Rules for Intrepid Living

Rule #69: Beware the Reasonable Excuse

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Rules for Intrepid Living

Rule #69: Beware the Reasonable Excuse.

I’ll be honest with all of you; I make a lot of excuses. I always have. My internal compass doesn’t naturally point to positivity or hard work,  instead I have tried to cultivate those qualities. In doing this, I have learned to spot when I’m making excuses. But even I miss some, because they don’t always seem like excuses. That’s why we must always beware the reasonable excuse.

What’s a reasonable excuse? It’s an excuse that makes sense. It sounds like a good idea. You’ve no doubt thought some of them:

“I didn’t sleep well last night, so I shouldn’t train today.”

“The weather is bad, so it’s probably better to pass on my run, you know, for safety’s sake.”

“I had a hard day, so I’ve earned this whole carton of ice cream/pizza/6-pack.”

“I work hard all week, I deserve to do nothing this weekend.”

These all sound pretty reasonable, because they are reasonable.

The problem isn’t that they’re reasonable, it’s that they’re reasonable excuses.

A reasonable excuse is so dangerous because it seems sound and logical. There really are times when you shouldn’t train, and you definitely should reward your hard work. But ask yourself, are you actually so tired that you shouldn’t do any training? Is the weather really so bad that you can’t run or find a suitable alternative? How much ice cream does a bad day earn you? Is doing nothing all weekend the best way to recoup from a long work week?

If you want your life to change, you have to change your life. This means ditching your excuses and working on your goal even when you don’t want to. But you’re not in this alone; I have to fight off my excuses just like everybody else. We’re all in this together, kicking our excuses to the curb and doing just a little bit better each day.

Rules for Intrepid Living is a recurring post encouraging us all to lead more adventurous lives.

2 thoughts on “Rule #69: Beware the Reasonable Excuse

  1. Well said. Reasonable excuses are so easy to make and keep.
    It’s a hard battle to fight against them but worth it.

    I often find that for some things, setting myself clear goals and deadlines help push the reasonable excuses at bay. But for less concrete things and longer term goals, it’s definitely harder.

    Do you have any tactics you use to combat those excuses?

    1. I make myself a bit of schedule/to do list on a little notebook that I keep with me throughout the day. That really helps, especially when paired with self-talk and introspection, which is probably my most effective tactic in keeping myself on the ball. I’ll ask myself why I’m doing what I’m doing, or why I’m quitting. I find that it’s much harder to bullshit myself if I start asking myself questions. If I didn’t accomplish something that was on the schedule or to do list, I’ll ask myself why I didn’t get it done. Sometimes there are completely legitimate reasons, and I’ll move stuff around to make sure that everything that *needs* to get done is completed. Sometimes, however, when I ask myself I’ll discover that maybe I put stuff off because it made me uncomfortable, or because I was being lazy. Then it’s a matter of just self-correcting as best I can.

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