KILTED! is a philosophy that I developed to help guide my quest for better health. KILTED! Can be summarized by 7 simple principles that are crucial if you want to make a transformational change in your life. Today we begin with the first principle: Kill Excuses.
Let’s start with a basic physics lesson. Newton’s First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it, and a body in motion at a constant velocity will remain in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an outside force.
Excuses are a human defense mechanism. In psychology, excuses are known as “rationalizations” and are used to explain controversial or damaging behaviors in a seemingly rational or logical manner in order to avoid the true explanation. In our case, they act as a sort of psychological entropy, keeping a body that is not exercising from beginning to exercise by justifying that it is better not to exercise.
Once you have decided you want or need to get healthier, you need to kill all the excuses remain unhealthy. Only by killing the excuses can you truly begin the path to better health and wellbeing.
There are Always Excuses
Here are a few Excuses, their possible Rationalizations, and the Sad Truth:
E: “I’ll eat better after the holidays.”
R: “I’ll make it a New Year’s resolution, they always work.”
ST: “I’ll end up adding 10 more pounds before starting.”
E: “I’ll start lifting weights next week.”
R: “I’ll start tomorrow, and I mean it this time.”
ST: “Tomorrow is always a day away.”
E: “Just one dessert won’t hurt.”
R: “Cake has milk and eggs, that’s healthy, right?”
ST: “Unless its fruit, it can, and it will set you back.”
E: “I’ll call today my cheat day.”
R: “It’s just a little reward for being good.”
ST: “Cheating is just that, cheating.”
E: “I can skip my bike ride today.”
R: “The weather isn’t the best. I’ll go tomorrow.”
ST: “I’m lazy and unwilling to stick to a habit.”
These are all excuses. And while they may seem valid at the time, when you use one, it becomes easier to rationalize it over and over again.
If you can rationalize waiting a day on Monday, when Tuesday comes around you can rationalize waiting until next week so you can “get started on a Monday.” The cycle can continue indefinitely, because next Monday you can justify waiting until next month so you can get started fresh on the first of the month.
In my case, it took years to get started. Years that took a toll on my body and my health.
Once you have made up your mind to get healthy, to work out, or to eat better, why wait? What are you gaining by waiting? (I’ll tell you the answer, nothing, except maybe more weight).
My Personal Excuses
Here’s an excuse that I have always used in the winter, and is especially easier to use now that I have moved north:
“I can’t go out cycling because it’s too cold.”
This one sounds pretty rational, right? I mean, when the temperature is in the 30’s, reaching any decent speed on a bike will add a significant wind chill factor and make it downright cold for any exposed skin. I have at least tried to ride in the cold before. Sometimes a long-sleeved shirt helps, but I still generally wear shorts and fingerless gloves. I couldn’t imagine trying to ride in jeans (the only long pants I have). But even though I’m rarely cold – a combination of my natural insulation (fat), and Michigan upbringing – riding in cold temperatures is downright uncomfortable. When it’s in the 30s, I can only make it a mile or so before my fingers are in pain and I have to cut my ride short.
So hold out on cycling until the weather improves, but the key is to find something else active tto do when it’s cold – in other words, it’s OK to have a reason to change things up and do an alternate workout, just so long as it’s not an excuse to skip working out entirely.
Then, at times I have found and even better excuse:
“I can’t work out because I’m injured.”
I’m good at leg and foot injuries. The first time I posted this principle, I mentioned the toenail I ripped off trying to move a couch upstairs on my own. Elsewhere I have discussed the dog bite that stopped my riding for a couple of months. More recently it was a gash in my ankle from a bookshelf while moving that took about 2 months to heal (I couldn’t wear socks over it for a month).
In my original post, I used the following rationalizations for both of these excuses:
In retrospect, the cold weather is simply an excuse I used to be lazy and skip my morning rides, thus halting a month of habit-building progress. I could have found a pair full-fingered gloves to protect my fingers and continued with my rides. Unfortunately, I let this one prevent me from most of my cardio throughout January 2018.The toenail situation was a bit tougher. I feel I had a legitimate concern there, but once again, once the throbbing pain had stopped, I could have resumed the bike rides.
But even at the start, I hit the nail on the head. I wrote “In the meantime, I could have focused more on the upper body rather than remaining sedentary.” And that is the key. Don’t let a reason to change or modify your fitness routine become an excuse to abandon it. Keep the momentum going and you’ll power through adversity.
Adapt and Adjust to Kill Your Excuses
Excuses are just your brain’s way of helping your body avoid the discomfort of doing something outside of your comfort zone. But if your comfort zone has become your couch with a bowl of unhealthy snacks, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Why? Because the more you do it, you’ll find out that Your Comfort Zone is Flexible. It will adapt. And it will probably adapt better than you can imagine.
How do I know? I started riding on December 1st and built up a good riding habit by Christmas, logging 18 rides in 25 days. The toughest gear I used on my first ride had become my cruising gear. Every day, I was looking to add a half mile or a mile to my course. Every day I was pushing to break one of my records, whether it be for fastest time, top speed, average speed, or distance. I didn’t care, which one, but I was pushing for at least one.
My success? I don’t count this as an official ride because I wasn’t recording stats, but this past Saturday we had great weather. I filled up the tires on both of our Treks, and the wife and I went out for a ride in the neighborhood. Once around our community, and my wife, who went to college on an athletic scholarship and is still in infinitely better shape than I am was complaining “My legs are on fire,” from the exertion of our ride. I was only just getting warmed up and after looping back home for her I took another run around the neighborhood before coming home. Sure, biking was always my thing, but it shows me that despite the break from my recent excuses, I haven’t lost the level I reached.
Unless a doctor has told you not to, there is always a way to power through or adapt your workout. Can’t run? Walk. Can’t walk? Focus on your upper body. What I’m trying to say is, that when you find an excuse not to do something, you either have to KILL IT by ignoring the excuse and doing the task anyway, or KILL IT by finding an alternate way to achieve the same results.
More information on the KILTED! Principle will be coming soon.
Wishing you success in your fitness endeavors!