Are you living a banal life of non-achievement because you keep making excuses as to why you can’t get things done? Do you keep doing this despite the consequences of constantly forgiving yourself for not moving forward in life again and again? If this is so, then you need to examine what the “payoff” is for you to be a constant non-achiever. works better for you than actually keeping your promises to yourself and others.
Some of the most common excuses that people make so that they don’t have to move forward in life are:
- I don’t have time.
- I don’t have the money.
- I am not educated
- My kids are in the way.
- I have no idea where to start.
- I am not a lucky person.
- I don’t know how to change.
Perhaps you are lazy, or like to play the victim or simply have the assurance that someone else will take care of you if you don’t get things done. The bottom line is that if you are making excuses, then it is because that works better for you than actually keeping your promises to yourself and others.
Making Excuses is a Symptom of Self-Limiting Behaviour
If you constantly make excuses for not meeting your obligations, then you are indulging in self-limiting behaviors. However, keep in mind that some self-limiting behaviors are healthy and about setting boundaries between you and other people so that they don’t take advantage of you. However, making an excuse about a promise you can’t keep is technically a case where you are taking advantage of someone else. This would be especially true if you were doing something like promising your little girl you would take her to the zoo, and then telling her that you don’t want to go because it might rain when in reality, you want to put up your feet and watch the football game. Lying to your landlord and saying you will pay your rent on time when really you plan to pay it ten days late because “your mother required sudden medical expenses” is another type of self-limiting excuse. Lying to others may not limit you at the moment, but over time, it can erode the trust of others in you and cause big losses in your life, such as the alienation of affections from your little girl or the loss of your rented apartment.
Breaking our promises to others is one thing but breaking our promises to ourselves is even worse. This also can be anything from putting off learning to drive, forgetting to apply for the job or putting off doing our taxes. Common excuses for this type of behavior include:
Why bother, I won’t do well anyway?
Accomplishing these things will bring me responsibilities I don’t want
I am not good enough to accomplish these things and can’t face the failure.
I have plenty of time to get what I want out of life so I can procrastinate for now
I am too old to start again.
Of course, most people are not cognizant of the dangers of making excuses and how breaking each promise to yourself nicks at your self-esteem and makes you despise yourself. In fact, the more you lie to yourself, the more insecure you feel, and the easier it is to lie to yourself again and again so that you can avoid taking the steps necessary to get what you want out of life.
The best thing you can do to address this problem is to sit down and ask yourself why you make so many excuses for yourself. Get a pencil and piece of paper out and make a list if you have to. Sometimes naming why you indulge in a chronic self-limiting behavior can help you get over it.
Staying in Your Comfort Zone
Lots of people make excuses for themselves because they truly do feel threatened by life every time they step out of their “comfort zone.” This is very common with individuals that have suffered a big setback in life such as a mean divorce, a bankruptcy or a major illness. They are simply scared to put their “toe in the water” again and live life again in case they lose their present comfortable situation.
People who have experienced a major trauma will also apologize to themselves every time this miss a deadline or don’t meet a goal, because they will always have the rationale that any effort to break out of a daily self-limiting routine, where every day is the same and no change is possible. A fear of having a psychological illness triggered because of the lack of consistency that making some big changes in your life means confronting the unknown and a possible unknown traumatic response.
If you are someone who is comfortable because someone else cares for you or always has your back, you might also be reluctant to change your life, because it means losing your current security, This is the type of situation where a married woman, who has always wanted be an artist, does not take the first step towards accomplishing her ambitions because she is afraid she will lose the support of her family and stare if she does.
Making Excuses Out of Fear of Failure
There is an old saying, “Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.” Many people do not actually live their lives, because they are afraid of being perceived as a failure. They have not learned to think in other terms and acknowledge that failure is not something to fear, but rather an experience to learn from. If you plan to stop making excuses for yourself, it is best to change your personal mantra to “a failure is just one step closer to a success” as that can help you reach your goal.
People who make this type of excuse greatly fear to make a mistake. Perhaps you have an overcritical partner or were raised by an overcritical parent. If mistakes seem like these seem to be the end of the world to you, then you might be blowing life all out of proportion. Furthermore, many people have a voice in their head that is quite overcritical that parrots someone critical in your life. Instead of seeing how some mistakes have benefited you in life and added strength to your character, you berate yourself instead of trying. If this is the case, then seeking out therapy to help get to the bottom of your low self-esteem might be a great idea.
Sometimes we fear being made fun of if we fail or being judged if we fail. Another common fear is that a brave venture may cost us all our resources or all of our friends. Often these fears are the result of over-dramatic or catastrophic thinking and belie a tendency to give others too much control over your life. What others think of you is never going to matter in the long run and most people who achieve great things succeed despite naysayers, gossip and negative public opinion.
Fear of the Unknown
The best cure for fear of the unknown is to do some research, ask some question and become knowledgeable about the very thing you fear. For instance, if you have always feared to apply for financial assistance to buy a home because you feel somehow that the topic is above your head then it might allay your fears to find out a little more about the topic by talking to a financial expert. A similar situation might be the woman who feels a lump in her breast but refuses to go to a doctor. She might be comforted to discover that not all lumps are cancer and find the courage to finally visit a doctor. In the case of the fear of getting a medical test, the dangers of making excuses can be deadly.
People also often make excuses because they have not gone to the trouble of getting all of the information that they need to embark on a new adventure. In this case, the culprit is ignorance that breeds fear. Fearing to make a move because one does not know all about it is a form of laziness that should be conquered along with the fear of failure. People are lazy about researching what they need to know about making a change in their life because it can keep them in their comfort zone. The damaging psychology at play here is, “if you don’t play, you can’t lose.” The personal loss to the individual thinking this is that he or she stays stuck in life and never gets to try anything new.
A Lack of Goal Setting
If you wake up every morning with no idea what you are doing next then it means that you did not set specific and measurable long-term goals for yourself. When you don’t have any goals at all, it is easy to simply kick back, relax and give in to the confusion. The long-term consequences of this type of self-sabotaging behavior can lead to a very boring, non-productive life with no involvement from others. By the way, if you feel that you prefer a boring, non-productive life with no involvement from others then you could be suffering from depression. Isolation, a lack of motivation and no desire to participate in life could be due to a deeper psychological issue that may need some resolution.
The point is that if you don’t make goals, then you cannot disappoint yourself. Your main excuse for not getting anything done is life is your lack of ambition. This way you also never set yourself up for failure, but you also never learn anything in life.
Many people are quite good at making vague goals such as “I really need to lose weight this summer.” However, in order for that goal to be attainable, measurable and achievable, it must be translated into some kind of action plan. For example, “I plan to lose 30 pounds this summer by losing two pounds a week for three months and I plan to do this by going on the keto diet.” The keto diet works for many people because it contains no sugar or carbs, so the goal of losing two pounds of the week is a reasonable one. Making a goal that says you will lose 5 pounds a week is not rational, because even though it is possible for one or two weeks you will gain the weight back.
When it comes to diets especially, people often set themselves up for failure by making the goal impossible to achieve and then when it doesn’t work, as would be the case with this example, they then say, “You see I failed again. Why do I even try?”
Setting an unrealistic goal also gives you an excuse to fail every day at something like a diet. For instance, you could have an excuse a day for not going to the gym. Examples might be “I am too tired.”, “I feel sick.”, “My workout clothes are dirty.”, It’s raining out.” Etc. Keeping a goal means making a contract with yourself and not breaking it until your goal is accomplished.
Fear of Being Less Than The Best
Some people would rather be a “legend in their own mind” rather than get out there in the real world and show everyone their talents. This is especially true of creative or very competitive individuals who greatly fear being compared to those who they perceive to be talented or more successful. This kind of person will make all kinds of excuses to not participate because they are already dying of envy because someone is more successful. If you are not following your dreams because you fear to be second best or less than best then it is time to swallow your ego, roll up your sleeves and give yourself a chance to succeed. Bottom line – “You can’t win the game if you are not a player.”
5 Proven Ways to Stop Making Excuses
Here are some helpful ways to coach yourself into changing the self-sabotaging behavior of making excuses.
1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Nothing matters more than your own measure of success, which is calculated by seeing how far you have come since your last failure.. If you are comparing yourself to someone who is famous or an expert in their field, remember that everyone who is a super achiever today was once an absolute beginner. Mind your own business and focus on yourself, instead of somebody else and see what happens.
2. Take Educated Risks
Stop fearing the unknown and do some research regarding your goals. Yes, things could go wrong, but they could also go fantastic. This does not mean wandering blindly into situations you know nothing about as there is a fine line between being courageous and fool. Educate yourself and give the matter your best shot to see if you can achieve a measurable goal.
3. Stop Playing the Blame Game and Be Self-Sufficient
Being accountable and taking responsibility for your own actions or lack of action towards your goals is one of the necessary changes that most people need to make to move forward in life. Instead of making excuses, be proactive and make the changes necessary to progress your situation. This also means taking ownership of your own actions and facing the consequences. If you do not accept responsibility for your mistakes, others are unlikely to respect you and you will likely not be able to respect yourself. Make an action plan to change your life for which you can take on full responsibility, and leave the past out of it.
4. Stop Procrastinating and Set Attainable Goals
Procrastination seems to feed on itself. The more days in a row that you procrastinate, the easier it is to forget your goals and make excuses as to why you can’t get things. Make a list of your goals and then make a To-Do list that consists of eight things that you can do in one day to progress you to your goals. Why eight things? Eight things are what experts say is that people can make room for in a day. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so your progress should be appropriately parsed so that you are taking action and building your future bit by bit.
5. Focus On Success and Not Your Past Failures
As life coach Tony Robbins says, “You’re past does not equal your future.” Focusing on your failures and personal weaknesses is likely to manifest more situations that give you an excuse not to perform. Instead, focus on the qualities and talents that you have to offer and showcase that side of you to the world
Making Excuses Is Just Another Bad Habit
Remember that making excuses is just another bad habit that can be changed. In fact, you can be addicted to making excuses, because they pay off is a pleasant day off from having to think about anything or anyone. If this goes on for years on end this can lead to dissatisfaction with life and a general lack of purpose, but also, even more damaging, a genuine inability to change. Remember that as long as you can visualize success, you have the power to stop making excuses and take charge of your own life again.