Can’t Vs. Won’t

How to finally push past the excuses and reach your goals

This is a topic I am extremely passionate about. It has become one of my biggest pet peeves, yet it is something I still find myself getting stuck in. I shared a video on this topic on my Instagram page, but I felt it should be expanded on.

First, let’s talk about ‘can’t’ and ‘won’t’, and what they really mean.

‘Can’t’s are facts. I can’t fly. I can’t stand on the roof of my house and sprout wings to fly to Seattle. I physically can’t do it and there’s no way around that.

‘Won’t’s are choices. I won’t watch horror movies. They’re not my thing, I don’t see the fun in them. It’s not that I can’t – I definitely have the ability to turn on Netflix and scare the crap out of myself. But it isn’t something that I want to do, so I won’t.

With that in mind, what are you telling yourself you can’t do, when the truth is that you won’t?

For example, I have made tremendous progress towards my body goals in not a lot of time. Drastic changes have happened in less than six months. People ask me all of the time how I do it, like they’re expecting some magic answer.

Here’s how I did it: I do 1-2 hours of cardio 6 days a week. I lift heavy and hard in the gym 5 days a week. I drink half of my bodyweight in ounces of water and eat a whole foods, plant based diet. Minimal processed food and I track all of it.

The general response I get? “Oh wow. I can’t do that.”

I have to put solid effort into not rolling my eyes into the back of my head. I have to bite my tongue so hard sometimes I wonder if it’s going to bleed to keep myself from scoffing.

The truth is that is a total LIE. You are very capable of doing it, you just don’t want to. So you won’t.

This is where reality smacks you hard in the face and I generally get a lot of people upset with me. But it’s the truth, whether it’s convenient or not. The fact is that you can, but you won’t.

You’re very capable of eating clean, but you’re choosing not to.

You’re very capable of going to the gym, but you’re choosing not to.

You’re very capable of putting down the soda and drinking water instead, but you’re choosing not to.

This is a hard pill to swallow – trust me I know. This is something I did for years – it’s how I got fat in the first place. But this is where the real choice happens. Either you will or you won’t.

Instead of saying, “Oh, I can’t get up and go to the gym. I don’t have time” try saying “No, I don’t want to go to the gym. Getting in better shape isn’t a priority for me, so I won’t.”

Instead of hitting the snooze button when you told yourself you would go for a morning run and saying “I just can’t do it – I’m too tired” say “I would rather sleep than work towards my goal. This isn’t a true priority for me.”

Now – it sucks. It sucks HARD. This is when you truly realize what you want and don’t want. If you truly want something, you will do whatever you need to do to make it happen. If you don’t, you’ll make excuses.

I used to be the queen of excuses, y’all. Very valid excuses, too. Excuses that would make people say, “Oh I totally understand. The goal is noble but you just can’t. Oh you’re just the victim of life.” and we’d all go on about our day.

I deal with chronic pain – it hurts to move, so why would I do it purposefully? Maybe when I’m better.

I’m a single mom – I just don’t have time. It’s selfish of me to not spend time with my son. Maybe when he’s older.

I have chronic fatigue – I’m just too tired. My body just can’t do this. Maybe I should just give up.

These were the typical variations, and boy was I good at spinning them to sound so dramatic I could have everyone patting me on the back telling me it was going to be ok. But the fact of the matter is that I didn’t want it enough to make it a priority. I didn’t want to put in the effort that it was going to take to make it work in my life. It took taking a hard look in the mirror and giving myself the reality check smack down I needed to make my goals happen.

If you truly don’t want to lose weight or get in shape, that’s perfectly fine. If you don’t want to work towards your healthiest body, that’s perfectly. You don’t have to – it’s your body and your choice to do with it what you wish. However, if you say you want things and then continually put them off, the truth is that you don’t really want them. If you say you want to be healthier but continue to eat all of the junk, you don’t really want to.

Saying that we want to do things makes us feel better. It gives us a sense of purpose. It’s the thought that counts, right? But convincing ourselves that wanting something is enough isn’t doing us any favors. We’re just going to stay stagnant and live the mediocre lives that we’ve been living.

Giving yourself the tough love talk will do one of two things. It will make you realize that you don’t really want those things, so you can let go of those things that are taking up space in your brain. Or it will make you realize that you’re also Excuse Royalty and you’ll realize that it’s time to move past them and make your goals happen.

You deserve every dream you have. But you’ll never get there if you don’t actually DO something about them. You have to put in the work – nothing is going to just happen magically overnight. You have to work towards them every single day, even when it’s hard. I have the “can’t vs. won’t” conversation with myself constantly. Whether it’s about my fitness, nutrition, business, mom life, or even cleaning up my room. This simple conversation is one that can change your life.

My hope for you is that you’ll get real with yourself and finally start moving towards those big dreams.

Do you struggle with this? What are things that you’ve convinced yourself you just can’t do? Did you already recognize this within yourself? Let’s start the conversation!

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