I have absolutely no idea where my expertise at excuses has originated from. I know that to become a master of something, one has to practice the art on a regular basis and over time it becomes second nature. I have had my fair share of practice on this front and I can pretty much rattle off any believable excuse whatever the situation.
In the work arena, I have used it on a regular basis (and still do) as a way of justifying to myself and others the reasons for my action or inaction (as is often the case). Similarly, the excuses also became a way of justifying giving up on my dreams but for what purpose? Yes, I would feel a little better having told myself that it’s ok to give up, but not for long.
Most of these excuses seemed to focus around a lack of something. Lack of money, lack of time, lack of resources, lack of knowledge but the truth is, even if I’d had all of those I would still have given up at the first hurdle and I think this was partly because I wanted to reach that particular goal as soon as I had thought about it, but was never really prepared put in a lot of effort towards getting there. More importantly, the chances are that the goal itself wasn’t really that important after all. Making up an excuse always seemed easier than accepting that the reason I never saw any results was because I was too lazy to put in the effort to actually really be clear about the goal itself and why I wanted it as well as putting in the effort of working towards it.
At the moment I have a very specific goal in mind. A goal I really want to work towards and even as I am writing this there are voices in my head presenting me with a whole arsenal of reasons why it will never work and why I shouldn’t waste my time doing it.
I am getting a little tired of being good at justifying failure and would prefer to master the art of something constructive and useful instead. I have no problem with failure itself. I have failed my whole life but with each failure a lesson was presented to me some of which I have now learned and some of which I am sure I will be presented with again. Also, my greatest successes (however you choose to define success) have risen out of failure. Failure is a part of human nature, so I might as well get used to it and give it my best.
So how does one stop making excuses?
I have searched extensively for a step by step guide to help me stop my habitual excuse making behaviour and there’s plenty on offer. Some of them I found very useful and some not so useful, but I also came to realise that what works for one person may not work for another. I have often made the mistake of following one specific set of instructions religiously with results so extremely different from the results claimed by the creator of the instructions.
I could be described as someone often having to learn the hard way, but from a positive viewpoint, I do remember the lessons!!
Will I be able to change the habit of making excuses? I hope so but, as with all change, it will take time and effort and won’t happen overnight.
When I manage to catch myself at the point of procrastination on a particular task, I take a step back and quietly tell myself the following: “What will make you feel better about yourself? Not doing this and having to come up with an excuse to back this up or go ahead and give it your best, despite the result?”
It doesn’t always work but for the moment it’s what works best for me.
All I can do is try my best to stay patient, take small steps towards what I want and see setbacks for what they are. Then again, this could all change by tomorrow where I may be back with a whole range of excuses. If I do, feel free to challenge me on this and remind me of this post. Sometimes I do need a kick up the proverbial backside and I struggle to reach myself!!!
“How strange to use ‘You only live once’ as an excuse to throw it away.” ~ Bill Copeland