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Can We Stop Talking About Excuses

Years ago – at my weekly weigh in with a local diet group – I stepped onto the scales and saw I’d gained a pound. I confessed to the group leader that I’d found it really hard to plan and cook healthy meals that week. I told her I was tired, work was overwhelming, and it all just felt like too much. She scathingly questioned whether I really wanted to lose weight, and when I said yes she laughingly replied: “Well you’ll never do it if you keep making excuses!”


I felt humiliated and silly, and I never went back.


You see, they weren’t excuses. They were reasons. And if she’d recognised that and helped me think of ways to eat healthily even when it felt too hard, maybe I’d have been able to implement those ideas before the next weigh-in.


Not convinced? Compare these two coaches…


CLIENT: I keep planning to go to the gym/join a networking group/increase my prices but then I don’t do it. I’m scared people are going to judge me.


COACH A: You need to stop making excuses and start making an effort!


COACH B: You’re holding yourself back because you’re afraid of judgement? Let’s explore that…


Which coach do you think creates lasting, effective change in her clients? By referring to excuses Coach A shuts down any conversation and makes her client feel belittled and ashamed. But by looking at her client’s reasons for holding back Coach B allows her to understand what needs to change in order for her to succeed.


If only that patronising diet club woman had been less Coach A and more Coach B… well, I’m not saying I’d be giving Twiggy a run for her money now but I wouldn’t have gone home feeling shit. And that would have been something, at least!


“Excuse-talk” hinders growth… “reason-talk” creates it. If you’ve got reasons for avoiding what you should be doing, comment below and let me know.




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