I’ve now been coaching for over six years and in that time i’ve heard a number of excuses on why some clients haven’t stuck to their plans, commitments or goals. The most common excuse that we as coaches tend to hear over and over again some variation of “I’m too busy” or “I don’t have time”.
“I don’t have time to get to the gym.”
“I’m too busy to prep my food for the week.”
“I don’t have the time to warm up and stretch before class.”
“I never get time to eat breakfast before leaving the house.”
At first, “busy” sounds like an extremely valid reason to not be able to stick to your plans. For example, you might be asked. “How are you?”, and a common reply might be “Oh, busy as usual.” “Busy” is such as perfect excuse because it sounds both acceptable and positive in some cases. Yet, the same clients who say they are “too busy” to make time for the gym miraculously find time to do a great number of other things such as watch TV, go for drinks after work, watch funny animal videos on YouTube, attend their cousin’s sister-in-law’s best friend’s birthday party, and endlessly scroll through Facebook & Instagram feeds.
As coaches, we’re not here to judge how anyone spends their free time. However, our job is to help you achieve the results you set our to achieve, so I would be negligent if I didn’t hold you accountable to your own commitments. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with watching Netflix or looking through Facebook, BUT if these activities are drowning out the things that actually move you towards achieving your goals, you might want to re-examine how you manage your time and your priorities.
“I am too busy” really means “It’s not a priority of mine”.
Think of a recent situation where you said “I don’t have time” as an excuse for not achieving something. Now instead replace it with “It’s not a priority for me”. In most cases, you’ll find that the latter is valid and far more accurate. Being honest with ourselves and admitting that it’s not a priority is far more empowering. You just need to re-evaluate your other priorities and decide if what you claim you don’t have time for is actually more important. From there, you can adjust your to-do lists and schedule your calendar accordingly.
“I don’t have the time” is an alternative for “I don’t manage my time effectively”.
If we were to look at your calendar right now, what would we find scheduled? Would we be able to determine your priorities by looking at your calendar? Do you schedule the times you plan on going to the gym this week? Do you have times blocked out to stretch, recover, or meal prep? Or do you just “wing it” every week? In my own personal experience, if I don’t schedule it, it’s unlikely to happen. I’m a coach who works at a gym and even I need to schedule time for my own workouts. I recommend taking a few minutes on Sunday evening or Monday morning to plan out your week. As Benjamin Franklin said, “If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail!”
“I’ve got too much going on” and “My schedule is crazy” probably means you need to learn to say “NO”.
Do you say “yes” to everyone and everything that comes your way? Are you a bit of a people pleaser? Do you let other people’s agendas and priorities overtake your own? Learning to say no is a necessary skill if you want to reduce the feeling of overwhelm and create the space in your life to focus on what really matters to you. The more you say no to the things that don’t matter, the more you can say yes to the things that do. I can tell you from personal experience that being chronically overcommitted is a surefire way to burn yourself out.
I sincerely hope you’ll consider retiring the old “I’m too busy” excuse. Other people might still fall for it, but more importantly, don’t let yourself be fooled into thinking it’s a valid excuse for why you aren’t achieving your goals. If you need some help making this shift, find an accountability partner, or a coach who won’t accept “I don’t have time” as an excuse. Re-evaluate your priorities, make it a point to sit down and organise your time and learn to say no to the things that aren’t important. Remember, you have the same 24 hours each day as everyone else on the planet. Let’s hope you make the most of them.