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Time to abandon excuses

The other day I walked into the doctor’s office for a routine checkup feeling tall, in relatively good shape and fairly spry. I walked out an inch-and-a-half shorter than I thought I was, three pounds heavier than I thought I was (which, given the sudden reduction in height was more like 10 pounds) and with the possibility that I might have arthritis in one knee.

I was a totally different person.

It bothered me for two days. (And the doctor’s kind assurance that the average weight gain during the pandemic was about 15 pounds kept ringing in my ears). I recall sputtering something about not having the usual half marathons and such to look forward to, and the many changes in daily life meaning I had not been getting to the gym (or working out at all) like I should; and then asking her if she’d found that magic pill that just knocks off 15 pounds.

Spoiler alert: She has not.

So I had a choice to make. I could give up, wallow in it, whine a bit and blame … everything, or I could start acting like the person I thought I was … with the possible exception that I am not likely to grow any taller. I am attempting to choose the latter.

As I said, this doctor’s appointment was only a few days ago, so don’t think I’m writing a how-to guide, here. I’m writing it down much to inspire myself as anything else. After all, the weather is cooling off, the holidays are coming, the world is still all kinds of upside down and inside out. I’m probably not alone in having a list of excuses a mile long.

Excuses are a hard crutch to throw out. And we use them for lots of things, don’t we? They come out in droves when someone shows us we are not who we thought we were. Reactions range from denial, to digging in, to deciding to do something about it. (And, to be clear, I was so much in denial that the doctor agreed to have a nurse measure my height a second time for me.)

But when faced with cold hard facts, most people eventually do what is necessary to be that best version of themselves they thought they were. It’s the denial and digging in first that are the problem.

If I’m not alone in having excuses, I’m also not alone in needing to abandon them, if I’m going to better myself.

Just like there’s no magic pill for those 15 pounds, there’s no magic pill for all that other stuff we’ve been making excuses about lately.

Overcoming it takes self-examination, a willingness to admit the need to change … and hard work.

Changing our behaviors — lifelong habits, perhaps formed in following the example of the people with whom we were surrounded as children — is not a flip of a switch. But, sometimes we can fake it until we make it, if we understand how important the end results will be.

Having been made aware of something I need to address, I would be foolish to cling to excuses and ignore it, wouldn’t I?

Most of us are in that boat right now, and in various stages of figuring out how to react to it.

I wish us ALL luck.

***

Christina Myer is executive editor of The Parkersburg News and Sentinel. She can be reached via e-mail at cmyer@newsandsentinel.com

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