"If a man really wants something he will find a way, if he doesn't he will find an excuse." Stephen Dolley, Jr.
The above quote was one of the first inspirational quotes I read when I joined SparkPeople over five years ago. It made such an impact on my life that I began to look at quotes or mantras, as some people like to call them, as a blueprint for changing my life.
For me, excuses allowed me not to have to take responsibility for the events in my life, whether that was eating well, making time for exercise or even organizing my home. After all I had so many more important things to take care, therefore excuses became my way of coping--in other words, it wasn't my fault. How could I exercise when I had work or family obligations to take care? How could I eat healthy when I didn't have time to plan and shop? How could I possibly get my finances under control when I just didn't have the time? And the list could go on and on.
When I read the quote from Stephen Dolley, Jr. it was an AHA moment for me. It made me realize that I alone was responsible for everything that happened in my life. I could no longer blame bad genetics for my high blood pressure or a 6th grade P.E. teacher who told me I would never be a runner. It was time for me to grow up and face the music as they say. It was time for me to take responsibility and quit blaming fast food restaurants for the bad choices I was making. No one made me drive to Mickey D's to pick up a serving of extra large fries and a Diet Coke except me.
If I was going to get healthy that meant I had to do the work. I could complain until the cows came home or I could step up to the challenge to make me the healthiest me I could be. However, that did mean that I would have to let go of my need for perfection and just strive to do my best every day without associating guilt and shame for my lack of control.
A few years ago I attended a seminar by one of the country's premier Sports Registered Dietitian's, Nancy Clark, and the words she shared made such a profound impact on me when she said, "Just because you had a not so great breakfast or lunch does not mean you can't have a wonderful, healthy dinner. Every meal brings the opportunity for making healthy choices."
That is true for everything we do. We do not need to wait until the first of the week, the first of the month or even the first of the year to embrace the changes we need to make in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Every small change we make that moves us closer to being who we are meant to be is moving us in the direction to be our true authentic self. Excuses take the responsibility away from us and do not allow us to grow and succeed. We all deserve to be a success, but as long as we have and make excuses we will only give ourselves permission to fail.
Do you or have you made excuses for where you are in your life? Do you think excuses gives us permission to fail? What changes have you made in your life to let go of the excuses? What mantras do you live by?
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