Updated 5th June 2018
We all make excuses to do things we don’t want to do – attending that office reunion, helping out at yet another charity event or dog sitting for a friend. These excuses are innocent enough, and can often be a kind way of saying no when we simply aren’t able to take on additional commitments.
But we also use excuses to avoid doing things for ourselves, and often those things would be steps towards something we really want; for instance weight loss, going travelling, getting fit, starting your own business or finding a partner.
Why do we do this? Well, having a goal can be daunting – you’re not going to get there overnight and you’re going to have to put some effort in. And when it starts to feel difficult it’s easy to let yourself off the hook by saying “I don’t have the confidence”, “I don’t have the skills so I may as well give up”, or “I don’t have the time”.
In fact you’ve simply identified a challenge, an area of your life which needs some work, or a rethink. What you believe about yourself now shouldn’t dictate your future. But unfortunately our excuses can become what we coaches call Limiting Beliefs – used often enough they feel like the truth. For instance, “I will never lose weight as I don’t have any willpower”. And once these beliefs become our truth they reduce our confidence in our ability to change and develop.
So when you hear yourself making an excuse, it’s really important to question what’s behind it. In fact, treat it as a question, and ask yourself what you can do about it. If you keep telling yourself you have no time, ask yourself why it is that you have no time? What could you spend less time doing, or delegate, to free up the time you need to pursue your goals? If you believe you have no willpower, what could you do to minimise the need for it?
We’re all scared of failure, and it’s easy to use an excuse to blame someone or something else, but most things are actually within our control if we choose to take ownership of our situation.
Overcoming one of your own beliefs or excuses will be a really positive experience. It will make you feel more confident about stepping out of your comfort zone in other areas. It’s empowering, and if it moves you closer to your goals, what’s not to like?
So don’t let your own excuses hold you back!
If you’d like to work on your own excuses, take a look at our helpful books here.