Barriers vs. Excuses

I don’t know about you, but most of my wellness barriersVSexcusesbarriers are really just excuses. I don’t have enough time, my knee is sore, I don’t know where to start: they are all very valid reasons why I just can’t make healthier choices. Or are they?

Let’s consider what a barrier really is. A barrier (a.k.a. obstacle) is something that blocks progress or achievement. ‘Blocks’ is really the key word in that sentence. Just because something blocks us from achieving our desired state, doesn’t mean that it is impossible to achieve. Have you ever seen a toddler scale a baby gate? With enough determination, it can be done! It might mean that it will be challenging to achieve, or that it might take us longer than we like, but it does not mean that it is impossible.

If someone were to tell you to walk 2 km and at the end you will be handed $10,000, you would probably go put on your shoes. At an average speed, it could take you 30 minutes, the recommended daily amount of physical activity, to walk 2 km and regardless of a sore knee or time of day, most of us would find a way to walk that 2 km because of the reward waiting at the end. Becoming active doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon. You may have some legitimate health concerns that need to be taken into consideration, but not very often will a health professional tell you that the best choice is the sedentary choice. Everyone, regardless of ability, can get active, we just need to be a little more creative.

So that leads us back to the question, barriers vs. excuses? A barrier may block the path, but it doesn’t eliminate the path. If we valued our health as much as tangible rewards, for example, we would all be getting out there and being more active on a daily basis. Or we would choose the salad instead of French fries more often, but not every time, that would be crazy! Making a change in our habits is hard, there is no question. But really think about what is preventing you from making healthier choices and the health benefits that lie ahead. How many grandchildren or great grandchildren do you want to meet?

Sit down and list the ‘really good reasons’ that are preventing you from making or achieving wellness goals. Consider each one and determine if they are barriers or excuses. If they are excuses, stop making them and smarten up! If they are barriers, get creative on how you can overcome them. Either way, enlist some family members and friends and see if they are in a similar situation. Then you can become a team and work together to get over the hump.