It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.-George Washington
I was talking to someone recently after a meeting and she was telling me that she would like to eat more produce but her husband and kids would never go for it. Join the club. I hear this weekly. In my experience, it is almost always women who prompt changes in the home. I know men who eat healthier than their wives and kids who come home from learning about food and start critiquing the family menu, but it is usually women who will step outside of their habits and make a change for the better. Frequently, there is little to no support from loved ones. If everyone in a house had to be on board with everything done by everyone else, nothing would be done.
“But kids don’t eat adult food/vegetables/ethnic foods…” People love to announce that kids won’t eat healthy, real food. That is just an excuse for not teaching them to do so. It is much easier to declare that something can’t be done than to put in the effort to do it. Don’t tell the kids who do eat actual food.
How about this one: “I would eat better but you only live once! I want to enjoy it!” Oh, okay, I see. It is worse to have to retrain your tastebuds to real food than to be obese and die of a preventable disease at a younger age.* Got it. As long as we aren’t addicted to junk and pawns of industrial faux food or unwilling/too lazy to change. We wouldn’t want to admit that so an illogical claim to hedonism is much better. And we have all heard the stories of people who do everything they know to do and still get sick and those who do everything reckless and live to a ripe old age. There is a reason those stories are touted far and wide: They are the exception. They go against probability. If you want to take the higher risk, admit it. Admit change takes effort, you don’t believe it is worth it and you are taking your chances. We all have to decide what risk is acceptable and what mitigation is worth it.
“But I’m too busy to pack a lunch so need to eat out.” Okay. I get that it is hard but you can’t let perfection keep you from doing better. I leave the house with piles of food. I’m always carrying food. When that doesn’t cover it, there are better options than what most people choose.
The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullsh*t story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it. -Jordan Belfort
And it isn’t just about food. We do this in every area of our lives when we want to avoid change.
But it is too hard to consider the toxic load of the products we buy.
But it would cost more money.
But people would think I was strange.
But I don’t know where to start.
But I love all this stuff. I can’t let go.
But I don’t have a green thumb.
But I’m not smart enough.
But I’ll serve when I’m older.
But I’ll help when I have more money/time/energy.
But it is normal to be in debt.
But it is too hard to wait.
But I don’t make enough to save.
But everyone does it.
But I’ve been doing it for 30 years.
But the government won’t let that happen.
But that is just the way the world works.
But what can one person do?
But people have expectations.
But I can’t live without______.
But they are different.
See how easy this is?
He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.-Benjamin Franklin
My ‘but’ is “I don’t have time.”
And I can justify it all day long. I over extend myself. I can’t say no to a good cause. And it is still just an excuse. The fact is, what doesn’t get done is lower priority than what does get done. It is that simple. I’m busy and I have to choose what to do and what is most important to me at every moment. I am sometimes embarrassed when something is left undone and I am learning to own it. When I don’t do something, it is at the expense of what I DID do and that, friends, is opportunity cost.
So here’s the plan:
Instead of making excuses for why we don’t effect positive changes, let’s cross over to the other side and focus on the reasons why we do make the changes.
Turn your ‘but’ into ‘because’.
I do this because…
I changed because…
I’m different because…
This is worth it because…
And where you don’t want to make changes, be honest. Own it.
I’m too lazy.
I don’t want to believe it.
It isn’t a priority.
I am addicted and need help.
I have a superman complex.
I don’t care.
I can’t handle standing out socially.
I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.-Florence Nightingale
This is so fantastic and well done that I will probably mention it multiple times. I am constantly amazed by the synergistic relationship between plants and animals, specifically humans. A dear friend shared this gem recently. It is long and sometimes intense but so well written and full of great information that I highly recommend it.
Micheal Pollan has a four part series on Netflix called Cooked. Life is better when you know your food. This is a step in the right direction.
Happy eating, Katy