“What you rationalize is what holds you back. Every. Single. Time.”
My former coach, Bryan Krahn, posted that line and holllyyy sheeiiit is that the truest thing I’ve ever read.
I wish I had read something like that when I was in my 20’s. Although it probably wouldn’t have landed the way it did now.
Ironically, I likely would’ve rationalized why it doesn’t apply to me lol.
But man, if you really think about it … it’s profound. Powerful. And almost uncomfortably true.
Rationalization is a defense mechanism to find reasons to justify one’s behavior.
Said another way … it’s making up acceptable excuses for unacceptable behavior.
For example, if you have kids and one of them came home from school and failed a test.
You ask them why they failed and they say … “it’s because the teacher hates me!”
When in reality, they didn’t study for the test.
That’s rationalization at its finest.
It’s a way to protect yourself from difficult feelings or emotions.
Rather than facing the truth, you guard yourself from it.
For example, after a divorce which can trigger some really nuanced emotions … you may instead rationalize that your partner wasn’t up to your standards or the separation is a blessing in disguise for one reason or another.
Your brain is building a protective wall over those difficult feelings and emotions, rather than facing them or acknowledging them.
How does rationalization apply to your pursuit of health and body composition improvements?
In every way imaginable.
There’s the obvious …
The times that you rationalize behaviors that don’t align with the person you want to become.
It’s only a couple drinks … I have to live a little, right?
It’s cold outside so I’ll skip the gym today but it’s ok because I’ll go an extra day next week.
I don’t have time to track my food, my schedule is just too busy for that.
Rationalization isn’t all negative.
Sometimes, creating a sightly dishonest positive spin on a situation can be helpful.
The major red flag with rationalization is when it becomes a pattern and when it prevents you from moving forward in life.
And that’s where I see rationalization rear its ugly head all too frequently.
You are struggling.
You are not where you want to be.
You’ve been pursuing your goals for years or decades and nothing has worked long term.
You need help.
And yet, you’ll rationalize it seven ways to Sunday in an effort to justify your decision to remain stuck.
Here’s how our thoughts affect our behaviors …
“I already know how to track macros, I don’t need to hire a coach.”
Rationalization: justification of not moving forward because I know everything already.
Reality: if you knew everything already you’d be exactly where you wanted to be. Not to mention that coaching is infinitely more than simply prescribing macros.
“Now is not the time, I have XYZ thing coming up (insert: vacation, bill to pay, etc)”
Rationalization: this is not the perfect time to move forward.
Reality: there is no perfect time to move forward. Sustainable progress needs to pass the real life test which means getting it done through all of the various life events that will arise.
“My husband / spouse / partner won’t support my decision.”
Rationalization: external blame. If it were up to me, I’d do it.
Reality: it is up to you. No one gets to make decisions for you.
“I can’t afford it.”
Rationalization: I’d do it if I had the money.
Reality: you are likely spending the money elsewhere. The cost of not doing it is typically significantly greater than the investment into your health and well-being.
What you rationalize is what holds you back. Every. Single. Time.
Now, I realize that reading this may spark an emotional reaction. You may feel defensive. You may want to tell me to fuck off.
Those are all valid reactions.
It’s probably because it struck a chord. You can’t lie to yourself so deep down … your body knows. Your brain knows. YOU know.
So when someone pokes the truth that you’ve been hiding, your ego wants to fight back.
Tune in to those emotions. Pay attention to those feelings. Listen to them and what they are trying to tell you.
You have the ability to end the cycle. To stop holding yourself back. To stop avoiding the exact thing you need to achieve everything you desire.
It’s well within your reach. You just have to make a choice.
Every single client that we’ve ever helped transform their mind and body was in the same place. They also had excuses, they also had imperfect timing, and they also had to consider spousal support and finances.
But they decided that their health was too damn important to keep believing their own rationalizations. They prioritized themselves. And they were rewarded as a result.
You don’t have to believe me. But here’s what one of our clients recently said in our FB group …
“Y’all, this is hands down the best decision I’ve ever made!! I’ve done keto, fasting, crossfit, running, tae-bo (I may have just aged myself), p90x, beachbody, lady boss, and the last was optavia. This is the ONLY program that has consistently worked by meeting me where I’m at and working with me to build a sustainable lifestyle with minor changes (esp relationship with food and small habits).”
Two options …
Rationalize or realize.
It’s up to you.