We all make excuses from time to time.
As humans, we are fantastic at picking from a never-ending supply of excuses to limit our capabilities. From avoiding the gym to cleaning the house, it's easy to come up with an excuse about why we can't follow through on something that is important, but not urgent. We can be incredibly creative when it comes to thinking of excuses or ways to get out of situations that seem difficult or cause us fear and anxiety. Sound familiar?
It’s a simple habit that we use to rationalise why we didn't follow through with said commitment. Why do we make excuses? Honestly, the answer depends on both your personal situation and the challenge that you're facing. Maybe in order to maintain your own comfort, or because you simply can’t say ‘no’. Fear is a big one - fear of the unknown, fear of failure or making a mistake, fear of being exposed and vulnerable. When we need to face the unknown, and feel anxious about it, we instinctively back off in order to feel comfortable again. Another reason may be lack of motivation or goals.
The excuses we use are not always intentional, sometimes they get the best of us, and we are not even aware of the consequences.
The good news is, we can learn how to stop making excuses. If you want to achieve happiness and fulfilment in your life, we all need to stop with the excuses and start taking action.
Don’t let your ‘later’ become your ‘never’. Here are some ways to help you curb this excuse-making behaviour today (and of course, not make excuses about why you can't start today.)
How to stop making excuses:
Acknowledge your behaviour
Once you are aware that you are doing this to yourself and it is negatively impacting your life, then you can begin to make necessary changes. If you’re in denial, you’ll find it a lot harder to stop making excuses.
Embrace the fear
Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, focus on the possible positive outcomes instead. Fear will always be there, but embrace it and use it as your fuel, making sure that if something does go wrong you realise that it's ok, you just need to get back up and try again.
Don’t overthink the situation
When we are confronted with a situation our brain automatically goes into overdrive, thinking about every tiny little detail and every possible scenario. We then tend to give up and make an excuse instead. It’s time to take a risk - stop sweating the small stuff and take that leap of faith. Trust your gut.
Stop blaming others
Take responsibility for your actions. If things aren’t working out the way you want them to, you have the power to change things. Once you stop dwelling on mistakes and accept your own behaviour, you’ll begin to find it easier to stop thinking of reasons not to do something and actually start doing. Learn to be present and focus on what’s happening in a given moment.
Don’t compare yourself to others
You are you and that is your superpower. Embrace your uniqueness and remember that everyone is on a different journey - don’t compare your start to someone else's middle. Love who you are and do it on purpose. Wonderful things begin to happen when you are content with who you are - your confidence will far outshine your excuses.
Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses
Excuses make us more negative because they cause us to focus on our shortcomings, and as a result we end up feeling defeated and disheartened. What you say to yourself is important. Focus on your strengths and remember all that you’re capable of so that you can build them up and use them to get the most out of every situation.
Set SMART goals
To get rid of excuses, you need to have goals. They need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-Specific. Even small goals can bring you huge changes. Without them you lack focus and direction. Goal setting has SO many benefits; it allows you to create a life you truly love, achieve more than you think you are capable of, have a more focused direction in life, and give clarity in decision making.
Take action everyday
Even if it’s the smallest step towards a goal, implementing self-care, doing house chores, or just completing a small task, every single time you make the effort to do one thing everyday, you start to form the habit of doing and break away from the habit of making excuses to procrastinate.
Always remember your ‘why’
Excuses are stopping you from living your true you and limiting your capabilities. The sooner you realise that you have the potential to make things right and lead a fulfilled life, the more happiness you will have.
How do you stop making excuses?