Stop Making Excuses

How to Stop Making Excuses

In the last Article “Making Excuses”, we discussed the reasoning behind our excuse making. Now we’ll discuss how to stop making excuses and get on with our changes, obligations, goals, and dreams. Because what many of us neglect to see is that our excuses have very serious and lasting consequences. Not only will excuses prevent you from reaching your full potential, but they will also hold you back from recognizing opportunities, talents and skills you might have, to help you overcome your problems.

If you don’t challenge yourself to reach new heights, you will never really know what you’re capable of. New opportunities lie hidden around every corner however you will never find them if you riddle your mind with constantly finding reasons to make excuses. Making excuses can also lead to the following consequences:

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  • Lack of responsibility and growth
  • Self-limiting beliefs
  • Massive regrets
  • Persistent pessimistic outlook on life
  • Bad judgments
  • Paranoia
  • Imaginary walls constricting comfort zone
  • Mental blocks stifling proactive action and creativity

These consequences certainly don’t lead to a fulfilling lifestyle. In fact, they paralyze us and prevent forward movement in all areas of our lives. To overcome your excuses, you must first admit that you are making them. This can be very difficult, but if you want to make your change and achieve your goals you must eliminate the excuses and their consequences.

To help with this process you should ask yourself some questions:

  • What excuses do I tend to make? (write them down, add to it as you recognize more of them)
  • What am I settling for? (write it down, add to it as you recognize more)
  • Why am I making these excuses? (write down your reasons, add to it as you recognize more)
  • How do these excuses prevent me from moving forward? (write it down and review your reasons often)
  • How do my excuses cripple my ability to get what I want? (write it down and remind yourself when you find yourself asking this question again)

Common statements we think to ourselves that stop us from acting.

By Katherine Hurst (www.thelawofattraction.com)

  1.  “It’s too scary to take the risk”. Stop and ask yourself – What’s the worst that can happen? And, how would you deal with the worst that can happen?
  2.  “I don’t deserve the thing I want”.  Of all the limiting beliefs that inhibit successful Law of Attraction work, this is one of the deepest and most insidious. These are often negative words that have been internalized earlier in life. If you’re held back by low self-esteem, one thing that can help is writing down your negative beliefs and pairing them with positive statements (which you can then turn into affirmations).
  3. “What’s meant to be will be.” It’s great to have the confidence and faith that things will work themselves out if you’ve done all that you can on your end to set yourself up for success. But it’s when you decide to just sit back and wait for your “destined” achievement that the problem arises—when you stop taking the necessary action toward a major goal. Stop saying, “What will be will be,” and start saying, “I’ll make it happen.”
  4. “I’ll never know enough”. This is a defeatist excuse for not pursuing the life you want. In truth, great things never happen overnight. There is a wealth of information at your fingertips online, there are classes you can take, and there are always people you can reach out to for help. To get rid of this excuse once and for all, properly familiarize yourself with some success stories from the rich and famous. You’ll find that many of them began with nothing.
  5. “There just aren’t opportunities for me to succeed”. When you catch yourself thinking this way, remind yourself that you are just not seeing the opportunities. If you believe in them and look for them, they are everywhere. Train yourself to actively look for signs from the Universe and tune into your intuition. If you get the sense that something might be an opportunity, grab it with both hands. Plus, you have the ability to create opportunities, which is really the more success-oriented way of thinking about opportunity.
  6. “I don’t really have time to do this”. This is by far one of the most common excuses, partly because it places the blame squarely away from yourself. However, the happiest and most successful people make time for the things that really matter, so challenge yourself to do the same if your goal truly matters to you. A good place to start is by considering ways you waste your time doing mindless activities or thinking unproductively. If you can free up even an extra hour a day, you can use that to accomplish great things. We all have the same 24 hours, the same seven days. Whether you use that time to work toward your biggest goals or waste it, using the justification that “you don’t have the time” is your choice. The only things you should “not have the time for” are negative people and excuses. If it’s important to you, you have to find the time—you have to make the time.
  7. “What I want is unattainable”. As you’ll know from reading about the Law of Attraction, thinking in this way is thoroughly self-defeating. If you think your goals are unattainable, you vibrate on a frequency of lack and the things you want never come your way. If you feel like your dream is scarily large, try to break it down into more digestible mini-goals, and work out a timeframe for each of these (while still holding the ultimate destination in mind).
  8. “It’s not worth the backlash from other people”. It’s natural to care about what other think of you, but don’t let this get out of control. Only the opinions of those closest to you should really matter, and even those people don’t have the right (or the wisdom) to decide what’s best for you. Don’t let fear of judgement stop you from being authentic. No matter how you choose to live your life or what goals you set, there will always be someone who is critical or allows their own hang-ups to get in the way of being pleased for you. Consequently, it’s in your best interests to develop self-esteem that comes exclusively from within (whether that’s through therapy, affirmations, journal work or some other method).
  9. “I’d rather be happy than wealthy.” Why is it that we often treat wealth and happiness as mutually exclusive entities? Think back on your history with money as a child. Did your parents engrave in your brain their hardships with money, telling you that it doesn’t come easy, that it’s the root of all evil—that it’s in control? Your relationship with money doesn’t have to be one of regret or difficulty, and it certainly doesn’t turn you into an evil villain. Sure, some people use their money for horrible things, and yes, wealth might change some people for the worse. But it can also be used for good, and it can change you for the better, improving your comfort, security and influence.  Change your mindset around money right now by believing in the deepest part of your core that you deserve it and will use it wisely.
  10. “I just need to learn to appreciate where I am”. This final excuse is a tricky one, because there is some truth to it. Law of Attraction teachers often emphasize the importance of learning to enjoy life moment by moment, even while you’re in the process of manifesting your goal. The important thing is not to confuse this advice with the idea that you should just settle for less than you really want. If your current life doesn’t fulfill you, push to make it better. You won’t regret it.

Here are some ways to stop making excuses:

  1. Understand locus of control. The first step to stopping making excuses is to examine how much you view life as being in your control. Excuses are often made to shift blame away to circumstances beyond our control.
  2. Internal locus of control is the extent to which you assume responsibility for your actions and believe you can control your life. Having an internal locus of control better focuses you for future success.
  3. External locus of control protects your self-image by blaming fate or others and escaping ownership of your mistakes or failures.
  4. Understand self-efficacy. Your belief in your ability to complete a task greatly influences the actual accomplishment of that task, whether it is a work, fitness, or personal goal. Self-efficacy is based on your past experiences with a task, seeing how others have experienced the same task, how people treat you related to performing that task, and your emotional cues related to the task.
  5. Increase your sense of self-efficacy. There are many things you can do to start building up your confidence in yourself. Small changes allow you to quickly meet goals and start increasing your self-efficacy.
  6. Try making small changes to start. Instead of revamping your entire diet, start by increasing your water intake for a week, then move on to decreasing sugary treats the week after that.
  7. Reflect on past successes. Remembering how you have previously accomplished goals will give you the support you need to accomplish the next one.
  8. Visualize your success. See yourself in that smaller dress size.
  9. Choose a role model. If you are trying to get fit, find a friend who has recently gone through that adjustment herself and look to her for inspiration and advice.
  10. Allow some self-doubt. Don’t expect to be perfect because setbacks and pauses will occur in your journey – setting yourself up to be perfect will only lead to disappointment. Expect to have self-doubt and you can easier adjust and move forward.
  11. Examine your own excuses. Make a list of the excuses you make, consider why you make them, and decide which ones you want to work on stopping first.
  12. Review the excuses you are making about your performance at work. If you find you complain about deadlines, for example, maybe you need to re-examine your workflow process.
  13. Consider what excuses you make about getting healthy. One of the most common is that you don’t have enough time to exercise.
  14. Think about the excuses you make about achieving your life goals.
  15. Develop your problem-solving abilities. Write out what is bothering you, brainstorm how many different ways you can approach the problem, assess the pros and cons of each approach, implement an approach, and evaluate the outcome.
  16. Make a list of your fears. Do you let your fears run the show? Do they keep you in a cycle of excuse after excuse? Write them all down today. Create a list. Look at the fears and read them aloud to yourself. Seeing them on paper diminishes their value.
  17. Write down what you’re doing in response to these fears. After writing down each of your fears, write down what you are doing in response to each of these fears. Know that you cannot fail; by showing up and being the best version of yourself, you have not failed. The mind can play tricks on you, making you live in response to your fears.
  18. Examine your goals. In order to understand how you can better achieve your goals, you need to take a good hard look at them, determine if they are realistic and within your control and your ability, determine what scares you about them, and realize what underlying assumptions you might unconsciously have about them.
  19. Decide on five concrete goals. Put these five goals on paper. Look at them. Start to manifest them. Start to believe you can make them become a part of your life.
  20. Define your goals the SMART way. Make sure your goal is Specific, Measurable, Attainable and Achievable, Relevant and Realistic, and Timely. Once you set SMART goals, you are more likely to achieve them.
  21. Specific goals have a very focused target. Don’t just say you want to improve at work, say you want to gain 5 new clients this month. Thinking of the who, what, where, when, and why will help ensure your goal is specific.
  22. Measurable goals make it easier to see your progress. Instead of saying you want to lose weight, specify that you want to lose 3 pounds this month.
  23. Achievable goals ensure you do not suffer defeat at the hands of unrealistic expectations. You might want to earn more money but a goal of an extra $1000 in sales might be more achievable than $10,000.
  24. Relevant goals make sure that you aren’t wasting time doing something that might not actually help. If you want to be a more flexible dancer, sign up for a gymnastics class instead of joining a chess league this season.
  25. Time bound goals give you a target date. Some people need the push of a deadline. Say you want to have 10,000 words written for your novel – by the end of the month.
  26. For each goal, come up with three action steps to help make them a reality. Create an action plan for yourself. This is what it all comes down to: ACTION. You can understand something intellectually, but it’s a matter of bringing that down into the heart and taking the steps to make these goals and results your reality.
  27. Start taking personal responsibility by shifting to an internal locus of control. Once you assume ownership for making your workplace more efficient, for example, you can be a more effective contributor. Managers and employees who are more confident, initiate action, take steps, and influence others are seen as more respected and feel more successful at work.
  28. Taking responsibility also means owning up to mistakes without making excuses for them. Everyone makes mistakes, but being honest and accountable makes both learning from mistakes and getting over mistakes easier.
  29. Remind yourself that you have the power to influence your situation and environment. You can change if you make the choice to do so.
  30. Create a one-day plan. Start small. Think about what you can do today to make the results you want part of your reality. Maybe it’s talking with a friend about what it is you truly want. Maybe it’s journaling about what inspires you, lights the fire inside, and brings about a sense of purpose and passion.
  31. Be resourceful. Resourcefulness is one of the key factors to overcoming any challenge. Being resourceful includes asking for help so don’t be afraid to turn to your family, friends, or colleagues for assistance.
  32. Tell someone about your plan. Accountability is everything. Knowing that you’re not alone and that someone else is there on the journey with you is empowering. Tell a friend or family member about this plan. Start working with a professional to bring your ideas and visions to life. Remember, you can’t do it all alone and the more love you let in, the more love you let out, and thus the more results you’ll see.
  33. Become a high-self monitor. Self-monitoring is the ability to assess yourself in order to more easily adjust to a situation. Being able to accurately assess your skills, style, and goals in a particular situation affords you the ability to better adapt, and successful adaptation leads to success in goal achievement.
  34. Self-evaluate. Whether it be how many sales you close at work or how often you cook dinner at home instead of ordering take-out, tracking and evaluating your activities is the best way to witness progress, see what’s working, and fix what’s not helpful. Once you can track and accomplish your goals, you can self-evaluate. Be your own critic. Be objective and realistic when you self-evaluate, and remember, “if it is to be, it’s up to me.”
  35. Truly embrace compassion. These changes all start with this one word: compassion. Without compassion, you’re stuck in a cycle of fear and excuses. Compassion allows the love to flow through. It allows you to show up, be authentic, and create the life you want for yourself. You can be your own worst enemy and critic. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a loving friend or family member. Take in the fact that you have a choice each and every moment. Align this choice with the results you want for yourself.
  36. Revise your language. If you find yourself engaging in self-doubt, telling yourself you “can’t do it” or “if only…”, you are buying into an external locus of control and may feel stuck in your present situation. Instead, tell yourself, “I think I can.”
  37. Repeat positive mantras such as “I can do this” or “I’m getting better at this.”
  38. Examine your “if only” statements and reword them positively. For example, “if only I had more time” can change to “I can find 10 minutes a day to do yoga.” Believing in yourself is half the battle.

15 Motivational Quotes to Stop Making Excuses: ‘He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.’ Lydia Sweatt  March 23, 2017

  1. “It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one.” —George Washington
  2. “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” —Benjamin Franklin
  3. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” ―John Wooden
  4. “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” ―George Washington Carver
  5. “We have forty million reasons for failure, but not a single excuse.” ―Rudyard Kipling
  6. “Every vice has its excuse ready.” ―Publilius Syrus
  7. “If you really want to do it, you do it. There are no excuses.” —Bruce Nauman
  8. “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” —John Burroughs
  9. “We have more ability than willpower, and it is often an excuse to ourselves that we imagine that things are impossible.” ―François de la Rochefoucauld
  10. “The trouble with excuses is that they become inevitably difficult to believe after they’ve been used a couple of times.” ―Scott Spencer
  11. “Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.” ―Edward R. Murrow
  12. “It is wise to direct your anger towards problems—not people, to focus your energies on answers—not excuses.” ―William Arthur Ward
  13. “Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.” ―Henry Ward Beecher
  14. “People with integrity do what they say they are going to do. Others have excuses.” ―Laura Schlessinger
  15. “It is wrong and immoral to seek to escape the consequences of one’s acts.” ―Mahatma Gandhi

References:

  1. https://organisemyhouse.com/the-answers-to-procrastination-the-biggest-barrier-to-getting-organised/
  2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-15874/7-tips-to-stop-making-excuses-about-why-youre-not-succeeding.html
  3. http://www.thelawofattraction.com/stop-making-excuses-giving-up/
  4. http://blog.iqmatrix.com/a-life-of-excuses
  5. https://www.wikihow.com/Stop-Making-Excuses
  6. https://www.success.com/article/15-motivational-quotes-to-stop-making-excuses
  7. https://www.success.com/blog/stop-using-these-3-excuses-if-you-want-to-be-successful
  8. Whitbourne PhD, Susan; Excuses, Excuses, Excuses: Why People Lie, Cheat, & Procrastinate. Psychology Today. 5/2010.

Making Excuses

What is an Excuse?

The definition of an excuse includes –

  • To make an allowance for; to grant pardon to; to overlook or forgive.
  • To apologize for an act that could cause offense.
  • To explain in the hope of being forgiven or understood; to justify.
  • To free, as from obligation or duty; be exempt.
  • To give permission to leave; release from obligation.
  • An explanation offered to justify or obtain forgiveness.
  • A reason or grounds for excusing.
  • A note explaining an absence.
  • Used to acknowledge and ask forgiveness for an action that could cause offense.
  • Used to request that something be repeated.

Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events and circumstances. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to neglect taking a particular kind of action, or simply as a means of negating responsibility. Excuses are in essence a means of placing blame OF an internal problem ON an external condition.

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So, in other words we use excuses to help ourselves feel better about not doing something that really should be done, or we feel needs to be done. Or to help ourselves feel ‘okay’ about our reactions to situations or people. It is our way of procrastinating; our way of putting difficult tasks off until we feel comfortable doing them, or until we’re shamed in to doing them. Procrastination is the main thing that will stop you from getting organized and achieving your goals. It is the excuses we develop and use to help us avoid doing something and it comes in many forms.

Everyone at some point or another has put something off or has found themselves with an obligation that they may not want to fulfill. Whether it was forced upon them or it was a choice that they made. If we really don’t want to do something we will find a way to get out of it and we’ll talk ourselves into feeling comfortable with not doing it. Our excuses are our reasoning of WHY we don’t want to do it.

Stop and think about the time you decided you needed to make a change in your life like losing weight or exercising more. It was important to you, at least for a moment, until you started thinking about what you will have to do to accomplish your goal or complete the obligation. Then what did you do? Did you find reasons to avoid taking steps or did you find ways to get started?

Most of the time, excuses are voiced over and over in your head until you believe them and feel they are the truth. Then your reality becomes exactly everything your avoiding. The lies or excuses build on top of each other and eventually you’re struggling to maintain the façade.

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If you could understand the WHY of your excuses, maybe you could eliminate them and achieve your desires, accomplish your goals, and be successful in your life.  That is the purpose behind this article, to help us all stop making excuses and live to our fullest potential. To dig deeper into our excuses that stop our progress and hinder our happiness. To turn the excuses for why you can’t do it into reasons for why it’s already done.

According to Susan Whitbourne PhD, there are four basic reasons why we make excuses or lie to ourselves and others to avoid doing what we don’t want to do. Or to avoid the consequences of not doing what we’re supposed to do. These include reinforcement, memory distortion, protection of a positive sense of identity, and the self-serving bias.

The first reason for making excuses is reinforcement. This is the process of getting away with a lie or excuse we make to ourselves or others and feeling that it is okay to do it again since you were never caught. The more often you get away with lying, cheating, and making excuses the more comfortable you will feel with doing it again.

The second reason for making excuses is memory distortion. This occurs when the lies and excuses have built upon each other and have become a form of reality for you. You have lied and backed up your lies for so long they become a part of your personal history.

The third reason for making excuses is the protection of a positive sense of identity. This is where we convince ourselves and others that the lies and excuses we have repeated over and over are legitimate reality. We do this to avoid admitting that we were dishonest, to keep ourselves looking good.

Finally, the fourth reason for making excuses is our self-serving bias. This is the way we see ourselves and our situations. We see a situation, event, or person as wrong or the cause of our action or reaction. We don’t see that it is wrong to lie so that we can feel okay about being dishonest. This is called the ‘fundamental attribution error’ in which you may demoralize someone else that lies while making excuses for your own lies.

As you can see there are ‘complex and interlocking’ reasons for lying, cheating, and fabricated excuse-making. People are constantly dodging, lying, and trying to remember their lies and excuses. They’re shortchanging themselves because these behaviors prevent them from achieving their full potential and feeling maximum fulfillment.

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Anything that you find difficult in life tends to be procrastinated over – it’s human nature. If you can determine your reasons for procrastination, then you are already past the main hurdle in getting over it. These are some common reasons used for not doing something.

Reason #1: Time Issues

We’ve all said, at least once – I have no free time. There’s something else that has to be done. I’ll start tomorrow. I will make it my New Year’s resolution.

So instead let’s say – I will have more time to get more done if I get organized. If my schedule, work, and home are organized I will have more time to do what I want. I am starting now so that I can to what I love.

Reason #2: Fear Issues

We’ve all said, at least once – What if it goes wrong? What will others say? What if I get organized and then can’t keep up? What if I fail?

So instead let’s say – What’s the worst that can happen? Why does it matter what others think? I will plan how to achieve my goals. I know that if I fail I can always start over again. I will rid myself of the physical and emotional baggage that I do not need.

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Reason #3: Perfectionist Issues

We’ve all said, at least once – I don’t want to start something unless I can complete it 100%. I need a full week off to get everything done. I won’t start until I have everything I need to get organized. This just isn’t right, I feel it should be better.

So instead let’s say – It doesn’t have to be 100% complete. Nothing is ever perfect. I will work on one thing each day to get it all done. Change is inevitable, and I can keep up with it. I am so well organized I can accomplish everything I need to.

Reason #4: Lack of Energy

We’ve all said, at least once – it’s boring. Why should I bother? I don’t have enough energy to start. It’s too much hassle. Isn’t it easier to stay just as I am?

So instead let’s say – I’ll get it done then do something I like to do. I’ll tell my friend, so he or she can provide moral support. I want to do this, and I am going to start now. I would feel so much better doing this instead of putting it off. I want to change.

Other Reasons for Excuses

There are many reasons why people make excuses. In fact everyone has different reasons for making them. However, when it boils down to it, we only make excuses for the following main reasons:

  • Fear of Failure
  • Fear of Embarrassment
  • Fear of Success
  • Fear of Change
  • Fear of Uncertainty
  • Fear of Responsibility
  • Fear of Making Mistakes
  • Perceived lack of confidence or resources

To eliminate excuses from our lives we must first look at eliminating all traces of fear.  Fear traps and locks us away within our comfort zone. Yet fear often develops as a result of a lack of understanding, information, resources, experience or perspective. If you lack all these things, you will naturally lack confidence, and as a result you will fail to take the action necessary to achieve your goals and objectives. Consequently, you will tend to make excuses about your life and circumstances in order to help boost your self-esteem. However, all you’re doing is creating the illusion of security. You’re simply masking the pain by taking a pain killer. The pain is still there, and will continue to persist until you finally overcome your fears.

These all give us an idea of the unconscious choices we often make to avoid being uncomfortable. So now we know what we can avoid or alter to improve our situations. In the next article “Stop Making Excuses” we’ll discuss ways to become more organized and learn how to stop making excuses.

References:

  1. https://organisemyhouse.com/the-answers-to-procrastination-the-biggest-barrier-to-getting-organised/
  2. http://blog.iqmatrix.com/a-life-of-excuses
  3. Whitbourne PhD, Susan; Excuses, Excuses, Excuses: Why People Lie, Cheat, & Procrastinate. Psychology Today. 5/2010.