I’ve had the privilege to partner as a guest blogger with Next Monday, a women’s empowerment and coaching company in Central MN. The women in the Executive Peer Group (EPG) that meets every month are like-minded, goal-orientated, and genuine. The lessons, discoveries and growth I’m experiencing are priceless. Below is a topic I shared a few months ago – an oldie but a goodie!
Have you ever started an exercise routine and quit shortly after, telling yourself you’d get back into it eventually? What about a household project that you’ve procrastinated and justified because the holiday season is coming and you have shopping to do? The one thing that could be holding you back from your goals could be something you aren’t even consciously aware of. We do this on a daily basis. We make excuses!
While I sat down to write this, a question kept creeping into my mind: Why can I take action on certain goals or projects, but other times I make excuses instead?
What is an Excuse?
Excuses are stories we tell ourselves. They’re like the fairytales we heard as children, they create a false sense of inability. When we continually use them, we begin to believe in them. Hearing them over and over again, we are convinced that we are incapable of achieving what we want. It’s self-sabotaging.
Excuses hold us back from achieving just about anything. Think about it. Telling yourself you are too busy is easy, it requires less work. How can you argue with yourself? Yet, deep down you know others are achieving their goals with the same 24 hours a day you have. Maybe we make excuses because we doubt ourselves, we’re scared of change, or we aren’t motivated enough. In a blog about self-love, they talk about treating yourself like your best friend. Could you imagine telling your best friend you aren’t motivated enough to achieve your dreams? How would they react?
Let’s think about what happens when we make an excuse, prolonging that project or hesitating to work towards your goals. Could you compare it to past New Year’s resolutions you’ve made, but haven’t quite accomplished? The common weight loss regimen is the first one that comes to my mind. Looking at your 2017 resolutions, you may find excuses are the culprit for your defeat.
Common Excuses we Tell Ourselves:
I don’t have the time.
It’s too hard.
I’m too tired.
I’m too busy.
It’s too late.
I’ll start next week.
I don’t know how.
What if I fail?
I don’t have the support.
What would someone think of me?
Can you imagine if we look at these excuses just a little differently, what we could accomplish? I have a challenge for you!
Catch Yourself In The Act
I want to challenge you to pay attention to your words over the next few days. Next time you hear yourself say, “I’m too busy,” or find yourself thinking, “it was a pipe dream anyway, what’s the point?” pause for a moment. Refrain from saying anything until you’ve mulled over your thoughts for a minute. Thoughts and words are very powerful. Whether it be something we tell ourselves or what others tell us, we believe in those words. This is why it is imperative to eliminate excuses, so we can work towards achieving our dreams.
Make A List
When you notice you’ve made an excuse, out loud or in your head, write it down. At the end of the week – or day, if necessary – read over your list. Look for commonalities. Think about what it is you are trying to achieve and why you’re making excuses. Do your goals connect in some way?
Rewrite Your Goals
Now that you’ve reflected on your excuses and your goals, it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Refresh your goals with new word choices. It will help your brain view the goal in a new way and restart your motivation.
Working on changing ourselves is hard. It takes compassion, understanding, and grace towards ourselves. Remember, there is no such thing as perfection. But, there is always room for improvement. Talk nicely to yourself and remain patient. I believe in you and you should believe in you too.
Excuses aren’t true reasons, they are justifications for not achieving our aspirations. The only way to succeed is to stop lying to ourselves and start telling ourselves we can. When we get in the habit of telling ourselves we can, nothing can stop us from being a successful businesswoman.