3 Common Excuses for Not Working Out -- Busted!

Type AThere are lots of excuses for not working out. Maybe you're busy with an important work project. You only have 15 minutes to spare, which couldn’t possibly be enough time for a worthwhile workout. Or it’s been so long since you exercised, you feel like getting fit again is too overwhelming to consider.

These arguments against working out have nothing to do with time, motivation, or desire. People with these excuses aren’t lazy -- quite the opposite, in fact. They are some of the most dedicated, hard-working people you’ll meet. Something is holding them back, though, and until they realize where their justifications spring from, they may never make that first step.

What’s the issue here? 

Being a perfectionist. Type A. Unwilling to accept anything less than perfection from themselves, perfectionists often won’t try for fear of failure. Check out the top three perfectionist reasons for not working out (and how to fix them):

Perfectionist Argument #1: I don’t have enough time to work out. 

How to Get Yourself to the Gym: The key word in this statement is "enough." Many people will say they don’t have time to work out. The Type A's among us say they just don’t have enough time. There’s a big difference.

There’s a common misconception that you need at least 30 minutes for a worthwhile exercise session, and honestly, if you’re a true perfectionist, you may secretly believe anything less than an hour isn’t going to cut it. The reality is that if you wait for the perfect amount of time for a workout, by the end of the week, you won’t have managed to sweat even once. Take what you would have done in an hour and break it up into smaller workouts you know you can schedule. Even if you feel like maybe it’s not good enough, the end result is that you’re getting more activity in than if you’d waited for the "right" time. 

Perfectionist Argument #2: I’ll focus on exercise and fitness when I’m not so busy with (insert current project here).

How to Get Yourself to the Gym: It’s natural for a perfectionist to focus on one big issue at a time. If you have a big project at work, then all your energy is fixed on that single project. The idea of leaving work at a normal hour to go to the gym or to go running before work when you could get to the office earlier instead would be detracting from your single-minded dedication to a task. If this sounds like you, then you needn’t try to convince yourself to the contrary.

Simply remind yourself that sometimes taking a short break from what you’re working on can refocus your energy. Therefore, by taking time to do something like exercising, which is unrelated to your current project, you could actually increase your productivity.

Perfectionist Argument #3: I haven’t worked out in eight years -- why should I even bother starting now? Or, along the same lines, if you feel like you have a lot of weight to lose or a lot of ground to cover before you can call yourself "fit," the idea of even beginning the quest can seem like too much to handle.

How to Get Yourself to the Gym: This way of thinking isn’t exclusive to being Type A. It’s easy to become overwhelmed if your goal seems like it’s insurmountable at first. I know you’ve heard the advice to break a big goal up into smaller goals, and that’s a great approach.

If you’ve tried that, but you still feel like you’re never going to get anywhere, what about trying a new goal? Let’s say your current goal is to lose 100 pounds. Change it up and make your new goal to fit exercise into your life every day -- whether that’s working out at a gym, taking the stairs when you can, or taking a 10-minute walk break at lunch time. By totally ignoring the big goal and choosing a different goal you know you can tackle, you’ll have the added benefit of chipping away at that 100-pound weight loss without even having to face it head-on.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these? How do you convince yourself to work out anyway?


Image via David Salafia/Flickr

exercise, healthy habits, personal trainer