Old Dog, New Tricks - There are No Excuses

Posted by martin.parnell |

Where I live, locals tend to know me as a marathon runner and someone who advocates living a healthy lifestyle. This means that I often get comments about what races people have run, what they are training for and other general comments about fitness. I also get a lot of people telling me the reasons why they don’t do any physical activities and the excuses can be quite diverse. But, the most common ones I hear are “I’m too old to start now.” or “I don’t have the time.”

What people should do is, instead of finding a reason not to do something is find a better reason to take action. I have met many people who have taken up a physical activity, in later life and reaped the benefits. Last year, a family member bought himself a set of small weights and a treadmill. When the weather is fine, he walks 5km to the local beach and back and, he had never been particularly active, but he does all of this because he wants to stay fit and healthy, in his “golden” years. According to my sister-in-law he has started jogging. He is 86.

Now, I’m not advocating that everyone leave it until that late in life to get started, but saying you’re too old is no real excuse.

It’s the same in business. Some people feel they are past learning new skills, they have been doing the same tasks, in the same way and it works for them, or they feel it’s not worth the time and effort. What those same people should be thinking is, “If I make the time and put in the effort, how can it benefit me?” or, better still, “How can it benefit me and my colleagues?”

They might ask themselves:

  1. How much time, each day can I commit to learning a new skill?
  2. How will it enhance what I do?
  3. Would it save me time, in the long run and make me more efficient?
  4. Will I become more productive by using this skill?
  5. Will it give me more job satisfaction?

If any of these can be answered in the positive, then surely it’s at least worth giving it a go. It doesn’t even have to be anything big. Most people will never run a marathon, but a good 5km walk is better than not exercising at all. Start by looking for small things to take on board and see where it leads. You may find that learning and adopting one new skill will make you want to do more.

Sometimes we need to find an excuse to take action rather than not.

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