What’s Your Excuse?

In my Nip Burnout in the Bud e-Course, I talk about excuses. Those recurring reasons we give ourselves for not doing, being, or having what we really want. Maybe we say we want to spend more time with our partner, but never leave the office until late every night. Or, we say we want to be healthier and in better shape yet we always find some reason why we can’t find the time to exercise or eat well.

Well, this ongoing loop of excuses drains our energy, gets exhausting (to us and to those around us listening to us), and simply drags us down. The bottom line is you either want something or you don’t. And, if you want it but keep kvetching the same sob story as to why you can’t get it, then chances are you are caught up in a cycle of excuses.

Let me note here that I don’t mean just because you want something and you decide to drop your excuses that — poof! Like magic you’ll get it. If that were the case, I would be selling that magic bullet on eBay for several thousand dollars a wish starting tomorrow – to hell with Aladdin and some lamp! And, I’d be sipping cabernet from my beachfront house overlooking the Pacific by May.

What I do mean is that if you really want something, you need to be taking conscious and consistent action to make it happen. Build in a ritual, hire some support, or rearrange your schedule so that you devote time to whatever it is you want and value.

All my work with clients and training has taught me that excuses are rooted in fear. I mean, what if we really were brilliant and could have the success we wanted, then what? That could be scary because it would be outside our comfort zone and life experience to date. Or, perhaps it is downright implausible in our own minds because our excuse is that we aren’t good enough, or we’re too fat, too thin, not smart enough, not sexy enough, and so forth.

The breakdown of this desire and excuse cycle looks like this:

  • There is something we truly want. (Hurrah, our hopes are up!)
  • Our head fills up with years worth of limiting beliefs and messages we’ve gotten from others as to why we either shouldn’t want that or couldn’t possible achieve/have that. (We feel guilty or bad)
  • So, we don’t want to let go of the dream or desire so we hold onto it halfheartedly by saying “I’d love to ____ but….” or “someday I’ll get to _____, but for now….” (We feel – maybe I can keep the hope alive?)
  • Then, we make up the excuse. The valid, sounds good to people we talk to reason why we can’t have what we want. (At least I won’t look like a loser or failure to others because I have a valid reason!)
  • And, unconsciously we move toward a state of feeling resigned to not having what we want or simply moving from an inspiring idea to a state of mediocrity.

Does this sound at all familiar to you?

If so, start busting your own excuses! Look at one item you want and the excuse you usually use for not getting it. Then, write down the absolutely worst thing that could possibly happen if you took a risk and started taking action to get the thing you want.

For example, a common “want” is to get fit. The A#1 excuse for not getting it is “I don’t have time to exercise”. So, in this exercise, you’d write down what is the worst thing that could happen if you set aside time just for you to exercise even if you have to move or eliminate some obligations? It might be “my family will feel neglected” or “my business will fail because I’m not working that extra hour” for example.

Chances are, these worst case scenarios won’t even come close to happening. But, for kicks, next to your worst case scenario, write the likelihood that it might happen on a scale from 1 (not likely) to 5 (absolute certainty).

Now, after looking at the facts, do you still want what you say you want even if you still fear some resistance? If so, it’s time to work your courage muscle and start putting one foot in front of the other and take some baby steps in the direction you desire.

I’ll be talking about designing and taking those baby steps in a post in the near future, so stay tuned. And, please, share your comments or even some of your excuses with us.

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