4 Tips How to Stop Making Excuses

I’m sure you are familiar with the sentence, “If you want to do something you’ll find a way, if not you’ll find an excuse.” I’ve always found that a pretty rude statement that might be appropriate on the social media of boot camp instructors, but has no place in coaching relationships. I still think so, but of course there’s truth to it—and there are a ton of things we could achieve if we dropped the excuses. I’ll just suggest to give yourself a little more grace.

What do I mean by that? The fact that you’re still operating on certain excuses does not mean that you don’t want to achieve a certain goal. It only means that you are having a hard time taking that step out of your comfort zone that sets you on a path, maybe also because you have no idea how that path should look. Yet.

If you are familiar with making one excuse after another to avoid taking action, despite the fact that you do want to accomplish your goal, read on! There are a few tips and tricks how you can get over yourself.

Stop telling yourself that your excuses are good reasons

Okay, this is where we have to start, all of us. We tend to use our excuses to rationalize our not-acting and it sounds so like the truth, doesn’t it? You can’t go to the gym because you have kids, or because you don’t have the money to join, or because … Fact is, while there may be some truth to those, getting to where you want to be requires a commitment to stop making these excuses. For if we don’t, we can’t even start to make things work.

Face what is actually holding you back

There is often a good reason why we make excuses, usually to protect ourselves. The number one reason is fear—fear of the unknown, of failure, of others’ responses. Maybe you don’t go to the gym because you are afraid of losing friends as you change your lifestyle, or you are afraid of being judged as a bad mother if you take all that time for yourself? Fear keeps us in our comfort zone—the life we consider safe because we know it. But if we find out what is really keeping us back, we have taken the first step to overcoming it.

Be specific about your goal(s)

It is much easier to overcome excuses if we determine exactly what we want to reach. Let’s stick with the gym example: You may have a hard time getting started, which is totally normal, but once you discover classes or routines you like, set specific goals—for instance, to go twice a week (third time gets an extra Yay! when it happens), to be able to master a certain pose or lift a certain weight, to lose ten pounds—whatever it is, the specificity makes things much easier. Try to set at least two parameters for your goal that set a timeframe and/or make it measurable.

Know that you can change

Often we get stuck in our old ways because we have certain beliefs about ourselves, and we think we can’t change those—because this is who we are, right? Not so. Don’t believe people who tell you that we can’t change. We can—if we want to. It takes a growth mindset and an effort and it’s not easy, but if you really want to accomplish something, it can be done.

What have you recently accomplished by dropping a typical excuse?

Or what you are working on right now?