Excuse Me, Excuses

No More Excuses

Do you remember a time when you’re supposed to do something but eventually you talked yourself into not doing it?

In that case you have successfully come up with excuses.

I wasn’t supposed to use the word “successfully” since inventing excuses will most likely won’t lead to success. But I can’t think of a better word.

Hey! Wait a minute….

Did I just come up with an excuse right there? Can you see how it’s so easy for us to come up with excuses?

So… before moving on, let’s rewrite the sentence above without using the word “successfully.” Here it goes:

In that case you have successfully come up with excuses.

Whatever you have told yourself back then, those are just excuses.

(Right on. Using the word just to describe excuses minimizes its significance.)

Moving on….

Why do we make excuses?

Here are some reasons:

  1. We think it’s impossible.
    Before the 1950s, when Roger Bannister was able to run a mile in less than four minutes, people think it was impossible.

    But when he did it, not long after, a lot of runners was able to do the feat that was previously thought of as impossible.

    Seeing Roger Bannister did what’s supposed to be impossible instantly removed the limiting belief the other runners had.

  2. We think it’s beyond our current capability.
    It might be true — for now. The thing is, if we don’t try, how will we know what our capabilities are?

    Eventually we have to start doing and stop procrastinating. Might as well do it as soon as possible because we can’t take back time.

  3. We think that it’s not worth it.
    Maybe. Maybe not. But how are we suppose to know if we don’t do it in the first place?

    For instance, there had been times when I don’t feel like going to the gym, but I force myself to anyway. Afterwards, I feel good about what I did. (Add to that the wonderful effect of endorphins to our body.)

    If I haven’t gone to the gym, I can simply dismiss it by saying things like, “I can go tomorrow,” or “It’s just one session, one session,” when what I should be saying is: “Stop making excuses and just do it!”

How can we overcome excuses?

Method 1: Just Do it.
The most simple and direct way as you have read above is by just doing the thing we’re supposed to do.

Just Do it. Don’t over-analyze. After a while, by just doing it, you’ll begin to become engaged in the task. That’s the power of momentum.

Method 2: Counter excuses with reasons.
When we create excuses, we’re using our creativity in an unproductive manner. Why not use our creativity positively. Let’s come up with reasons.

For instance, let’s think of a simple task, such as cleaning our room. We can come up with excuses not to clean it, such as:

  • I’m the only one who sees my room.
  • In a few days it will be all messed up again anyway.
  • It’s a waste of time. I’d rather surf the net.

Let’s forget about those excuses, and come up with reasons why:

  • A clean room looks nice and makes me feel better.
  • If a relative or friend visits me in my room, she won’t be disappointed.
  • Eventually I have to clean it, so might as well do it now while I’m not busy.

Remember: When you’re making excuses, you’re focusing on the negatives. When you’re making reasons, you’re focusing on the positives. Be positive.

Summary

It’s easy for us to create excuses. When we come up with excuses more often than not we don’t take appropriate action.

We can fight excuses firstly by just doing the task that we’re supposed to do without any rationalizing, and secondly by countering those excuses with reasons why we should (or must) do it and focusing our attention on those reasons.

Photo credit: Fabio Venni

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