You’ve seen it before.
“NO EXCUSES!” plastered across sweaty, chiselled bodies.
“What’s your excuse?” underneath a picture of an incredibly fit mom with lots of toddlers.
Pictures of dudes with no legs doing insane overhead presses and women with no arms doing squats shown with the full intention of making us feel bad for sitting on our butts.
Hell, I’ve even been guilty of succumbing to the “no excuses” mentality. Scroll back three years on my Instagram feed and you’ll find the annoying type of fitness culture that now makes me cringe (but if you’re going to do that, don’t accidentally “like” a picture that’s three years deep. You’ll feel like a creep – trust me, I’ve been there).
But here’s the thing: I still believe in the idea of “no excuses”.
Except this time, it’s because I don’t believe in using the word “excuses”. In my world, there really is no such thing as an excuse.
You know, those things that hold us back from doing the stuff we know will make us happier and healthier?
That lack of time? Lack of energy? Lack of motivation/desire/willpower? Those LEGITIMATE things us women deal with on a daily basis?
Those things are often referred to as excuses. They’re blocks that are stopping us from moving from where we are to where we want to be, and there’s usually a deeper reason than the surface “excuse”. And here’s why calling them “excuses” just doesn’t jive with me.
How inspired are you when someone tells you you’re making excuses for not getting in the shape you keep talking about wanting to get in? Does someone pointing out your “excuses” make you suddenly feel ready to bust through any obstacle that comes your way?
Or does it make you feel defeated, deflated, and ashamed?
Now let’s spin it another way. Let’s say one of your BFFs notices you’re constantly talking about wanting to start exercising, but you never actually get off the couch and do anything about it.
Your girl doesn’t ask you why you’re always making excuses. Instead, one day she gently says “Hey, I’ve noticed you keep talking about wanting to get in shape. What’s holding you back from doing it?”
Would you feel more open to discussing the obstacles that are standing in your way? Would you be more willing to listen to her advice on how you can go after those things you really want, but maybe don’t feel like you really deserve?
See how these two tactics could produce vastly different results?
More often than not, growth and progress doesn’t stem from being made to feel bad about where we currently are. Especially for the women in my tribe, it comes from an understanding that life is crazy as SHIT, but hey – we gotta find a workaround, so let me help you do that!
I know some women respond to the “no excuses” fitspo stuff, and that’s great. At the end of the day, whatever works, works!
But in a world where we are constantly made to feel like we’re not enough – not pretty enough, not good enough mothers, not good enough friends, and just plain not enough – I believe our fitness inspiration tactics could benefit from a little more compassion.
There’s a fine balance showing ourselves compassion and allowing ourselves to stay stuck, but it’s possible to achieve that balance.
If you’re struggling to stay motivated to become that beacon of health you’re seeking to be, here’s what I recommend:
- Write out a list of all the things that are currently holding you back. Whether it’s a lack of energy, not enough time, not knowing what to do, or just feeling attached to the couch, be honest and write ’em all down on a piece of paper, without any judgement towards yourself.
- Underneath those blocks, write out at least one way you can work around them. Don’t worry about how you’re going to do it yet. Just brainstorm and let it all out. (ie. Block: not enough time. Solution: remove things from to-do list.)
- Pick one solution and make it your main focus for the next two weeks. You can either pick the one that will be easiest to implement to give yourself a relatively immediate win, or you can pick the one that will have the most positive impact on all the other areas you’re struggling with.
- Enlist the help of a friend, partner, coach or mentor. Tell them your plan and ask them to keep you accountable. Let them know you’ll check in when you’re struggling and when you’re #winning
See? It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s simple. And it doesn’t involve any self-defeating language.
What do you think? Are you motivated by the “NO EXCUSES HUSTLE HUSTLE HUSTLE” mentality? Or do you prefer a kinder, more gentle approach?