on strength and lung health. 

The condition I have (acromegaly) causing joint issues, osteoporosis and also heart conditions and I am asthmatic, so being able to make my body as strong as possible is so important, especially as I glide through perimenopause.

Whatever changes we want to make though we can choose to listen to the excuse monkey, or we can prove it wrong. For the most part I am an “I’ll prove you wrong!” person, but unfortunately I am also very persuasive and think things through thoroughly… and so does my mind monkey!

In the same way that I can talk myself into doing things, equally my mind monkey can find really good arguments for not doing things. I have spent years battling: I can’t do this, it’s dangerous for me, I will damage my joints, I don’t have time… but I have made a conscious decision to change those thoughts and I can’t wait to prove myself wrong!

Just to prove that I’m not making it up. My new cross trainer arrived while I was writing this blog. We built it and took this photo just to prove it. (excuse the state of my office, we are doing some home improvements and lots of things have been dumped in there so it is all looking a little messy!). I have already had a quick go on it but, I will be getting up tomorrow, putting on my gym wear and doing my first proper session and I genuinely can’t wait. 

 

What are you making excuses about?

Kate's cross trainer

We all have things that we tell ourselves that aren’t true. 

When you realise you are making excuses, ask yourself these questions: 

Is this true? 

How do I know it’s true? 

What would happen if I tried?

What’s the worst thing that can happen?

I’m not saying that you can do absolutely anything, we all have our limits. For example, I might be able to “run” a marathon one day on my cross trainer, but I know I couldn’t run one on a road because my joints would be too damaged. That isn’t an excuse, it is a fact. I’m not making my life better by damaging my body, this is about positive changes not being stubborn.

For you it might not be about fitness, it might be about getting the garden tidy, clearing out the spare room, leaving the job you hate… whatever it is you are making excuses about, I encourage you to stop and ask yourself the questions above and see what changes you can make. You might be surprised at the results.

 

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