The Dog Ate My Homework and Other Such Excuses

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January 24, 2014

I heard a piece of news on WTOP yesterday that was very disturbing… By this third week of January more than 90% of all New Years Resolutions have been broken. That is astonishing. I’ve been thinking about it ever since and can’t help but to ask “WHY?”

According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, weight loss is ranked number one and staying fit and healthy ranked fifth out of the top ten 2014 New Years Resolutions. Both of these resolutions are tied to eating well and exercise. So where is the break down?

In my Medical Fitness practice over the years, I think I have heard every possible excuse ever made – too hot, too cold, too tired, too icy, too rainy, too busy, need to be here or there, need to take care of this or that first, too early, too late, too far, don’t like the gym, don’t like the instructor, and so on…

These are superficial excuses. There’s definitely more at the core of the matter. For most, it’s a fear of failure— “if I put myself out there to accomplish this goal and don’t succeed, I will feel horribly about myself. Further proof I am a failure, at least at this goal.”

Other deep rooted barriers include a personal history of repeated cycles of failure, lack of knowledge or confusing information about what is effective, human nature to take the easier way out with a fad or quick fix (usually impossible to stick to), lack of immediate gratification, and not truly believing that the effort put forth will create a benefit.

If you have heard yourself make excuses, nip it! Immediately write that excuse down on a piece of paper. Sit with it for a moment and ask yourself, is this really true or a cover up. What’s really the excuse? Pay close attention to your self-talk and make your New Years Resolution getting to the heart of the matter!

From there, make your goals small, attainable and manageable. Keep it simple and make it fun.

Wear a pedometer and simply move more if you are having difficulty getting to the gym; make one phone call to seek support from a fitness professional; select one nutrition goal like eat more fruits and veggies every day rather than focus on eliminating foods or pounds lost. Most importantly, find an activity that you really like to do. It doesn’t need to be fancy. Even dancing in your living room for 5 minutes counts!

I tell my clients that every moment is another opportunity to “start over”. We don’t need the first of the year, the first of the month or a Monday morning. Pick right back up where you left off. Use your “excuses” as a guide and adjust your goals if you see yourself giving up. I know you’ve heard this before … Just Do It!

For individual questions, or a good kick in the tush, you may contact Jody Miller at, or 301-299-6586