Are you failing to meet your goals because of a long list of excuses?
This one simple mental adjustment will help you to banish excuses and accomplish your goals.
My Exercise Excuse Script
Laura to self: I need to go jogging.
Internal Excuse Maker: Experts say you only have to do that 3-4 times a week in order to see results. Do it tomorrow.
Laura: You said that yesterday, and the day before. I'm running out of days in the week.
IEM: Well, it's looking kind of overcast out there. It might rain. And you wear glasses without windshield wipers, so when it rains, you can't see. What if you step in a pothole? You have children to care for. You shouldn't do that to your family. Better stay home today.
Laura: Yes, I have children to care for and I want to be alive to see them grow up, so I'd better go today.
IEM: Speaking of which, they are probably going to wake up from their nap any minute. You probably don't have time to go jogging.
Laura: Well, then, I'd better go now, huh?
IEM: Remember the dog? He followed you up the street the last time, barking ferociously. You were terrified and if that nice man hadn't chased him off, you might be in the hospital right now recovering from rabies shots.
Laura: But maybe he won't be there today. Maybe I can carry a stick.
IEM: That will look cool. Go ahead. Do that. And then those construction workers will really stare when you jog past.
Laura: I'll take a different route to avoid the construction site.
IEM: Oh, and don't forget: your shoes are at the repair man, getting glued back together because they are five years old and falling apart.
Laura: Aack! I forgot about that.
IEM: So, see, you can't go. Told you so.
It's called ego depletion. After arguing long enough with your Internal Excuse Maker, you run out of mental energy to make the right choice (exercise) and decide instead to raid the freezer for a Dove Dark Chocolate Bar and drink a coffee or two.
At least that's what happens to me.
My No Excuse Policy
Something had to give, if I was ever going to succeed at my exercise goal. So I decided I would turn the excuse script off. Instead of listening to my obnoxious Internal Excuse Maker, I instituted a personal No Excuse Policy. I decided that I would not tolerate ANY excuses at all when it comes to exercise.
With my new policy, the Exercise Excuse Script doesn't even start running.
You and I both know which excuses truly are valid. All the rest are just a version of the "lion in the street" and should be sternly banned.
What are your goals for this year? Did you want to read through your Bible in a year, start a new exercise program, pay down a debt, or finally pursue a long-standing dream of yours?
More importantly, what spiritual task has God asked you to do for His kingdom that you haven't even started doing yet because of your Internal Excuse Maker?
Are you allowing your Internal Excuse Maker to run roughshod over you? Or have you found a way to turn off the Excuse Script?
Maybe you--like me--need a No Excuse Policy.
My new policy has enabled me to exercise six days a week (except when truly valid excuses come up, like sickness), and now exercising has become something I actually look forward to every day. Imagine if succeeding at your goals became that fun?
Oh, and by the way, that day that my shoes were in the shop? I borrowed my son's sneakers. They fit great and are much newer and cushier than mine. My IEM flipped out, but I jogged on air, not pavement, that day.
Try this one simple thing. Institute a No Excuse Policy for just one of your goals today.
Silence your IEM and start jogging on air.
PS--If you haven't yet formed a habit of reading the Word of God daily, may I personally encourage you to make that area your first venture into a No Excuse Policy? You will be amazed, as I have been, by the way the Lord personalizes your Bible reading to the challenges you face throughout your day.
Tim and Laura
Timothy and Laura Berrey are missionaries with Gospel Fellowship Association. They share a passion for missions which has taken them to several countries in Africa, Asia, and Europe. They currently minister in the Philippines.
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