If you don’t do it, no one else will.
Let’s face it, there are times in life that we’re gonna make excuses for things we really don’t wanna do. That’s life! The problem with excuses is that we get too comfortable putting things off, that we start to make excuses for the things we should be doing, need to do and even the things we really want to accomplish.
Harmless excuses too often become self sabotage because we get accustomed to being lazy, unreliable and procrastinating. Making excuses then becomes a habit and habits are difficult to break.
Have you ever used these excuses?
Excuses for getting out of work:
- SICK: I’m not feeling well, I got _______________, its very contagious and the doctor says I need a lot of rest and Vitamin C.
- FAMILY RELATED: I’m so sorry, I can’t make it, I just found out that my _____________ (brother/sister/mother/father) is in the hospital.
- CHILD RELATED: I can’t come today because my son/daughter just got in trouble at school and I have to go talk to the principal.
- GIVING BACK: Oh no, I scheduled my annual ‘give out food to the homeless day’ last year on this date and I almost forgot, what with the new job and everything going on. I can’t cancel on my community, is it ok if I go feed the homeless today and see you tomorrow?
Excuses for getting out of events with friends:
- EXHAUSTED: Yo, I worked all day and my feet are killing me, I really wanted to come but I feel like I’m about to pass out. Next time.
- HUNG OVER: I woke up with the biggest migraine ever, I won’t be able to make it dawg.
- BROKE: I wish I could come but I spent way too much money last week, I just can’t afford it tonight.
- WORK: I got called in last minute to do overtime, I really don’t want to, but you know how it is.
- A DATE: Oh word, that was today? To tell you the truth, I have a cutie coming over tonight, still. Can we reschedule?
Excuses for getting out of a date:
- VISITORS: Hey, I was really looking forward to our date but my _____________ sister/aunt/cousin from out of town just surprised me at home and I haven’t seen her/him in ages and its important that we spend some time together. I’ll call you soon so we can set something up, ok?
- OLD PEOPLE STUFF: Oh, I just remembered its my grandmother’s birthday, I have to go see her! Let’s rain check!
Excuses for postponing your life goals:
- TOO HARD: I would start now but its too hard to finish and I’d have to call ____________ and I can’t find their number anywhere.
- TOO EXPENSIVE: I really want to start a business but I can’t afford to incorporate so I should just wait until I have the money.
- NOT ENOUGH TIME: I really want to get this done but I work so much and there’s just not enough time in the day to do it.
After reading the excuses above, did you take notes or did those excuses make you feel a little exhausted, frustrated, or disappointed? If you were shaking your head in disappointment, its likely because you know how habitual excuses become in your life and you’re probably tired of putting things off and are ready to stop making excuses. If you are ready to STOP MAKING EXCUSES, read on.
I wanna help you break this really bad, self-sabotaging habit, so I wrote seven things you can do to stop making excuses in your life:
#1. HOLD YOURSELF ACCOUNTABLE
Give yourself a reason to get it done. Include negative consequences for any missed deadlines or any inaction. I like to post a goal publicly, usually on Facebook and/or tell my friends about it because I know that they will follow up and I don’t want to look like a liar to my friends/followers. Another thing I do is lower my shopping budget if I miss a work deadline to indicate the importance of meeting my weekly objectives. If I don’t work, I don’t play.
The first option works well if you have a psychological need to please or feel uncomfortable when you let family or friends down. If you don’t care about what others think or you don’t like other people knowing what you are working on, it’s not the best option for you.
The second option is great if you are a private person and you have self-discipline. Punishing yourself doesn’t work if you don’t follow through, so make sure you don’t waiver from lowering the budget, cutting down on junk food, or whatever consequence you choose for yourself.
#2. KILL LAZINESS AND GO THE EXTRA 10%
A big part of the reason we make excuses is because we are lazy! We don’t want to move from the comfort of our beds, leave the coziness of home, or escape the warm embrace of a loved one. Sure, all those things are great, but they are not going to get you to your BIG goal. You have to learn how to leave life’s comforts behind (for now) and go the extra 10%.
To kill laziness, you must forget that “snooze” exists on your alarm, pretend that you’ll miss the greatest opportunity you’ve ever had if you sleep in an extra minute, if you are not productive at home, imagine that if you got up and went out, you would run into the most generous and wealthy investor, and most importantly while you are in the arms of your beloved, imagine that he/she was in need of a very expensive surgery that you would only be able to afford if you had an extra $20,000.
These little mind tricks will help you put in the extra 10% you need to kill laziness. I’m not asking you to be superman and get everything done in a day and save the world, I’m simply asking for 10% more to get yourself in a position to be more productive.
#3. HAVE A CLEAR VISION AND FOCUS ON THE LONG TERM INVESTMENT
Sometimes we make excuses because the goal just seems like way too much work. If your goal seems more like a big, unreachable blob of fantasy, it’s because you haven’t set SMART goals. You know, specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and timely goals.
Instead of, I want to make a million dollars, a smart goal is, by 2019, I want to make a million dollars from selling custom shoes in 10 Canadian retailers. The more specific you can get, the more likely you are to achieve that goal.
Secondly, you need to focus on the long-term investment, too often we think to ourselves, “I can’t really afford to order the 500 custom shoes that I need to resell. How will I ever afford the order, the website and shipping? OMG!” Instead, we should be thinking, “Wow, I may need to take out a loan now, but in a year, I will have doubled or tripled my profits. Purchasing these shoes is a worthwhile investment, let me get to it!” When you look at the long-term investment and the results it yields, the thing that may be an inconvenience now becomes worthwhile.
Setting SMART goals and looking ahead toward your final results will help make the goal more attainable and less daunting. In most cases, taking action now will change your life in the future.
#4. TAKE “BUT” AND “CAN’T” OUT OF YOUR VOCABULARY
This is another mental tactic that can really help if you are a person who looks at life rationally or you find that words have a lot of power. Challenge yourself to remove “but” and “can’t” from your vocabulary, never say them. These words are often triggers for excuses and you can communicate perfectly fine without them. When someone asks you something that you don’t want to do, rather than make an excuse, force yourself to say, “no” followed by your explanation. Doing this will cause you to be more direct with people and an overall better communicator. Treat “but” and “can’t” like swear words and avoid using them as much as possible.
#5. EAT WELL, DO EXERCISE AND AVOID SUBSTANCES THAT SLOW YOU DOWN SO YOU HAVE ENOUGH ENERGY TO GET THINGS DONE
Sometimes we are lazy because we just don’t have the energy to get up and do anything. It’s likely because you are not eating the right foods and/or doing enough exercise. You have to incorporate health into your lifestyle because it gives you the fuel you need to be successful.
#6. FREE UP TIME BY CUTTING DOWN ON SOCIAL MEDIA, TV, AND MOVIES
I hear the “I don’t have time” excuse way too often and then I see how much time that person spends watching Netflix, swiping right, and double tapping and I’m rolling my eyes like “mmmmm hmmmmmm.” If you are wasting all your time on activities that are not helping you advance your goals, than of course you don’t have time to be productive. You should be working on your goals and not stalking your favourite Instagram model.
#7. SET YOUR DAILY PRIORITIES
It becomes easier to stop making excuses when you know what is most important in your life. If you know that your daily goal is to raise $100 for a special project, and that day, you also have laundry to do, a birthday to attend, to wash your car, and to send 100 emails to potential supporters, which do you do first?
Your answer should always be to send out those emails so that you can meet your daily goal. The other things are nice to do, but they are lower on the priority list and thus should be done last. You need to focus on getting your priorities accomplished first because you don’t want to run out of energy by the end of the day and do a sloppy job or worse, don’t do meet your goal at all.
You might believe that excuses have a place in this world, but they actually start a slippery slope to laziness and habitual procrastination. If you really want to meet your goals and accomplish great things, you’re going to have to stop making excuses!