Excuses! Excuses!

Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism. He should believe in himself.

—Ferris Beuller, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

 

What's Your Excuse?

Even though we make every effort to get to our goals we sometimes may find that they still seem to be just out of reach and we can't explain why. We've done our work. We've listed our characteristics and qualities. We've drawn our imaginings out. We've shifted our focus to more positive, hopeful thoughts. We've written our new and better story, but we still seem to be stuck in the muck. So what could be going on?

One barrier to fully stepping into your new story and allowing all of your work to get results for you is that you may have an underlying excuse holding you back. Excuses (typically driven by hidden fears) are plentiful, and we often use them to justify and perpetuate our current situation of lack and limitation. This applies to all situations, not just your physical condition. Many of us will even fight to keep our excuses in place, inadvertently sabotaging the deserving gift of living the life we were meant to live. But once you identify your excuse, your awareness will help you more powerfully step into your story, own your fears and still move forward.

A Lesson from the Ultimate Excuse-Maker

In Ferris Beuller's Day Off (one of the best movies to come out of the 80s), excuses are the bedrock of the storyline. Ferris and his friends create an elaborate series of excuses in order to have the best day ever skipping school. Sure, in reality they were resisting facing graduation, the inevitable evolution into adulthood and the fear of growing apart, but the spirit with which they wove their excuses and stories not only fooled everyone but took us on a raucous ride of entertainment and thought-provoking dialogue, including this opening monologue from Matthew Broderick:

 
 
List template (PDF)

List template (PDF)

Writing template (PDF)

Writing template (PDF)

Drawing template (PDF)

Drawing template (PDF)

Course Practice

Excuse Neutralizer Play

In this Play you will do a visualization where you project yourself into the future state of having your ideal body. After your visualization, you'll list any speed bumps (aka negative emotions, concerns, doubts etc.) that arose during your visualization. Take each speed bump and explore by answering "what if..." questions that help you mine the fear buried within. Then, you'll take each and write a positive statement that results in a more positive emotion (more toward your Magnetic North) and neutralizes your fear.

  1. VISUALIZATION: Imagine yourself in your ideal body. What are you doing? How do you feel? What is now possible that you are in this place with your ideal physical condition you've always wanted to achieve? How has your daily schedule changed? How has your social life changed? What does your family think of your results? What are you doing now that you weren't doing before? Explore many different aspects until you hit your speed bumps.
  2. SPEED BUMPS: List the concerns, worries, doubts, fears, negative emotions that arose during your visualization. Examples: doubt/disbelief your ideal is achievable, it won't last, you'll have to compromise and give up things you enjoy, that you'll never look the way you want to look, that the "ideal" is too good to be true, etc.
  3. EXPLORATION: Take each speed bump and add it to the end of this sentence: "What if..." and then answer the question, such as, Question: "What if I gave up the things I enjoyed?" Answer: "I am afraid that if I give up the things I enjoy that I won't stick to the regimen I'm doing to improve my overall health and body shape. That I'll be more unhappy living a compromise than I was with a body shape I didn't prefer. " (Note that you should arrive at some base fear or story you believe to be true about the what if statement. This is why you are making an excuse not to achieve the ideal body condition you say you really want.)
  4. NEUTRALIZE: Look at your fears/stories and excuses. Write a new story (use the appreciative inquiry approach) about how it could unfold for you, easing and owning the fear and neutralizing its ability to stop you from manifesting your ideal body. For example: "I know that when I finally relax and allow my body to conform to my new thinking that I will see results on the outside and feel them on the inside. I know that this is a mental process as much as it is a physical process, and I'm willing to ease my way into it. I don't know for sure if I have to give up the things I love, in fact, I may discover that I can not only include them, but also add even more delightful things to my life as a result of doing this work on my ideal body." Bonus: Draw out the scenes of your ideal body condition after you've completed writing the new story, such as pictures of you enjoying travel, foods, friends and other activities you've wanted to do.