I have this friend. She uses excuses to get out of everything related to being a responsible adult (and I mean everything!). The worst part is, she’s been doing this for so long, excuses are now a deeply embedded part of her personality.
I used to gently nudge her toward ways to solve her excuses so she’d stop holding herself back, but she has the market cornered.
Seriously, it’s an impenetrable force field. Her life isn’t at all how she wants it to be, and instead of taking responsibility for it, she pulls out her scroll of excuses and reads out the section called “Reasons Why Nothing Is My Fault.”
To be honest, I would have more respect for her if she simply came out and said, “I’m not doing this or that because I’m too lazy.” Let’s face it: if she really wanted her picture-perfect existence, she’d go to any length to obtain it.
Why am I wasting my time with her? Because I used to be like her: ambitious, focused, and determined, but when things didn’t go as planned, I became a victim of my surroundings. Years of spinning my tires resulted as a result of this.
My justifications were always there to keep me from falling… until they weren’t. Like my friend, I was playing a mindless game of self-sabotage that resulted in my life turning out just as I had predicted.
Excuses, like any bad habit, are simple to make. They enable you to confine yourself to your comfort zone and live a “normal” existence. After a while, you’ll realize that this style of life isn’t sufficient for you.
You may either accept where your life is (which is the excuse-coated version of “give up”) or you can get rid of your excuses by accepting responsibility for where you are now and, more crucially, why you made the excuses in the first place.
So what’ll it be? Yeah, I thought so. To help you get started, here are 7 ways to eliminate your excuses:
1. Read Between the Lines
Usually, the excuse you’re using is masking the real reason why you “can’t” accomplish something. For some, it’s a fear of failure. For others, it’s a self-esteem issue. For others still, it’s a fear of success or having something to lose.
If you’re unsure of where the excuses are coming from, simply ask yourself: if you were to succeed and accomplish what you wanted, what’s the worst thing that could happen? List off every worst-case scenario, and you’ll likely recognize a theme. This is the issue to tackle.
2. Stop Ending Your Statements with a “But…”
This is a little trick I use that works every time: instead of saying “I’d really like to, but…”, cut yourself off and say “I’d really like to.” This triggers your mind to focus on the plans you need to make to reach your goals, instead of the roadblocks currently in your way. Instant motivation!
3. Avoid Other “Excusers”
When I started venturing outside of my comfort zone, one of the first things I noticed was how many individuals in my life were making excuses as well. So many reasons, in fact, that we were continuously complaining and excusing in our interactions together! Consider what we could accomplish if we spent all of that time doing!
People you spend time with, like you, may not realize they’re making excuses, and believe me when I say that you may point it out all you want – it’s a conclusion that everyone must come to on their own before they can change. Be the one to start the conversation by changing the music. If you get rid of your excuses, you’ll probably inspire others to do the same.
4. Trick Yourself
Depending on your objectives, simply thinking about them can be intimidating. This is especially true when setting lofty ambitions, such as achieving success in a difficult field or starting a business from the bottom up. It’s all too easy to become so overwhelmed that you don’t even begin.
To-do lists are created with the specific aim of eliminating your excuses. Break things down into small, manageable steps. Work on only one modest step at a time, and put the others in a drawer. When you’ve completed the step, it doesn’t seem so difficult.
Then move on to the next, and then the next, and so on. This helped me tremendously when I was working on my first screenplay while recovering from adrenal fatigue. I can now work on it without a list on a regular basis and in comfort.
Soon, you’ll look back on all of your tiny steps and will be amazed at your progress!
5. Build Excuse-Free Habits
“Feel the fear, but do it anyhow,” they advise. Recognize your excuses, accept responsibility for them, and pursue your goals regardless of what you believe is holding you back. Yes, it’s a lot easier said than done, but saying you have control of your life isn’t the same as actually taking charge.
Building these habits is challenging and even unpleasant at first, but you will feel rejuvenated and indescribably proud of yourself once you have completed them.
You’ll be so inspired that you’ll want to start planning your next challenge right away. Once you get started, you’ll find it difficult to stop! Make pushing your limitations enjoyable by doing so on your own terms.
6. Use Your Excuses As Signals
Once you recognize your excuses for what they are, you can begin using them to your advantage. Consider your excuses a signal of a deeper underlying problem. It’s a great way to familiarize yourself with what makes you tick.
Each time you find yourself making an excuse, look into it further, find the true cause, and work toward moving past it. The more you practice this, the less you’ll hold yourself back from your full potential.
7. Trust the Process
There are times when you sincerely want to do something, but there are aspects of your schedule, lifestyle, or workload that hugely conflict with what you want.
In these instances, you’re not in denial or making excuses, you’re simply examining the roadblocks that are in your way. It’s when you allow these roadblocks to stay in a place that they become excuses.
Oddly enough, it’s when something’s really important to us that we start layering on the excuses. If you immediately turn to a proactive attitude when these situations arise and trust yourself to think of a solution, you won’t have to eliminate your excuses – you won’t be able to find one.