“One of these days is None of these Days” (H.G Bohn) Though most of us will never paint a masterpiece or sculpt anything worth displaying in the home, I’m amazed how many of us have mastered the art of procrastination (I’m no slouch myself). In fact, my inspiration for tonight’s blog is entirely based on my own self berating for not getting started on the list of 7-10 blog topics waiting for me patiently on my desk at any given time!
Although at this time of year, most people are busy procrastinating their taxes, it is safe to say that the greatest use of procrastination in general comes to people’s health, diet and fitness. Let’s take a look at some of the top ‘reasons’ (read: excuses) for putting off taking the next step in your health and how you might be able to put those reasons to rest.
1. I have been so busy// I am too busy today// I am the busiest person that every lived// . This is the most common reason I hear on a day to day basis. I strongly recommend you choose a friend or collegue who you admire for their commitment to their health, diet and exercise and take a close look at their life. ASK THEM how they stay committed with such a busy schedule. You are likely to hear things like a. They do it first thing in the morning (yes, even if that means getting up 30 minutes earlier) b. They schedule exercise in as if it is a meeting, or better yet they actually do make an appointment with a trainer c. They enlist the use of a buddy system d. They sign up and pay for a class to motivate them. While these all seem obvious, the key note is that those are 4 simple procrastination busters. Choose any one of them and see what a difference it makes 2. I don’t have time. Although this is very close to reason #1, I like to address this one separately. No doubt you and I could argue for 30 minutes about whether or not you have time to exercise, but usually, once this ‘belief’ is ingrained in someone’s head, it’s tough to shove back out. What I recommend as a more effective attack agains the ‘no time’ excuse is to actually keep a time journal for 3 days. (Yep, you can even get a handy app for it on your iphone or blackberry…just beware, they may actually be what’s sucking up your time!). It can be very eye openeing to see exactly where your time is spent. I once did this task with my coach, only to discover that I was spending upwards of 40 minutes per day mindlessly surfing around the internet. Just imagine what could be done with that time? Once you’ve kept your journal, take a close look at what you would consider your 1-2 biggest time wasters and see if you can’t lump those little bits together into one solid block of 30-40 minutes to either have a workout, prep some healthy food, make your meal planning and grocery list or go to your annual physical! 3. I have a sore _______. I could fill this out with a hundred different options over the course of the year. Some of use are more prone to injury and/or are dealing with long term chronic pain. The trick here is to identify if this is a Global problem or a Local one. Sore left hamstring? How about a swim workout using a pull bouy, or simply a complete upper body strength training session. Torn rotator cuff? You can still walk, hike, run, and spin, not to mention lunge, squat and work your core. This REASON for putting off your health is one of the best, becuase it tends to get the most support from others around you. Validation makes the reason more valid and the procrastination more justified. So take inventory of your aches and pains and challenge yourself to work around them. OH, and for the record, a cold is actually not made worse by exercising, contrary to what your grandma told you. 4. I’m tired//I’m exhausted// I am falling asleep in my coffee//I only got XX number of hours of sleep last night// I’m only tired today – I’ll start tomorrow. Unless you are truly sleep deprived on an ongoing basis, don’t skip a workout or choose an unhealthy meal based on this reason. Instead of procrastinating, use the time you had planned to workout to do something that requires a little less energy but nonetheless benefits your health. Make your meal plan, do some yoga, read an article on wellness, practice a meditation, lay down and work your core. Not every workout has to be at 110%. Use these days as recovery instead of dumping the whole day and getting into a rut. 5. I deserve a break//I deserve a cupcake// I deserve …… This is my all time favourite reason for procrastinating because I think it’s the easiest one to beat! The next time you find yourself thinking “I deserve”…try switching that around to health. An “I deserve another cupcake” sounds pretty yummy, but what about “I deserve to feel fantastic tomorrow for eating healthy today” . “I deserve to live MY BEST LIFE” Don’t you? I deserve is a very interesting phrase. We use it to justify bad behaviour, but those two words can be used for such good! They are the superheroes of vocabulary if you use them in their most positive and powerful way At the end of the day, procrastination is a very insidious disease. It is really scary how one junk meal can turn into 7 days of terrible eating; how one missed grocery trip can result in fast food for 3 meals, how one skipped workout can EASILY become a month of sedentary living. I’d love to hear what your procrastination “got to” is and How (if) you’ve managed to beat it back into a corner. In the words of the great Wayne Gretzky “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases, and it’s toll on success and happiness is heavy” Now get off the internet and go do what you need to do!