Clear your mind of can’t.
– Samuel Johnson
Leo Babauta writes on zenhabits.com rebuttals to common exercise excuses. Lots of people know they should be getting fit, but they can’t seem to find the time to form the fitness habit. Why might you be putting things off? Let’s look at the justifications, and try to blast them.
- I don’t have the time. Do 5 minutes a day. You can squeeze 5 minutes of brisk walking into your busy schedule. If you can’t, you might need to seriously rethink your priorities. Cut back on TV, Internet surfing, watching or reading the news. This 5 minutes per day (for now) will save your life. If you can’t go outside to walk due to the weather, do some pushups, air squats and lunges at home or near your desk. Start with 5 minutes of an easy exercise, and once you’ve learned to fit this into your day, you can expand to 10 minutes.
- I have kids. Take them to the park and play with them. This sets a good example for them that they will take into adulthood. Combine exercise and bonding time. You owe it to your kids to get healthy and stay healthy into old age.
- My job takes my time and energy. Yes, work drains your energy and sucks up your time, but if you put fitness first, you can do both. Workout before work — it’s a great way to start your day, get some key thinking done, get energized before you start working. Or workout right after work — it’s a great way to unwind, de-stress, and perhaps spend time with your spouse or friend or kids.
- I’m too tired. Not working out actually makes you feel more tired most of the time. When you work out regularly, you feel refreshed, energized, de-stressed, ready to take on the world
- I’m sick or injured. If you’re really sick, with a fever or serious medical condition, exercise at this moment might not be best — rest is sometimes better. Same with serious injuries. But often you can do something with lesser illnesses and injuries, and we just let the pain or tiredness stop us. Consult a doctor if you have a serious condition, but most people who just have the sniffles can still go for a walk or do some bodyweight exercises at home.
- The gym is too expensive, or too far. Go walking or running outside. Doing bodyweight exercises at home or in the office is free. You can do yoga at home using free videos online.
- It’s too hard. Start easy. Just 5 minutes of walking, or just 5 pushups. If that’s too hard, do 2 minutes of walking or 2 pushups. Starting small and only progressing gradually beats this objection every time, and is generally a good idea for other habit-change reasons as well.
- I’m not good at it. No one is good at it when they start out. Everyone has to learn, everyone starts somewhere. Get started — that’s the most important thing. You’ll learn as you go. You don’t need to read a dozen books or websites to learn something — just start, take it easy so you don’t get injured, and educate yourself as you go. If you’re worried about getting injured, do a free session with a trainer or find a friend who knows what he or she is doing.
- The weather stinks (too cold, rainy, hot, etc.). Do it inside. Go to a gym or public indoor pool. Or be brave and go outside anyway.
- I’m not motivated. Motivation is everywhere. It’s a mindset. It’s in the people around you doing something amazing, showing what’s possible. It’s in the idea that moving your body can be fun, joyous, miraculous, and that sitting is killing you.
You can have excuses, or you can move. It is your choice.