Lemme ask you this. When you hear phrases like “the time is now” and “you’ll always have an excuse- just do it” and things like that, what is your initial response? For me, these statements tend to be from people who are trying to convince you to take a specific step towards mental, physical, or emotional well being. Sometimes they’re selling something, sometimes they’re a motivational speaker, or sometimes they just want to feel like someone else feels the same way and will join them in their passion. So what response do you typically have to them? Is there a right or a wrong way to respond? How do you know that you aren’t being either too lazy or too enthusiastic to jump in or run off? Personally, I have found that there 3 common responses. I’d like to cover those, the pros and cons to each, and then I’ll tell you which one I am. After you read this, I’d love to know which response you tend to have!
P.S. Obviously all of this is from my personal observation/ experiences/ perspective and not based off of a physiological degree or formal training. These are general statements and not by any means absolutes with no variations.
1- “Absolutely! Let’s go! Right now!”
This response tends to come from the person who jumps in with both feet enthusiastically willing to conquer whatever problem they’re being challenged to fix in their life. The high enthusiasm is often the key ingredient in making them succeed. They are optimistic about the outcome, positive no matter the obstacle, and their zeal can be infectious therefore encouraging other people to join them and/ or cheer them on, and thus building a community and support system that keeps them going for the long haul.
The downside to this response is these people often get over committed by saying yes all the time, obviously leading to burn out, have to end up picking and choosing which challenge or cause they want to stick to, feeling like they can’t let the enthusiasm wain for fear of judgement and criticism, and it can all ultimately lead to just as hard of an emotional, mental, or physical crash as it was a high because feelings of doubt and failure start to creep in.
Something surprising is that this response can come from introverts just as much as from extroverts. The motivation can be stemming from something as simple as wanting to accomplish said thing or can go even deeper like just wanting to feel important/ included/ thought well of by those around them. It really depends on the person and may even be a mixture of both root motivators.
2- “I plan on doing this soon but now is not a good time because…”
I think you’d agree with me that this is the number one response most people tend to have. Some reasons are valid (especially when said in earnest and not to brush someone off) like financial situation, not having time, having to confer with their spouse, season of life, etc. It is typically given by the person who is non-committal, shrewd, or indecisive. This response, the motivation, and the person behind it can often be the hardest to evaluate. Especially if that person is yourself. Yep- deep down we all know if we’re making an excuse or stating a valid reason.
There’s a difference ya know- between an excuse and a reason. An excuse is something you come up with to completely avoid taking responsibility or committing to something you just don’t feel like doing. A reason is a validated situation that truly keeps you from being able to do whatever is being posed to you. And you know something else that’s crazy? Genuine and sincere reasons (especially situational) can and often do turn into excuses. But I’ll address that a little more in a minute.
So what are the pros and cons with the person that tends to be behind this response? Well I think the pros are pretty obvious. This type of person normally doesn’t get too over committed, they take time to really do their research and think things through so they can make an informed decision, and ultimately (if they’re known for being shrewd and not an excuse maker) they are naturally admired and respected for being an independent thinker and self informed.
On the con side, these peeps can also be viewed as non-committal, lazy, and unreliable. If there’s a pattern in their behavior and lifestyle that shows they never say yes, eventually no one approaches them for anything regardless of whether they’re selling something or just trying to be a friend and include them. Then these people can shut down and make even more excuses and the vicious cycle continues.
“C’mon, Emily, you couldn’t be more creative than just ‘nope’?” I could try to be a little more verbose than a simple “nope” but I like “nope” better because it accurately conveys the vibe for which I’m going. What vibe? So glad, ya asked! It’s the decisive essence of the final response. The “regardless of the type of person I am, my reasons, or whatever else you ask me, my answer is just no.” And yep- you guessed it. This response isn’t just from over confident, heartless people that have it all together or simply don’t give a crap what you think of them. Introverts and type B personalities can also have this answer ready to go.
Pros? Typically never taken advantage of, confident, aren’t inundated with people bothering them all the time, definitely don’t get over committed, and just generally speaking have that courageous decisiveness we all crave deep down.
Cons? Often nobody wants to approach them even in a good way because they already know the answer (in case you couldn’t guess- the answer being “nope”). In addition, their readily given nope and the confidence it implies can also be mistaken (or rightly judged) as arrogance, selfishness, inconsideration, laziness, and a slew of other negative connotations. It goes without saying that with “no” being a generally negative word, a person using it frequently is often viewed negatively as well, whether it’s justly founded or not.
Moment of truth… which one am I?
Ya’ll… ain’t gonna lie. I have been all 3! I’ve gone through periods of emotional and mental highs that make me feel like I can conquer the world so I say yes to everything and everyone and just make it happen! I’ve gone through those phases of burn out from saying yes to everything so in enters “nope” mode where I just say no to everything and simply block it all out because I #canteven. My most common phase honestly though, especially last year, is 2. It’s been about 50/50 that it falls under excuses and reasons.
Now I want to talk a little bit about that thing I mentioned earlier… about reasons turning into excuses. You’ll enjoy this- it’s at my own expense after all. I had gone through several phases of saying “Yes! Absolutely!” to multiple diet and exercise routines. Some from direct sales with big promises, some from professionaly monitored sources and medical research supporting it, and others from random websites or health books I’d happen across. I was just desperate to find something- anything!- that would work. I’d gain weight on every single diet, after several months of committing and following the guidelines exactly. The more I got to know myself, the more I started turning into the person who said “not right now” or “when I have this figured out”. So for a bout a year and a half I had a very valid reason for not committing to anything too physically exerting because my fibromyalgia would flair up so bad I’d be bed ridden for days to weeks and therefore unable to take care of my home and family. The other reason was because I kept gaining weight. Off a diet and eating whatever I wanted, I *always* maintained but as soon as I went on a diet, I’d gain. (Like seriously, what the crap?!?!). Those were perfectly valid reasons to bide my time and try to figure things out.
Here’s where it gets good. In May of 2019, I was sitting in a doctors office crying. Crying because I was FINALLY (after almost 15 years of problems) told I had a genetic mutation that made my Fibromyalgia almost impossible to control, my liver not to function when I go on a diet (or in general for that matter) and it also explained all the other issues I’d been having with mood swings, depression, cystic acne, the list goes on. I rigorously began researching how to live with this mutation, how to lose weight with it and just in general how be healthy and fix all my problems.
In July of that same year, I happened across a blog article on Pinterest called “Let’s Talk MTHFR” and it had a picture of a girl who had my same overweight build compared to her now skinny self. Obviously she hacked the system. “I must know more!” And that is how I started learning more and more about Brittany Williams and that her and my story were so similar it shocked me! We also have the same vicious version of this mutation which made me realize even more how her mentality overhaul would work for me! She even had hypothyroidism like I had just been diagnosed with, multiple pregnancy losses, and was a SAHM that just wanted to love and live life. I read her blog, bought her books and by the end of July I *knew* what I needed to do to start improving my life.
Enter excuses. Yep. My perfectly valid reasons for avoiding changing things around and revamping my life became null and void because now I had the resources and knowledge I needed to make everything better. But it was a *big* deal. A *big* commitment and honestly, I didn’t want to make it. I didn’t want to say goodbye to gluten and all the good things associated with it like donuts, bread, Chic-Fil-A deluxe sandwiches (seriously guys- Chic-Fil-A!). I didn’t want to make all my meals at home (like I said before, I hate cooking). I didn’t want to feel bad about eating “just one cookie”. And I most certainly didn’t want to apply myself to all the mental and physical work that would go into it. So I put it off. I was like “I’m so over committed right now, I’d just fail if I tried it.” And due to my love of being constantly busy and overcommitted, that never changed. Then thank goodness the holidays arrived so I could say “New Years resolution it is!” That sounds like a valid reason right? Well mid December is when I found out I was pregnant with Leo. I got so sick so quickly that I lost 15 pounds in about 5 weeks despite being 90% bed ridden and completely inactive. I couldn’t cook so I definitely couldn’t revamp our eating. My valid reason of waiting until I was past the first trimester sickness was implemented. But, unfortunately, was implemented sooner than anticipated because the pregnancy was lost. Within a couple weeks of losing Leo, I emphatically decided “NO MORE EXCUSES”. I deep down finally acknowledged to myself that I had been making excuses, and reasons were no longer a factor. Ouch- that hurt. But from that acknowledgement and therefore resolution was born this blog. I wanted accountability, a record of my journey, and an outlet for all my ups and downs along the way. Okay, and maybe the occasional rant or rambling but hey- it’s a blog.
Two totally different people, with different motivation for saying this, both said essentially the same exact thing in the last couple days. One is a paid health and fitness coach for a popular company and his salary is based off of how many people buy the program/ supplements and do so recurrently. The other was a lady who gained popularity and a huge fan following because she buckled down, said “enough is enough” and ended up losing 125 pounds by changing her mentality and her lifestyle. She isn’t selling anything apart from encouragement and tips on how to just be healthy and make it doable. In essence, what they both said was this:
“You can’t wait around for motivation to strike in order to accomplish your goals. At some point, you just have to jump in and do the *right* thing and motivation will follow. Motivation will also come and go at times but, you *have* to stick with it because the only choice is seeing it through or failing. Motivation is fleeting and unreliable. You have to commit and stick with it and enjoy the bursts of inspiration that comes from those times of motivation.”
That was basically the abbreviated gist. If both of these people with opposite motivators and walks of life said essentially the same thing, it must be true… right? It got me thinking about how I kept waiting for motivation and the “right time” and it seemed to never come. And I wasn’t being lazy or sitting around at home doing nothing. I was simply avoiding making a commitment to something that I ultimately just didn’t want to be bothered with doing… at least not right now.
So I’ll ask you this- Are you making excuses or do you have truly valid reasons for why you can’t make a necessary change in your life? Big or small. Is there a possibility you’re in denial just as I have been? Ultimately, what do you need to do to turn your *reasons* into an “I’m going to do this!”?
I feel like life often seems to be an incessant, annoying game of trying to find balance, fix our lives and relationships, and settle into a reliable routine that gives us confidence and psychological safety. I’m tired of the struggles, questions, unending “what ifs?”, and variations I can’t control. But it isn’t like we didn’t already know that life is like this for literally everyone. At some point you have to stop waiting around for motivation and just grab the bull by the freaking big, intimidating, pointy horns and say, “NOT TODAY!”
Here’s to making life happen, one deliberate day at a time!