Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Sunrise run in Glenridding. Stop making excuses and do it. 
I got annoyed at the beginning of this year with a lot of people making a big show of "giving up" alcohol for the first month of the year. Abstaining from drinking any alcohol for all of 31 days. Could they do it? Would they fail?
To be honest, it didn't really interest me, and what made it more annoying was the fact that some people had the temerity to try to get sponsored for their abstention. I mean, really. Giving someone money to give to (and admittedly) good cause because they managed to stay off the sauce for a short time. I think not.
Just give the charity the amount of money you have saved by not drinking 3 bottles of wine a week, and at the same time, don't shout about it.

Which brings me to Lent. That time of the year when traditionally the New Years Resolutions have been long forgotten, and we look to another reason to deny ourselves the things we may enjoy. In my cynicism of the world and the people in it at the moment, I didn't so much rail against the whole idea of abstaining from something for 40 days, but was thinking about something I heard about a while ago - that it takes 21 days to make a habit.
Theoretically, over 40 days, it should be possible to make something a habit - indeed, within a month it should be possible, but only if you are willing. If you give up something completely, cold turkey, and you spend a lot of time thinking about the thing you can't have, that only heightens the enjoyment of the end of the self-imposed denial period - and goes a long way to explaining why people get horrendously drunk at the end of a time away from alcohol - or binge eat chocolate at Easter after ostensibly not eating any for a period before.

So I decided not to give up something material for this period, especially something that I enjoy - as that would mean giving up running, or cycling, or lifting weights. Yes, I could give up nutella - but that happens when the shop doesn't sell it in big enough jars. Yes, I could give up carbohydrates, but then my training would suffer. I'm not saying I don't have any bad habits, I'm sure I do, and Lynne could give me a whole list of them, however, after a long period of introspection, (about 5 minutes) I came to the conclusion that I would give up making excuses.

My internal voice is now sounding something like this...

"I can't train because I don't have time".  - Make time.
"I don't have time to study" - make time
"I'll never understand that concept because it means learning about something else in order to work it out, and I don't get that either" - in which case, study what you need to and work up to it.
"Oh - I'll get around to doing that later on" - do it now
"I love going for a run, (but I'll sit around and talk about it rather than doing it)". Shut up and go for a run then.

That kind of thing.
As it is, I have had a much better time of it recently - it also helps that I have some excellent motivation to work hard and train hard, in the guise of MFT and the Gym Jones site.
All is good, and although its harder work than it seems, giving up making excuses is making me more productive, stronger, and happier.
I somehow doubt that I'm going to binge on excuses come Easter.

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