It’s natural for people to make excuses about why they cannot do something or have not achieved a goal. Most people I have worked with know intuitively when they actually have a true roadblock they cannot get around, verse an excuse they are leaning on.
We have all fallen into that rut, so don’t get down on yourself! Next time you feel the excuses piling up, take a moment and exercise these practical tips to pull yourself out of the excuse vortex and into a productive mindset.
#1 Listen to your inner self
Assess the situations or topics you are avoiding dealing with and have a conversation with yourself.
If you realize that you cannot overcome an issue, and you feel that something out of your control is preventing you from having the ability to solve it — accept it. Sometimes life throws impossible situations our way and accepting them is part of the human experience.
Alternatively, if you have a hunch that whatever issue you’re facing is not the end of the world, but something that can be managed with a little strategy or patience — be real with yourself. Sometimes we just need to look in the mirror and call ourselves out.
Most people have a strong intuition and know themselves more than they think they do. People know when they are making an excuse for a situation they can handle, and also know when the inevitable needs to be accepted. Listen to your instincts.
#2 Set small goals as a pathway to a large goal
Rather than setting large general goals and letting weeks and months go by as you get no closer to achieving them, set small goals that you can achieve every single week or micro-goals you can achieve every day. Reaching small goals will pave the way to your large goal’s success and allow you to start checking off that wish list!
Create specific small goals. For example, if your ultimate goal is to travel to Europe, a small goals checklist could be something like this:
- Determine countries to visit by Wednesday evening.
- Pick a travel date by the end of Friday.
- Research ticket and accommodation prices and have options by the end of Monday.
- Book airfare by the end of August.
- Book accommodations by the end of September.
These are some general steps that will serve as a goal itinerary and allow you to stay on track to get to your ultimate goal.
This format can be utilized for any large goal, whether it’s weight loss or health goals, social life enhancement or a desired career change. Anything you want to change in your life is determined by the practical steps you apply, bringing you closer day by day to your ultimate large goal.
#3 If others have done it — why can’t you?
Do you find yourself wanting to change some aspect of your life, yet you only tend to dream instead of taking action? Have you ever scrolled through Instagram and admired a beautiful feed of a global traveler? Or came across a fitness page and saw success story upon success story of enhanced health and transformation?
Ask yourself — if others have done this why can’t you? Why you can’t be the person to inspire others? You don’t have to be the person witnessing everyone else changing and experiencing the best of life. Once you start to recognize that all humans are capable of growth and evolution, you will stop thinking of yourself as someone not worthy and realize your just as capable of change as those who you admire.
#4 Stop saying “I want to” and start saying “I’m going to”
Words are powerful. How many times have you heard someone say “I want to work out more, travel more, get a new job, move to a new city…”? The person who is always saying they “want to” usually doesn’t make those changes. “Wanting to” do something verse “going to” do something is a powerful change of words. “Wanting to” is a dream, a concept, it’s not defined and it’s not planned out — it’s living in the clouds. “Going to” is an action item — it represents a vision, desire for next steps and a final outcome. Observe yourself next time you are discussing something in your life you are looking to change. Do you use “I want to” or “I’m going to”?
#5 Learn about the unknown
People often procrastinate and make excuses because they fear the unknown. It is hard to change our current reality and daily behavior. Changes always imply taking risks; that’s why we are slow to try new experiences, lifestyle or career changes.
Please stop fearing the unknown. Embrace it instead! If you want that career change — weigh out options, weigh out pros and cons. If you want that lifestyle change regarding health or a better romantic or social life, weight out the pros and cons. See how these changes can benefit you and also understand challenges, risks, and possible downsides. If you have researched, analyzed and wrote2 down your findings, you can start to understand what your true desires are and what you’re willing to risk to get what you want. The unknown will become the known and a lot less intimidating.
#6 Don’t blame others for your lack of drive
Those who make excuses often find other people or circumstances to blame. It’s one of the most destructive things that we can do for our self-confidence. This way of thinking takes your power away from you and your own abilities and places you at the mercy of what happens to you verse what you make happen. It makes you a victim to life verse an active participant in your future.
You probably know, at least, one person who isn’t satisfied with multiple aspects of their life and they tend to always have a person to cast blame on other than themselves. Perhaps, that person is you? Whether you are blaming the country you live in, the parents you had or the current state of the world, there is always an excuse. Many of the most successful people you have heard of came up from hard backgrounds, some even impoverished in childhood or immigrants that started with nothing, yet they persevered.
It is important to take control over your life and recognize that you are responsible for it and you are in charge of your future. Empower yourself by researching success stories, rags to riches stories and stories of achievement and inspiration to recognize you are not alone and you are not a victim, you are in control!
#7 Don’t compare yourself to others
When you compare yourself to others who have achieved what you are seeking, its easy to focus on what you have not achieved. Remember there will always be someone getting somewhere first. For each person achieving their first goal, there will always have been many before them who have done the same or similar. Remember, that doesn’t take away from your success! Someone else having achieved a goal you admire before you have, doesn’t take away from you having the opportunity to achieve it as well. We all are different and unique and come into our growth process at all sorts of stages in life. You may have achieved something in your life that someone else is envious of or admires as well. The only person you need to compete with is yourself.
Now you know how to stop making excuses and start living your life. If you are still feeling like you need someone to help you, a professional life coach is a good option for you.