Wellness is something we work on for our whole life. If we have developed good habits, it does not SEEM like work, but it is an ongoing process. Physical, emotional, and spiritual fitness require continuous effort, though if we are doing it right we will not even notice the effort involved. Sometimes it is focused effort … we might call this exercise, or meditation, or relaxation, depending on what aspect of wellness we are choosing to work on. Sometimes it is simply background effort, doing things in such a way that continue maintaining our health while we pursue other goals. Again, if we practice good habits, we will not see the effort as challenging (unless we CHOSE to push ourselves).
However, good habits need to be established first. Beyond that, sometimes life has other plans, and no matter how good our intentions we cannot manage to so easily do what is needed to keep our ideal level of wellness. When this is the case, it is up to us to do what we need to get back on track. This is when effort becomes more of a challenge. This is when we are tempted to fall back into bad habits, or worse, find excuses to NOT push on, because it seems so much easier. In the short run it may even BE easier. But ultimately we will see that we benefit more from continued effort.
So how do we avoid excuses? The simple answer is: Don’t make them. Unfortunately, we may be making excuses without even realizing it. Avoiding excuses first requires RECOGNIZING them. And there lies the true challenge for some. This particular challenge is one I personally face all too often. These are some of the tricks I have learned that keep excuses at bay:
- KNOW LIMITS – If we push past our limits, we will find our effort to be beyond us. This can easily become a reason not to continue. Instead of giving up, just lower our effort to what we can do. If we do not overshoot, our limits will grow.
- LEARN PATIENCE – This goes hand in hand with understanding limits. Like it or not, sometimes achieving our goals will not happen as fast as we would like. Without patience we might constantly push too far beyond those limits, ultimately giving ourselves the excuse of constant failure. Allowing ourselves to succeed in smaller doses may take longer … but we WILL continue.
- UNDERSTAND THAT LIFE HAPPENS – No matter how much we think we have control over our lives, some things are beyond our control. This is a simple fact of life. Whether it be due to some ailment that befalls us, or because circumstances interfere with our efforts, sometimes we simply cannot proceed as planned. This can easily become an excuse to not try again. Don’t give up. Adapt.
- BE FLEXIBLE – This is really a summation of the previous three points. When we find things don’t quite work in one way, try another. It could mean no trying as hard, or maybe changing our schedule. I could mean finding alternative methods. If we lock ourselves to a certain path, a blockage on the path becomes an easy excuse not to continue. Just find a detour, or a new path altogether.
- FOCUS ON WHAT WE CAN DO – This may be the most important point. If we keep encountering reasons that we CANNOT do something, we stand in our own way. Focus on what we CAN do, and we will continually make forward progress. We will also find that the CANNOTS become a smaller and smaller list.
Whatever paths we find ourselves on as we journey through life, how (or even IF) we proceed along them is determined by our own choices. We will encounter obstacles, but how we respond to those obstacles is also our choice. We can let the obstacles become an excuse to give up, or we can find a way to continue DESPITE such excuses. Only by continuing will we find our destinations. Beware excuses!