We all have excuses that we keep readily available when we don’t want to do something or fall behind on an action or don’t know what to do. How much time do you spend creating excuses to yourself or others why something wasn’t done or didn’t have time to follow your dreams. How do you feel when you create an excuse?
Excuses rob us of wellbeing and joy in our lives. Excuses create distrust within our minds around our ability to follow through and generate distrust in others when we don’t follow through on our promises. What is the one favorite excuse word?
“I tried” or will ‘try’ is an excellent excuse for why something didn’t get done or putting off until the reality is that something will not be done.
When I say “I try,” it’s because others will think I’m doing something…trying. Trying produces absolutely nothing, except the illusion that I am doing something.
Using the word ‘try’ is another way you get off the hook for having to do something. It’s a figure of speech that we all use daily, yet it also tells your brain, that you don’t want or need to do it…and you tried.
Keep in mind that words have power in how we think and how we act. What we tell ourselves is how we act in our lives. For example,
- I’m going to try to exercise 2 times a week
- I’m going to exercise 2 times a week.
What is the difference in the messaging to your brain? “I’m going to try” implies I will try but don’t think I will do it, nor don’t need to be accountable to it, as I need to ‘try.” Whereas “I’m going to exercise” tells the brain, it’s a commitment, and you will do it.
You mind acts on your words and does what you tell it.
If we act on something and make a mistake, it’s not a ‘try,’ rather an action that we learn either not to do again or make adjustments, so it works out better next time. It’s not a try; it’s a do.
Drop the word ‘try’ from your usage and instead, either acknowledge you don’t want to do it, don’t volunteer to do something you won’t do, and instead either commit or don’t commit. Be honest as ‘try’ is a sneaky way not to do something.
“Do, or Do Not, There is No Try” – Master Yoda
Excuses keep us busy and block our focus around what we want in life. I have used many excuses in my life and wished someone nudged me earlier with honest feedback and told me I was addicted to excuses. What are some favorite excuses we use regularly?
- I don’t have the time – We all have lots to do, yet we can carve out time for what we want to do. We have to be willing to make it a priority and decide not to do the regular comfort activity. We make time to watch TV or play games on the PC, so why can’t we make time to write, reach out to others, or do something meaningful that adds value to our lives.
- I’m too old – For example, going back to school and saying I will be too old to do anything with it. It’s too late to try a new career. I met someone recently who in her late 60s and got a Ph.D. in Psychology five years ago. Some would say that was too old, but she didn’t have that belief.
- I don’t know what to do – as a coach, I’ve heard this several times when someone was having a hard time moving forward in what they wanted. This thought blocks you because you believe it’s too hard to do.
- It’s too late – it’s never too late to fix a relationship, learn something new, write the book you have in your head, find a partner to love and be loved. It’s never too late for anything you want to do.
Words are powerful and impact our lives.
Why not choose to reframe your excuses and start telling yourself a different story.
Reframe Your Excuses
- I have the time – put in the blank what you want to do and then create a plan on how you will do it. Keep in mind; your time may be limited to start with, though you will find when we follow on what you want, excitement naturally generates more time.
- I’m not old – I’m going to use maturity to do what I want. If not now, when? Do I want to die with regrets? No, I rather go after what I want.
- I’m not sure what to do, but I will do the research to find out what to do next – this is a powerful reframe because you get to acknowledge the truth you don’t know what to do, yet you are positive that you will find out what the next steps are to go after what you want.
- It’s never, never, never too late – I will say that there are times it’s too late. At my age, being a ballerina (my childhood desire) is a bit too late, yet I can take a dance class and express myself through dancing. It’s the same for all of us, as there is joy in following through in what you want in life.
Go After Your Dreams
Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to go after what you want, yet living with unmet desires and regrets takes a lot of energy. You have to be willing to be a little uncomfortable to let go of excuses and decide to move forward with what you want in your life. Sometimes it’s just a little uncomfortable and other times you have to stick with it for the long haul until the change is fully cemented into your life.
Here are some steps that may be of help in creating a new script about who you are and what you can have in your life. It will support you with letting go of excuses and moving forward into doing.
- Allow yourself to write down all the things you would like to do, learn, explore in your life. No judgments here, dump out everything you carry around in your head that pops up and you “just wish” could happen. Some of them will be funny, some light and some significant life-changing. Just list everything!!!!
- Now look at your list and by each idea, write a ‘WTD’ next to it to indicate you ‘Want to Do.” Not everything on your list is a ‘WTD.’ There will be ‘NTH’ which means ‘nice to have,’ though not the priority in your life now.
- Separate the NTH from the WTD and park the NTH for a future review because at some point it may be a WTD.
- Now you have a list of WTD and here is where you get to think about how you would feel if at the end of your life you didn’t do it. That’s when you put an “R” next to the WTD, which indicates you would regret not doing.
- Separate the R WTD from the regular WTD and again park the WTD for future interest.
- Now you have a list of priorities in your life that you need to start addressing today.
- Chose one R WTD and only one to tackle now. Why only one — because if you choose more than one, you will get overwhelmed and may step back into “excuse” land. Depending on what the idea is will determine how many steps it will take to move forward with an action plan.
- Write down all the different tasks to make your R WTD a reality. This is an activity moving you forward into action.
- Again, take one task off that list and do it. Worry about tomorrow when it comes, today you are moving forward in creating a life you want for yourself.
Excuses are aligned with inaction. A small action helps create more action.
We give away our control in life with our excuses. When we decide to face our excuses and decide to go after what we want, we start to believe in ourselves. Excuses are words that you gave power to, and if you choose to change your words, you get to build confidence to go after what you want.
- Look at your excuses, reframe the words and then decide what is the big WHY around thinking a different way.
- What would happen if you decide to commit and follow through on how you want to live, how you want to interact with others, and what supports your wellbeing? Imagine what your life would be like if you let go of the excuse and instead create a new reality for yourself?
- It’s the end of your life – what regrets do you want to die with?
- Keep in mind that change doesn’t need to be drastic unless you are in a health crisis. Instead, you can make small changes, though do it each day, even if it’s only for 10-15 minutes. For example, that book you want to write, get a piece of paper and start brainstorming on all the ideas you have in your head around books you would write. Just have fun with it as it’s the start of moving from “excuse” land to action.
“Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?” Caroline Myss
In what ways have excuses impacted your life? Have you let go of an excuse and branched out to commit to a change? What excuses do you use mainly?
Women’s Group Topics
Women are great at supporting women, yet a lot of times we support each other’s excuses and not help each other stretch and move forward in our lives. We all want to live a fuller life and can use support from others to brainstorm how to do it and keep each other accountable in making a dream flourish and become a reality.