Overcoming Excuses To Get Healthy
By Peter J. Weiss, MD FACP – More Health Less Care
An excuse is a defense or justification for something that would otherwise not be acceptable. How about this one “Yes officer, I know the speed limit is 35 mph but my wife here is in labor and I’m on my way to the hospital.” That one just might be a valid excuse and you could avoid the ticket. The excuses we use to defend our lack of progress in managing our own health usually aren’t as appropriate.
Have you ever told yourself any of these?
- It’s too hard to get in shape.
- I don’t have the time to exercise.
- My genetics and metabolism prevent me from losing weight.
Now I’m not saying you should lie to yourself. Of course we all have physical and mental limits, but our excuses are usually the lies. Most of us are quite capable of doing more for ourselves than we readily admit to. Let’s look at the first one on the list, “it’s too hard to get in shape.” Is it really? President Obama would still be in the Senate if his motto had been “It’s too hard to be President.”
You’ve probably done some hard things in your life. Did you graduate from college? Get a degree in night school? Raise children? Quit smoking, drinking or using drugs? Earn a promotion at work? Serve in the military? Those things are difficult, but people accomplish them. Perhaps you’ve done some of these. If you reflect on this, I’m sure you will recognize that you’ve accomplished many hard things in life.
While serving as a physician in the Navy, I was stationed with the Marine Corps for two years. I’d often talk with Marines about their cigarette habits and urge them to quit. I heard, “But doc, it’s too hard to quit smoking,” over and over. “Really?” I’d respond, “is it harder than becoming a Marine?” Usually that was the end of the “too hard” excuse. Some would quit and some wouldn’t but at least the Marines that continued to smoke could begin to see through their own excuses.
Take your health seriously. If you’re a Marine, take it as seriously as you take being a Marine. If you’re one of the rest of us, take it as seriously as you took other major “hard” accomplishments in life. Acknowledge your inner personal strength. Ditch the excuses and start telling yourself, “Yes I can!”
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