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Overcoming Excuses Through Identity Statements

This week I’m addressing common excuses that you and I use. Have you used any of these recently?

“10 minutes won’t put me that behind of schedule… I’ll hit snooze just this once.”

“I’m really tired (or sore). I deserve a rest day.”

“If I workout today, I’ll be even more tired the rest of the day.”


When it comes to goal setting, I always recommend two steps:

First, identify the habits of people that have reached the goal you are pursuing.

Second, make an identity statement.

Habits and Identity

You are a cook if you cook every day.

You are a reader if you read every day.

You are runner if you run every day.

It’s kind of funny the way that works. You literally become your habits. Because of this, you need to identify the habits cooks, readers, or runners have in order to become like them.

For example: If your goal is to be fit, identify one of the habits that fit people have. Is is not over eating? Working out every day? Going to bed early? 

Of all of their habits, highlight the one that you don’t (yet) have. Then make it apart of your identity by writing down an identity statement. Something like: I’m the kind of person that runs three miles every day no matter what.

When the snow falls in the morning or it’s raining outside after work, you can then repeat this identity statement to yourself before the excuses come. “I’m the kind of person that runs three miles every day, no matter what.”

Pushing yourself to go run outside in the cold snow or wet rain will solidify the person you are trying to become.

My Story

I’ve always wanted to be known as a writer, but I didn’t think it was possible. I didn’t get good grades in english classes growing up, but the most scaring was a professor that returned one of my literary analysis papers in college with “Did we read the same thing?” at the top.

That hurt. I felt bullied, especially because he slid my paper across the table so my classmates could see it. I was at the center of more than a few jokes the rest of that semester.

Something as simple as, “Come see me after class” would’ve been better. 

Anyway, our business mentor challenged Mark and me to start a blog last year and share it with members of RxFIT. That’s like telling someone who’s been fat their whole life (and made fun of it by a bully), to document their weight-loss journey to 250 people. I resisted for a long time.

But then I used this technique I described above. “The best writers write something every day,” I thought last year. So I made an identity statement about my (future) self in my planner: “I’m the kind of person that writes about fitness every day no matter what.”

It’s now been about eight months (only two months since I’ve begun publishing these to you). I knew I would get some emails disagreeing with my ideas and making fun of some typos (happens more often than you would think), but I’ve become that person I wanted to become — a writer who writes about fitness every day, no matter what.

It feels good to say that now.


Anticipate the excuses of your past to write down the identity you need for the future.

Your habits will determine your identity.

I wasn’t a writer last year, but I am now. My habit of writing every day no matter what has changed the way I view myself.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s your goal?

What habit do you need in order to reach that goal?

Then, make an identity statement about your future self. It will combat the excuses that stand in the way of doing what needs to be done.

Good luck, friend.


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