Excuses and Habits

Hello Media.

I have to apologize.  Half of October is done and gone and this will be my first post for the month.  There are several reasons as to why but when the title of your post is “Excuses and Habits” then I can’t very well start off by making excuses.

The truth is I am an excuse guy.  I have referred to the fact earlier that I am a people-pleaser.  A byproduct of that is I have the ability to be diplomatic.  It’s not all bad.  When dealing with people, especially ones who may be upset, it is a very useful tool.  I can craft words to allay hurt feelings and bring peace. But just like any super power it can be used for evil.  I happen also to be adept at crafting words to get myself out of trouble.  There are some things that no amount of words can save you from but when it comes to diet and exercise the stakes are considerably lower.

Allow me to illustrate.  The second of October was the 18th anniversary of  our first date.  We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary back in July but to be honest, celebrate is a strong term.  So we decided to take a couple of days to get away in conjunction with our church’s couples retreat. We had a good time.  We went disc golfing (which I have discovered is excellent exercise), took a stroll along the San Diego waterfront and even went to a craft faire (feel free to follow that humorous adventure at my wife’s blog). This was by far one of the more active getaways we’ve had.  We also ate pretty well.  We basically ignored some of the rules we established for our current diets (I say rules, they’re really more guidelines).  So we were busy and spending quality time together and it became a handy (and justifiable) excuse for not posting.

The best excuses are the ones that are crafted with a really good reason.  For example, I have been battling a cold the last few days.  It was so bad that it sapped all my energy and I skipped the gym for a few days.  Anyone looking at it objectively would see that I was justified. But if I am be honest with myself, if I somehow found the strength to work a 10 hour day I could probably have found the strength to go to the gym for 30 minutes.

Because excuses are so readily available I wield them with the precision of a politician.  My seventh grade teacher defined an excuse as “the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie”.  I always felt that was harsh.  There were plenty of times when an excuse was perfectly justified. I still believe that is an over simplification but the truth is that once you use an excuse (even justified) it becomes so much easier to do it again and again whether it’s justified or not.

Which leads me to the last half of the title.  Something else that my seventh grade teacher said was that it takes 3 weeks for something to become a habit.  I think he missed the mark slightly on this one too.  It takes 3 weeks for something to become a good habit (some times longer). It takes far less time for something to become a bad habit.

I am all-world when it comes to making bad habits.  I am not even in little league when it comes to making good habits.  I am as sincere as the next person when it comes to resolutions. It’s the resolve that I generally lack.  I had been rolling along pretty well for the last few weeks.  I hit the gym regularly, ate well and was losing weight.  I plateaued a little.  I am officially at 32 lbs. lost but I have fallen off the pace.  This is where I usually give up and go back to my bad habits.  That is where the blog comes in to play.  I have painted myself into a corner.  I can’t just go back because I put myself out there.  It’s a good thing.  I did it because I knew I needed it.

I guess that ultimately I wanted to say thank you to all of you who read this and respond with encouraging words.  When I reach my goals I will have done so because of the chorus of voices that have cheered me on along the way.  It is my journey to take but I am very glad to have company. After all, I am a people person.


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