Making fitness excuses is like farting in public. Whether you like it or not, you’ll probably do it at some point. By keeping a fitness journal and understanding the psychology behind excuses, you can catch them before they develop.
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Whether it’s promising ourselves that we’ll start dieting tomorrow or that we’ll start running once it gets warmer, excuses come in many forms. Often, they stem from something called narrative bias. When given a choice, your brain prefers to give and receive information in the form of a story. Perhaps it wasn’t too cold to go running… your brain just rationalized this narrative.
Fitness coach Tanner Baze suggests keeping journals of your training, diet, and feelings, in order to combat narrative bias:
If someone is 8 weeks into a diet and they haven’t seen any results, it’s pretty damn hard to explain why it isn’t working if there isn’t anything to look back on. If food intake has been tracked — we’re in business baby. We review the data, and make tweaks.
A training/life journal allows me to recap and “get inside my own head” from that session, and see what I was thinking. Did I feel like the weights felt heavier than normal? Was I stiff? Did I have an injury I felt cropping up? That insight is invaluable.
Another trick is to think of yourself as a friend who’s asking for advice. Interestingly, people are great at seeing the rationalisations and lies of others, but they are vulnerable to their own. By pretending that your situation is a friend’s instead, you’ll be more capable of defending yourself.