Stop Making Excuses…
“The person who really wants to do something finds a way; the other person finds an excuse.” Unknown Author
With summer right around the corner, many of us are thinking about getting back in shape or getting in better shape. It’s that time of the year. Summer is in the air and the thought of getting into summer clothes makes many of us head to the gym.
Yet as I thought about summer and my rather sporadic workouts lately, I began to come up with a list of excuses a mile long. I could justify why I wasn’t going to the gym. I justified my behavior by saying, “I didn’t have time”, “I hadn’t been feeling well”, “and I’d do it later or tomorrow”, etc. Yet no matter what I came up with they were all just excuses.
As I listened to myself I felt sick. It’s not fun to get real about our excuses. And yet it’s the only way I grow. I cannot grow until I identify what’s keeping my stuck and decide to get out of the “excuse trap”. We all can easily fall into the ‘excuse trap’. No one is exempt from making excuses – we all do it at one time or another. We set out to reach a goal, get scared or discouraged and then we make excuses as to why we are no longer going after that goal or taking action. I find fear is the number one thing behind my excuses. To reach a goal I have to get out of my comfort zone and get uncomfortable. To avoid walking through my fear, I make an excuse. Sometimes I make lots of excuses.
Excuses are like a bad relationship, we often hang on long to them long after they are over. My excuses do not help me, they keep me stuck. I cannot live up to my full potential if I continue to make excuses. I get in my own way, sabotage my success and then feel miserable. Excuses rob me of my life, my dreams and my joy. And yet why do I continue to make them?
In addition to fear, I make excuses as an avoidance tactic. I make up excuses to explain away my limitations. Instead of admitting my weaknesses I blame the world and those around me. It’s everyone else’s fault.
At 16 I was hospitalized for some mental health issues. During that time I had the opportunity to look at my weaknesses and the excuses I was making. I had been blaming everyone – my parents, my teachers and my friends – for where I was at in my life. And yet through the course of my stay I had the opportunity to look at my responsibility, my part. And as I did I was shocked to find out I had a choice. I could blame others forever or I could take responsibility for my own life and make the changes I needed to make. I choose to take responsibility to the best of my ability at that time. It wasn’t easy. I fell many times and can still fall into making excuses. And yet I know without a doubt that my life is my responsibility. I know that no one can make me change and no one can keep me down if I don’t give them permission.
Any time I fall back into making excuses I go back to that time in life and remember the things I overcame. I remember my commitment I made to myself. In addition I take a look at my priorities. By prioritizing my life, as it is right now, decision making is easier. With my priorities in place I can begin to let go of the excuses. I also remember that my life is mine. I must accept who I am, where I have been and what has happened to me. Acceptance of my life and my future puts it all in perspective. I alone am responsible for where I go and what I accomplish. And today I have made a choice once again to stop making excuses and go after my dreams.