It’s the end of January, have you broken your News Years Resolutions yet? Is there a particular reason why you stay stuck in an unhappy relationship, settle for a job that doesn’t fulfill you, cannot own a better car, are unable to get that Blog you have been dreaming of up and off the ground? Do you constantly say you are going to eat better and work out – but then come up with a calamity of excuses why it does not happen?
The old saying that the “road to hell is paved with good intentions,’ is one that rings inherently true when it comes to human beings. Most of us have good intentions to do the right things, and have big plans and dreams in our heads. But just when we get the inertia it takes to get started, we get side swiped by excuses, which according to Psychology Today, are nothing more than lies in disguise. Lies we tell ourselves.
If you have excuses for everything – then the most important thing for you to realize is that the one you are hurting the most is YOURSELF! It’s time to be done with EXCUSES and say enough already. In other words, ‘poop or get off the pot!”
In the world of psychology, making excuses for anything from why you cannot exercise to why your child acts a certain way is a form of what is called rationalization. It is a defined as an unconscious defense mechanism to justify behaviors. Most often, making excuses results from an emotional conflict. Such as you know you need to lose weight, but just do not have enough self-control to say no to the brownie being offered at your office party. So you eat the brownie and make excuses why you ate it later. Or, you are afraid of failing at a new endeavor or idea – so instead of simply trying, you come up with reasons or lacks to satisfy your disappointment in remaining idle. If you want to start a new business but are afraid it might not work out – you can find excuses of not having enough resources to get started, or of not having enough time to put in to the endeavor as a way to ease your guilt and shame.
According to Benjamin Franklin, “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
And this is just one of the reasons that constantly making excuses is so bad for you! Not only do your excuses hold you back from experiencing the full success of your potential, but they also keep your feet stuck in the mud. If you make excuses, eventually you begin to believe them and then they become obstacles to becoming anything else than what you are right now.
The thing is that no matter how much potential you have, or how much you want to accomplish as long as you live your life under the veil of excuses you won’t be able to get anything done, or move forward at all. Certainly, there are unpleasant things in life that you may not want to deal with from time to time. No one likes the idea of cleaning out the garage or exercising every day. However, excuses only leave you with the illusion that shrugging responsibility is acceptable and justified. In the long run, mental health experts believe that people who make chronic excuses for everything in their life end up feeling both depressed and emotionally unfulfilled with no hope for life satisfaction. While you might be temporarily tricking your conscious mind that your excuse is valid, the subconscious mind sees the trickery as exactly what it is. A big fat excuse. A lie that you tell yourself in order to get out of things or excuse your behavior. And a way to ensure that your life never changes for the better.
The good news is that you can change. You can learn to stop making excuses and move to a proactive place in your life where you actually get things down.
If you are prone to making excuses, check out these steps below for how to break out of the excuse making habit!
- First and foremost – get all of your excuses down on paper. Make a list of all the excuses that you make on a weekly basis. Every time you hear yourself making an excuse; write it down on a piece of paper. As you accumulate your excuses for why you cannot stick to a diet, or why you cannot get a better job – you are arming yourself with the important information you will need to move forward.
- The next step is to systematically go through your excuses and on another piece of paper, write down at least 3 solutions for your excuses. These solutions may not be the exact answer you need, but they help you to realize that the possibility exists if you give it a chance.
- Next up, is write down your short and long-term goals. Along with these goals – write down the excuses you have made for why you are not realizing your potential and then, as mentioned above – write down theoretical solutions.
- This step is often the hardest for people who make a lot of excuses. Start thinking and TALKING positive to yourself. Much of the time, our excuses exist only in our mind chatter. Pay close to attention to what you are thinking, and try to rework your excuses into inspiration. For instance, instead of saying, “I will never have enough money to publish my book,” think, “Maybe self publishing is the best solution to get my book published.” The powers of optimism cannot be overshadowed by your proneness to make excuses.
The bottom line is that you have to eventually realize that lying to yourself and making excuses will only produce more of the same. Insanity is described as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Making excuses and essentially lying your way out of your potential success is only robbing YOU! Remember, the first step is always the hardest. If you remain cognizant of your excuses and learn how to diffuse them immediately, your life can and will change for the better.