A Virtue of Vigour – 3: Stop Making Excuses  For Yourself And Letting Others Do The Same

There have been various controversies over the years from negative public reactions to advertisements promoting health. One was a physically fit and attractive Asian woman with tight abs posing in front of her multiple children with a caption, “What’s your excuse?” Another of a model in a bikini simply asked, “Is your beach body ready?” How you react to advertisements like this says a lot more about you than it does about the people who thought them up. Chances are if it is in the negative, it’s because your beach body isn’t ready and you really have no excuse. It’s one thing to complain about the portrayal or sexualisation of women but is that really why you are reacting negatively? Or is it the reality of your own health and appearance that causes you to react negatively? Put simply, if you have a negative mindset, you will not get anywhere. Excuses are simply excuses and while there can certainly be good ones, they’re more often than not just the easy alternative to action.

I know this because I used to make the same excuses. When I was in high school, I really didn’t like the “jocks” and I had a group of friends that more or less went on the same way. I wasn’t physically fit, I was shy and unpopular and directing my frustration at the physically fit and more attractive kids at my school was much easier than actually trying to improve my health and appearance. The jocks could have been the biggest jerks in the world and deserved all the verbal venom I directed (indirectly) towards them, but the reality was, I was just using this hate as an outlet for my own frustrations and a way to avoid dealing with them.

Do you find yourself thinking like this? Have you ever made nasty comments about people who are fit or attractive? Have you ever insinuated that due to their high level of physical attractiveness that they must be stupid or vain? Do you dismiss their success as merely a biological luck of the draw?

Many of these observations might be true but they do nothing to help you or make you better. The truth is that some people are naturally athletic and some people do gain little weight despite poor diets and a lack of exercise. This truth is irrelevant to your success. It may be true that you have considerable trouble keeping weight down or bulking should you desire muscle gain. While this may be true, it doesn’t mean you cannot be healthy and fit.

This also comes under what was written in the previous step. Are you telling yourself or others that you first need to get this piece of equipment or program? Are you telling yourself and others that you can’t run because it is raining or snowing? Are you telling yourself and others you can’t have a better diet because you simply don’t have time to cook?

Again, there could be some or a lot of truth in much of this but this doesn’t mean they should be used to do little if not nothing at all.

When I first began running in preparation for a half-marathon years ago, I didn’t buy a set of running wear first, I just put on what I had and started running. Once I had got in the habit of running at least three times a week, I then started buying better shoes first and then running wear second. By the time I ran a full marathon a few years later I had become committed enough that getting the right equipment was not an excuse not to but a necessary to do it properly. As with any tool or utensil, items for better health and fitness are only as useful as the person using them.

Stop making excuses.

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