We have all made excuses at some points in life. It’s easy to do because often, they’re rooted in truth.
Maybe you did miss an important meeting because of unexpected traffic, or your Wi-Fi really did fail just when you needed it most. These things happen, and sometimes they’re beyond our control.
But while these reasons might be valid, wouldn’t you rather find success than a good excuse?
Table of Contents
- Why Do We Make Excuses?
- The Power of Responsibility
- How to Stop Making Excuses
- Final Thoughts
Why Do We Make Excuses?
Excuses might feel like a comfortable safety net, but they can hold you back from achieving your dreams. Psychology Today highlights that people often resort to excuses when they’re unhappy with some aspect of their lives, be it their finances, family, or career. When we face the tough question of why we’re not where we want to be in life, it’s tempting to point fingers at circumstances.
But what’s the real cost of these excuses? They can be dangerously limiting.
A Real-Life Example
Take the goal of losing weight, for instance. Suppose you set a target to lose twenty pounds in 90 days. At the end of this period, you find you’ve only shed five pounds. It’s easy to think about the times you strayed from your meal plan or skipped a workout.
Yet, by owning up to these moments, you’re actually empowering yourself for future success.
Recognizing that you strayed from your plan is the first step in understanding what needs to change. Maybe you need a more realistic goal, or perhaps your plan needs tweaking.
In accepting responsibility, you gain clarity on what actions to take next.
The Power of Responsibility
Blaming failures on external circumstances might seem like the easy route, but it leaves you waiting passively for life to change.
On the other hand, embracing responsibility puts you in the driver’s seat. When you stop making excuses, you start making progress.
Your ability to succeed is significantly enhanced when you take control of your actions and outcomes.
Excuses might offer temporary comfort, but they can’t compete with the fulfillment and growth that come from taking responsibility for your life.
How to Stop Making Excuses
If you really want to stop making excuses and focus on achieving success, try the following tips to keep yourself on track.
1. Recognize the Need to Step out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to learn how to stop making excuses, you need to focus on why you want to improve your life.
When doubt creeps into your mind, you will start to make excuses to justify keeping things the same. When your mind is in this state, your motivation to continue is the furthest thing from it.
Your mind has transitioned into “flight or fight” mode. Therefore, every excuse you think of is an attempt to justify a return to your comfort zone.
The most dangerous aspect of your comfort-zone is the fact that it can feel so… comfortable. Your comfort zone is filled with habits you have grown accustomed to.
The problem with staying in your comfort zone is that the changes you want to make in your life require you to leave it to expand your horizons. As the saying goes, what got you here won’t get you there.
Step Out of the Comfort Zone
2. Avoid Associating with “Excuse-Makers”
One of the significant revelations I had when I started venturing beyond my comfort zone was the prevalence of excuse-making among the people in my life.
In retrospect, our conversations were often filled with complaints and justifications. Just think about what we could have accomplished if we had channeled that time and energy into action!
Like you, the individuals you surround yourself with may not be aware of their tendency to make excuses. Believe me, you can point it out repeatedly, but it’s a realization that everyone must arrive on their own before they can initiate change.
Take the initiative to steer conversations in a new direction; become the catalyst for change. By eliminating your own excuses, you’re likely to inspire those you care about to do the same.
3. Focus on Your Motivation
To motivate yourself to expand your comfort zone and stop making excuses, you need to keep your passion and motivation in the forefront of your mind.
Each time you succumb to your excuses, you are creating a reason to accept the status quo of your life. There will always be a reason to wait for tomorrow, but you cannot allow yourself to continue procrastinating.
Ask yourself, “How do I see my life changing when I accomplish my goal?” Will you be better positioned to take care of your family, support causes you are passionate about, or chase your dreams?
Whatever the reason, understand that excuses rob you of the opportunity to accomplish your dreams.
Focus on Motivation
4. Harness Your Excuses as Valuable Signals
In your journey towards personal growth and productivity, it’s crucial to view your excuses as valuable signals rather than obstacles.
Each time an excuse arises, it serves as a signal pointing to a deeper underlying issue. Embrace this opportunity to gain insight into your inner workings.
When you catch yourself making excuses, take a moment to delve deeper, identify the root cause, and take proactive steps to overcome it. The more consistently you apply this practice, the less you’ll hinder your progress toward realizing your full potential.
Harness Your Excuses
5. Fight the Fear of Failure
Those who know how to stop making excuses accept the fact that they will not always get it right the first time. Fear of failure causes many to make excuses to justify their inaction.
Taking steps into the unknown is difficult. Your mind is focused on keeping you safe, and as a result, it is bombarding you with images of the worst-case scenario.
If your goal is to apply for a new job or start your own business, your mind is concerned about you leaving your stable income.
As soon as you start to visualize yourself leaving, your mind starts making excuses for all the reasons you should stay.
While you were tired of being overlooked for a promotion yesterday, you are now wondering if you really wanted the promotion in the first place. You contemplate if managing adults is really worth the trouble.
You start to feel lucky you didn’t get promoted because you think the additional work will outweigh the additional pay.
And what if you are not as ready to be promoted as you thought you were? Then you run the risk of your employment being terminated.
In just a few short minutes, you have created multiple excuses to keep things just the way they are. When you take accountability for the results in your life, the answer to each of these questions is the same.
While you may not know exactly what your future entails, you are comfortable knowing that you will rise to the challenge.
Whatever that challenge may be, you know you are going to learn the skills necessary to succeed.
Conquer the Fear of Failure
It’s easier than you might think to fall into the trap of believing life is just happening to you.
But the empowering truth is, you have more control over your life than you might realize. You’re the architect of your own experiences and outcomes. If you’re not happy with where you are, the journey to change begins with ditching the excuses.
Embracing responsibility for your life can spark a remarkable transformation. Suddenly, you’ll find yourself brainstorming ways to make positive changes.
It’s about having confidence in your ability to navigate and triumph, even in the toughest of situations. This mindset isn’t just hopeful; it’s a practical approach to living a fulfilling and successful life.
|Psychology Today: Hierarchy of Excuses: The Pathetic Path of Least Resistance
|Harvard Business Review: Understanding the stress response
|Journal of Rational-Emotive & Cognitive-Behavior Therapy: The Complexity of the Relation between Fear of Failure and Procrastination