I’m sure a lot of us can remember a time when we procrastinated and wasted our day away so we wouldn’t have to start that important project, task or errand. But I’m also pretty sure some of us can remember a time when we started a project immediately and finished ahead of time! #bestfeelingever
However, one thing I am most certainly sure of is that all of us make excuses from time to time — you respond to your friend’s text asking you out for drinks, saying that you promised your mom you’d take her our for dinner (when secretly you’re having frozen pizza with Netflix). It’s totally normal to use an excuse to back out of plans every now and again — especially when we need a little time to ourselves.
But what about the excuses we tell ourselves . . . Those times when you think to yourself, There just aren’t any opportunities for me to succeed at work, or I just do not have the time to do this. When really, there’s a new position that just opened up that’s perfect for you, or you really do have the time, you just fear change a little more than you crave success. And believe me when I say I know exactly how that feels!
“Excuses comprise the root of much of our self-destructive behavior,” says Ashley Fern, writer for Elite Daily. They’re an avoidance tactic and something we conjure up to explain away our limitations. They prevent us from achieving greatness and keep us from reaching for our dreams.
So how can we ditch our excuses and start living our life to the fullest, you ask? Keep reading for seven ways to help you to stop making excuses and start living your best life!
Before I get right into how you can stop making excuses, I wanted to give you a little back story of how this post came about.
In my own life, I’ve kept myself stuck for so many years because of fear; fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not being good enough, fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of (fill in the blank). There was a time where I literally did everything I could to avoid anything that would make me feel uncomfortable. And as a result, my comfort zone kept getting smaller and smaller.
But one day, I realized that anything that filled me with fear — whether it was riding a rollercoaster or performing my music in front of others — had unconsciously made it from the fun list to the fear list. Little by little, I had shrunk my comfort zone down to the point where I could fit it into my back pocket!
When I started becoming aware of how many goals I had passed up because of all my fears, I started to see a steady pattern between my fears and my excuses. My fears lead to me making excuses, while my excuses are based on all the false ideas and beliefs I’ve gathered throughout my life about what it is I can or cannot do.
The reason why we fall back on excuses will look different for everyone. But there is one thing that almost all of our excuses dome down to: Fear! When we start digging into reasons why we make excuses, fear is almost always where we end up.
In order to stop making excuses, it’s important to work on overcoming our fears. Because the less fearful we are, the less we will hide behind excuses. So now, onto how you can stop making excuses in your own life and start living your best life!
Make a list of your fears.
The first step, aside from realizing that we’re making excuses in the first place, is to identify our fears. So, make a list of all your fears (to the best of you ability) and read them aloud. Seeing them on paper diminishes their value.
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.
Organize your priorities & goals.
Next, you’ll want to identify your priorities, or your goals basically. When you don’t have a system for making decisions or achieving your goals, the tendency is to just go with whatever feels best in the moment, or is the easiest route. But when we are clear on our priorities, we can better avoid making excuses.
With priorities, it’s important to define your major focus and minor focuses. A major focus would get the benefit of any extra attention you have to devote to it. Minor focuses won’t be abandoned, but your goal is to put them on autopilot so most of your mental energy is devoted to your major focus. They are the action steps you will take to achieve your goal, the major focus.
To give you an example, my major focus right now is working towards self-love. My minor focuses are my health, relationships, and anything that brings me joy. The minor focuses continue to be worked on while improving and accepting myself. But most of my mental attention is going into ways I can love myself more fully.
Splitting your priorities into a single major focus and several minor focuses make it far less difficult to put out excuses. Whenever a conflict arises where I would normally offer an excuse, I can simply think back to my priorities.
If you really want to make things happen in your life, you need to start playing offense instead of defense. After identifying your priorities, you need to also identify:
- What’s holding you back and why
- What you need in order to achieve your goal
- A plan to make it happen
Then, most importantly, you need to do the work to break down any discomfort around the goal. If you forget the importance of your goal, you’re more likely to make excuses on why you can’t make it happen.
What you can do today, do not leave for tomorrow! No more, “But I’m waiting for the right time,” or “I don’t even think I’ll get the audition.” Why don’t you just get started and see where your hard work and effort takes you!
Truly embrace compassion.
It’s hard to open up to yourself about why you feel and act the way you do. Digging deep down and identifying our fears takes strength. Most of us would rather bury our hands in the sand and pretend that the problems we face aren’t so bad. But these changes to better ourselves all start with one word: compassion. Without compassion, we’re stuck in a cycle of fears and excuses.
Compassion allows love to flow through. And it allows you to show up for yourself, be authentic, and create the life you want most for yourself.
We can be our own worst enemy. But remember to talk to yourself like you would talk to a loving friend or family member. Take into account the fact that you have a choice each and every moment. Align this choice with the results you want for yourself and you will learn to go after want you deserve without any compromise!
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.
Today, stop making excuses for what you don’t have in your life. Instead, figure out what you need to get there and make room for your goals.
+What goal are you going to make a priority today? How else do you train yourself to stop making excuses? Tell me in the comments below!
Much love and good luck