ExcusesExcuses are one of the best thing that get us out of everything, they’re little lies that we tell ourselves that let us be lazy, or let us stay in bed for an extra hour – they are the biggest destroyers of goals everywhere. In work, “I’d have got that project if………” We’ve all said something like it. Excuses have their place – when they’re valid, and only then. Kids had to stay off school so you’re looking after them, you’ve broken your finger and can’t lift – both valid excuses but the others, no, you’re not getting away with it. I’m not letting you away with it and you shouldn’t either. As I was working out with a personal trainer and thought I couldn’t do another sprint up a hill, with a weighted vest he said one thing that stuck with me - “You can make excuses or you can get what you want, but not both.” Now The Pulse has a pretty healthy readership (pun not intended) and we all have goals in fitness (otherwise you would just be on the weight watchers boards, no lifting required) so you can guarantee that you’re not the only one goal setting for the year, planning the summer six pack, or a Tough Mudder/Spartan type event – or maybe even a run (Really? Here?) so take time with me to set this up – good habits.
Habit forming[caption id="attachment_3563" align="aligncenter" width="650"] Get up and become active![/caption] The rumour is that it takes anything from 21 to 30 days to build a habit. Jeremy Deans (Making Habits, Breaking Habits) found that this was closer to 66 days to start something new that you didn’t do – something that wasn’t a massive change in your life – and build a habit from it. We’re going to take one week to break in to your subliminal conscience and start the ball rolling on habit forming. Extrapolating for 66 days is quite tough and takes a lot of though, preparation and forward planning so we’re going to concentrate on 7 days.
Your perfect weekI’d like you to take time and do this exercise – don’t worry this isn’t physical – take a piece of paper and write down the 7 days of the week. I’m not fussed if it starts on a Sunday a Monday or a Wednesday, just have 7 days on it. Now write in the things you must do, or can’t get away from. Sleep, work and travel will normally fill some of this as will childcare if you have any kids. Now fill in some “social time” – you’re only allowed this if you have kids or a spouse/long term partner, I’m not going to determine how much time this is but your rational self will fight for both time exercising to achieve your fitness goal and spending time with your loved ones. (Note I said loved ones, your mates can lay off messing around in your company for one week.) Now fill in your exercise regime. Excellent, have you planned three, four days of quality time in the gym. Great, I want you to also plan your workouts when you’re there – leg day? Chest day? Intervals? I don’t want you turning up at the gym and wasting time going from machine to machine just because they’re free I want you to go in there and know what you want to do and where you’re going before you even get there. Now plan your eating timetable, for this I don’t just mean your breakfast lunch and dinner but what you will eat – plus any extra refeeds, protein shakes after a workout etc. Take this list and head to the grocery store and buy what is on your list. This is one of the main proponents of your perfect week and is called PREPARATION. So here you have it, a plan, a budget for your time. Written down in ink, no wavering, no maybes, no excuses. Barring the fact that some of you will actually have emergencies that week that’s fine, challenge yourself to complete this ‘perfect week’ before the end of next month (giving you time to clear a week, get a baby sitter, have the car MOT’d and get the space you need.
The follow onThe follow on is the most interesting part as you will know where you went wrong and where you went right with your plan, you can tweak the next plan giving you an even more perfect week. You should be more excited about that because if you manage to string a few of these together then your perfect week becomes your perfect month, your perfect months becomes two, all of a sudden you’ve built this habit of working out, or you’ve planned your nutrition strategy all from a seven day plan. There are no excuses in working towards your goals and the worst of it is there is only one person who believes your excuses and it is the same person who benefits from not having them. You.