Excuses are interesting and ironic. I have noticed a trend lately of excuses, not only why we are not successful in areas of x,y & z but I have noticed how other people make excuses of why other people ARE successful in areas of their life, whether that be personal relationships, careers or fitness.
We make excuses for ourselves to justify when we don’t do things or failed attempts when we do.
I work late so I cannot get to the gym.
I don’t have the time or the money.
I don’t like to cook and I eat out and that is why I do not eat well.
It is not easy for me. There’s nothing I can do about it.
I love food and being social and that is what is holding me back.
We make excuses for others action and success.
If I were a trainer and worked at a gym, I would be more motivated to workout.
They have it easy. They have a supportive family.
If I were a stay at home mom and did not have to work I could reach my goals.
If I did not have to stay at home I with the kids I would have more time.
That person is naturally lean, they don’t have to work at it.
We tend to put down other people’s successes and defend our lack of success. There is nothing more nauseating and uninteresting to me than someone who gives up complete responsibility in their life while discrediting others at the same time.
I am not immune to this phenomena, as I have of course made excuses for myself and for others many times. But these past couple years have been what I call, the years of awareness. Everything seems to hitting me, like a punch to the face, but it hasn’t really been a bad thing, as excuses do not really serve us in any positive way and take away our personal freedom, choice, and opportunity.
They take away your power.
When you make an excuse you relinquish yourself of the power and responsibility to do anything about it. What is your number one excuse right now on anything? Say it out loud? I can’t do _____________ because of (insert excuse). You have now taken yourself out of the drivers seat to take control of having a part in figuring out the solution. It does not matter what events play out, you don’t have to be a part of because you gave away your power.
You like being innocent.
To put it bluntly, we like people feeling sorry for us. It feels good. It feels good to have someone say, “You are right. You don’t have control over this situation. You don’t have to do anything about it. You just have to sit there and take it.” We like being the innocent victim in the story of our lives. When we make an excuse for ourselves, it gives us a reason of why we are where we are, why we are not doing any thing wrong, or why the things we are doing are justified. When what we are doing is justified we feel validated in our reasonings.
It means having to put some serious work and effort in.
The alternative to making excuses and stewing in our misery, is actually doing the work. And sometimes that can be flippin hard. And scary! Doing the work can come down to two things. Charging through the storm or getting out of the storm all together. Each being difficult in its own respect.
Are you stuck in a job or relationship that does not serve you? You either figure out a way to make it work or get out of it. Doing nothing leaves you in a state of paralysis, unable to move forward or back. In some moments this is what we need, but when it becomes chronic, we close ourselves off to potential solutions.
You never learn anything.
When we make excuses and never take action we never give ourselves a chance to learn or grow in anyway. Shawn Achor, a positive psychology expert says “Happiness is the joy we feel moving towards our full potential.” Feeling like we are always being done wrong or feeling like everything in the world is happening to us, not for us, takes away some of our greatest gifts.
Our ability to challenge ourselves, be resilient, learn and grow towards our full potential. And to be happy. Throwing our hands up in the air tells us that we do not have a say in our lives or control with our actions.
It takes credit away from others and makes it about yourself.
Some people work really, really hard, whether it is in their career, in their relationships, or with healthy lifestyle. To say that someone is simply lucky or doesn’t work hard to get what they have is, not only making a huge assumptions, but it is taking away credit from hard work at its finest. Are some people blessed in certain areas in their life? Yea, I would say so. But breaking people down instead of building them up displays more insecurities on the discrediting end than anything.
How to gain personal freedom.
Taking 100% responsibility for our actions is empowering. The next time you have a moment where you are down, upset, frustrated and want to put the blame on others, think about what control you have over your emotions and how you respond, before you think about what they are doing to you. Remember the entire world is not out to get you.
Track your excuses.
Is it okay to talk about pain, discontent, or stress? Of course it is! Is it ok to talk about setbacks and struggles. Yes! But when it becomes constant, it begins to shape how you view yourself and taints the lens of how you view the world around. It strips you of control and never gives you the opportunity to learn anything. Start becoming aware of you excuses by using a subtle tracking system. Put a rubber band on one wrist and switch it every time you make an excuse. Keep a post it at your desk and tally every excuse you make.
Take action. Be a problem finder.
You do not need to find the ultimate solution to your problem immediately, but find the little things that lead to the cause of the problem. What is contributing? Sometimes decisions and situations can be overwhelming and I totally get it.
One of my favorite ways to approach a problem is to think about it in this way. Even if you feel you cannot do something right now, or ever, if you could, how would you? Even if it seems too much to manage or completely out of reach, you still have the opportunity to think about how you would figure it out. And that is the beginning of personal responsibility and freedom.
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