Article: Excuses and Rationalizations

Posted: January 14, 2011 in Articles

Here’s where I talk about why there’s no workout journal for yesterday.  See, my feeling on the topic of being human is that we were put here on this earth with the special, singular talent of making excuses for our actions or bouts of inaction.  I am, without fully taking leave of all modest pretensions, pretty darned good at it.  If you come up to me and say, “I want to do X, though I know in the very marrow of my bones that it is wrong,” I can provide you with a good-sounding, reasonable, self serving reason to, indeed, do X.

Now, as one might imagine, that can cause me some difficulties, when I elect to use this skill on my own behalf.  Yeah.  I’ve got a good reason not to do anything, at any time, for any length of time.  It can be an impediment.  I can talk myself out of a lot, and have.  It’s really quite pathetic, as skills go.

I know, however, that I am not alone in this.  We all have a wonderful skill for not doing, or for doing wrong.  Yesterday, I could have certainly elected to get up at a reasonable time and do my caveman workout before work.  I did not.  Why?  I generally awaken with “fail” written all over me.  I am not good at moving early in the morning, unless I am required by someone else to be somewhere.  This was not always so.  I used to be the morning monster, doing all my homework for school in the wee early hours and loving the quiet.  I am afraid that I’ve just stayed up until dawn a few too many times to easily do that at this stage in my life.

That’s neither here nor there.  It is not important that it was really cold, or snowing, or that my recurrent abdominal discomfort was kicking up, or that my elbow/biceps is not fully healed, or that I was just really comfortable in bed.  The important thing is that the weight of my not wanting to do it was heavier on the teeter-totter than the weight of my wanting to do it.

That’s the cruel truth when things get in our way.  When we fail to accomplish things we say we want to do, we can usually isolate a great number of occasions in which we failed in enthusiasm.  We didn’t do the work because there was enough internal or external resistance to keep us from what we knew we should be doing.  In nearly every class I ever took, getting less than an A grade was the result of a choice on my part.  I decided that it wasn’t worth the effort involved to get the best grade, or I realized that I could still get a decent grade without putting forth any energy.  Am I some sort of crazy genius?  No.  I’m not dumb, but school’s not that hard, either.

This same thing often plagues us as we go toward other goals in life.  Whether it’s that promotion at work, or that lifting goal, or that ambition to one day be hip…we are often working at cross purposes with ourselves.  Religion and philosophy have a lot to say about this topic, and I won’t attempt to re-plow those fields, but there are a few things we have to ask ourselves when we find that we’re missing workouts and failing to meet goals.

1) Do I really want this?

2) Am I sabotaging my own progress, and if so, why?

3) Have I created a plan in which I’m doomed to fail, because I ask something that I can’t deliver?

4) Do I need to explore my priorities again, and perhaps make moves to allow me a better chance to achieve them?

Now, all this sounds like a lot to say about a missed workout.  Do I feel like it puts me behind, not caveman-ing for one session?  Probably not.  In fact, I have come to the understanding that there will be times, because of some old injuries, my long work days, and my non-spring chicken age category, that I will have to bend in regard to my workout schedule.  After a really hard session, it might take me a few days before I can stress a joint again without causing it really flare up.  We make just as big a mistake as when we work against our interests by sloughing if we are so hard headed that we cannot see that our bodies or our minds need a day off.  There’s no shame in going easy or just going home, if it’s clear that today is just not the day.  Most of my injuries, and resultant long lay-offs, have been because I haven’t listened to warning signs my body gave me.

What am I saying with all of this?  Well, two things.  The first is that we should search our minds to be sure that, while we make our grandiose plans, we’re not subconsciously pulling on the wrong end of the rope.  The second is that we need to assure that our grandiose plan isn’t so stringent that we’re doomed to stop half way through because we’re hurt, exhausted, or emotionally incapable of dealing with the pain and time investment.

Happy Lifting!

  1. Bobby-T says:

    What caused your elbow/biceps discomfort? Are you still shooting your bows? I’ve been able to shoot more and more with less discomfort. Perhaps the glucosomine/chondroitin therapy is starting to pay dividends for me. Confession: I’ll be getting another bow in about 6 weeks. It’s the G5 Prime Centroid. Check out the latest video on You Tube that I liked. I’m really tickled that you are doing “The Caveman Thing”. It sounds like your developing your strength in a very practical way. Any further attempts at THE RED NAIL? Glad to hear of your involvement on the Anthology project with Paul as well. I should probably send most of this via E-Mail, but what-the-heck, I was writin away and got carried away. Bob

    • Bobby,
      The elbow was an injury I picked up at work several years ago. It is mostly healed, but when I do something really challenging, it can flare up. The biceps is just fallout from my jackass stunts. I don’t know which one, exactly. It’s feeling better, though. I’m still shooting. The most recent time was on Christmas day, when I shot the longbow for a long time. There’s been snow on the ground every day since. I am excited about The Crimson Pact anthology. I hope it turns out well. Glad to hear that your own joints are responding well to the glucosamine treatments. I’ll check out the video when I get onto Youtube. Take it easy.

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