My Top 3 Excuses

All this talk about productivity, calendaring, discipline, and consistency on a daily basis. You people reading this blog might start to get the wrong idea. I’m not as good as the posts I’ve been writing this week. While I will admit that I am pretty proud of the fact that I stuck with, worked hard, and completed P90X…I had my moments.

In an earlier post, I talked about how I would lie to myself. My inner “me” would try to convince the rest of “me” to not do what needed to be done. Seth Godin calls this “the resistance” or “the lizard brain.” (Folks…you gotta read his latest book, Linchpin…I’m just saying).

So let me bring this whole thing back down to my reality for a moment. I often have great excuses for not doing the things I need to be doing. In fact, I’ve awarded three of them Top Honors for their powerful effect on my momentum and productivity. Here they are…

1. I don’t feel like it.

Ahhh…feelings, nothing more than…feelings. For some reason, my inner “me” has teamed up with my emotions and is waging a war inside. My feelings aren’t concerned with my intentions, they only flare up when I’m about to take action. They don’t mind me writing out my schedule and planning ahead, they only kick into gear when I’m starting to rise to go workout. Feelings hit me when the alarm clock goes off and I have to get up. They start to bubble up when I sit down to work on a writing project. They enter the conversation in my head when I’m about to have a difficult conversation that needs to happen.

My remedy: Ignore my feelings. Values and priorities need to win out in the feelings battle. At the very least, ignore the feelings that tell me not to and embrace the great feelings that come at the end of accomplishment.

2. I can do this tomorrow.

Yup. It’s the ‘ol procrastination demon that sits on my shoulder and tells me about all of the potential that I can achieve…tomorrow. I can have everything I need to accomplish a task right in front of me (with plenty of time) and still hear the voice saying put it off – you still have time. One of the things I really liked about P90X is the requirement to workout six days a week. That only gave me one day to make up any workouts. There were so many days that I found myself thinking I’ll get it in tomorrow. But this type of thinking carries over to the next day. The truth is tomorrow never comes…it’s always today.

My remedy: There are so many techniques to fighting this one. I’ve created today lists. I use the 5 minute rule: Tell yourself you’ll only do it for 5 minutes – but you’ll typically keep going because the hardest part is just starting. I make appointments (rarely break appointments). Accountability is also huge in this area (brutally honest accountability).

3. I can’t.

I find that I defeat myself in my mind before I’m ever defeated through my actions or circumstances. I often set up my own self-imposed limitations. My mind quits way before my body does. I don’t know how many times I’ll hear my own children say I can’t and I’ll tell them all the reasons why I believe they can. Too bad I don’t remember those motivating messages when I start saying those two words.

My remedy: Decipher I can’t. Know what it really means: I won’t, I don’t want to, it’s not a priority to me, I’m not willing to pay the price to accomplish this, or I really (physically, emotionally, and mentally) can’t. A better response is: I’ll try.

What kind of excuses do you have? Are you ready to own up to them in the comments below? Would love to have you join in.

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