I know you want to achieve your goals, but other things keep getting in the way, don’t they?
You were going to start the other day, but you were tired.
Then the next day, some urgent task came up.
Something’s always keeping you from your ultimate goal, am I right?
It’s like the universe is against you.
Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but…
Those things that keep popping up?
They’re all excuses.
You might argue, “No, I’m serious, Layla. I was exhausted that day!”
Tell me, what are the odds that every time you need to get something done you’re tired?
The thing about excuses is we believe them. We don’t think our excuses are excuses; they’re facts to us.
“There is no way I can reschedule this task.”
“I cannot say no to my neighbor’s request.”
Tell yourself the truth:
You could say no, couldn’t you?
So, why is your brain deluding you?
Why Are You Holding Yourself Back?
You’d think that your brain is on your side. You’d be better off if you achieved your fitness goals, for example. Why would your brain sabotage your own success?
In a way, it’s self-protection. You might be trying to keep yourself from discomfort. Here are a few examples:
1. You’re Uncertain
Humans don’t like change. It’s the complete opposite of the stability we are programmed to seek.
Yet, with growth, change is inevitable.
You might come up with excuses to avoid the uncertainty that is associated with change.
This is more common with bigger goals.
You current job under-appreciates your work. They pay you less than you are worth.
You want to switch jobs, but the process of finding a new one is arduous, and you may have to move to a new city. You’ve been meaning to get started for a while now, but the time just never seems right.
You promise yourself you’ll start next month, but when the time comes, you push that start date further.
You’re not starting your job search because the thought of leaving behind the familiar faces and places makes you quiver.
Instead of postponing your goals indefinitely, get excited about the change instead.
Going back to our example, you could read up on the locations you might move to. Make a plan to visit some interesting places there. Think about how you’ll celebrate after receiving your first salary.
Not only will you get rid of your fear, you’ll get a motivation boost, too.
2. You’re Afraid of Tarnishing Your Self-Image
You’ve heard that mistakes are good—that failure teaches you invaluable lessons.
That doesn’t make it any easier, though.
Failing makes us feel small. If others know about our journey, we fear that this failure will make them think less of us.
It feels like we let ourselves down—and sometimes even the people we love.
To avoid this terrible feeling, we don’t try at all.
The root cause of your excuses might be the fear of messing up.
With this mindset, you’ll never try anything new or too risky and you’ll miss out on many experiences that could have been turning points in your life.
Here are 3 things you can do to minimize this fear:
- Don’t tell others about your plans too early—and when you do, under-promise, so you can over-deliver.
- Set realizable goals, then break them down into mini-tasks. Even if you fail at the bigger goal, the checked-off mini-tasks will give you a sense of achievement.(The 15-Day Productivity Challenge teaches you how to effectively break up complex goals.)
- Think about the worst thing that could happen if you fail. Being mentally prepared will help you face whatever comes your way. Chances are the consequences are not as bad as you first expected.
3. You Really Don’t Want To Do It
This is the most common reason people make excuses.
You don’t want to do it, so you will come up with a thousand reasons you can’t or shouldn’t.
There’s nothing actually stopping you from doing these activities. You just don’t feel like it—and you never will.
There’s not much you can do for these tasks. They’re like the part of the textbook you can’t understand, so you just memorize.
There’s no point in waiting. You might as well get it over with.
Mark Twain puts it best:
“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”
The only way you’ll ever complete these tasks is if you push yourself to go do them.
Mel Robbins’ 5-Second Rule can help you get started.
Here’s how it works per Mel’s website:
If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.
But if you do one simple thing, you can prevent your mind from working against you. You can start the momentum before the barrage of thoughts and excuses hit you at full force.
What do you do?
Just start counting backwards to yourself: 5-4-3-2-1.
As soon as you reach “1” – push yourself to move.
This is how you push yourself to do the hard stuff – the work that you don’t feel like doing, or you’re scared of doing, or you’re avoiding.
Why Are You Holding Yourself Back?
The problem with excuses isn’t that you don’t know what to do. You know exactly what needs done, but convince yourself not to do it.
You don’t give yourself a chance to reach your full potential and to alter your current situation. Keep this up for long enough and you’ll look back on a life full of regret.
You have been creating your own obstacles, and it’s time you change your ways.
What excuses do you give yourself? What is holding you back?