As we say goodbye to June, it’s important to reflect on how the first half of the year has gone for us.
If you’re like most people, you set yourself a few goals at the beginning of the year and tried your hardest to reach them.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t reach our goals in the time we set ourselves. We often fall short, struggle to keep up with them or worse, completely give up.
That’s why it’s a good idea to reflect half way through the year to refine our goals, look at what has helped us grow and ask ourselves what you could have done better.
A common reason that gets in the way of our success is the habit of making excuses.
It’s almost universal in all human beings to make excuses for ourselves as it acts as a natural defence mechanism to protect us from feeling bad about ourselves.
It also gives us a good reason to put off achieving big goals because they might seem daunting and scary once we’ve achieved them.
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It’s important to recoginize when we’re making an excuse that isn’t valid so we can learn more about ourselves and take further action to improve our situation in the future.
This post will outline 8 ways you can stop making excuses and achieve your goals much faster.
Types of Excuses We Make
Here are a few common excuses people make that might not seem obvious.
Ask yourself… “Do I make any of these excuses?”
I’m Not Very Good at [insert thing here]
“I’m a technophobe”, “I’m terrible at math”, “I’m not patient enough to learn the guitar” and “I don’t have enough will power” are all excuses that come from not being good enough.
The truth is, people who use these types of excuses lack the growth mindset and believe that they were dealt a poor hand in their genes or born at the wrong time or didn’t grow up learning said topic so this is who I am and acquiring these skills isn’t possible.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, it might not be easy but it is a fact that the only thing stopping us from being good at something is our minds and the barriers we put up inside it.
Next time you make this kind of excuse, ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” and if the answer is yes then work on changing your mindset to tackle these types of goals.
It’s Not the Right Time
Most people think there’s a perfect time to achieve our goals. Like there’s a point in the future where we think we’ll be ready.
Unfortunately, this is just another excuse that keeps us stuck in life.
The problem with this thinking is that if we only ever feel we’ll be ready to take action in the future then even when we get there, we’ll just have more excuses why it’s not the right time.
If the reason why you think you’ll be more prepared in the fututre is because there’s things you need to do before hand or a way you need to be first, then start doing those things or being that way now.
Act now as though you are the person who is capable of taking action on the things you want in life. If you get stuck along the way, you’ll soon find a way around it. But, the longer you prelong taking action, the further away you will be from making your dreams a reality.
Being too busy
Every person has their own priorities in life. If you say you’re too busy to do something, then it’s probably not your priority.
Time management is important in achieving your goals. Whether you are a full-time employee or a stay at home business owner, it should not stop you from reaching your goals.
8 Ways to Avoid Making Excuses So You Can Achieve Your Goals Faster
1. Set Tiny Goals Instead of Huge One’s
It’s easy to set huge goals and then it’s even easier to complain and make excuses when we don’t achieve them.
The problem with making big goals is it can feel completely overwhelming when we don’t have all the steps in place.
It’s a much better idea to think of a big goal you want to achieve and then work backwards from the date you set yourself to achieve it, breaking each step down into smaller goals.
So, instead of trying to read 10 books this year, set yourself the goal of reading one page per day.
This may seem counterintuitive but, it’s likely that you’ll end up reading more than one page once you get started and before you know it, you’ll be one book down and nine to go AND not an excuse in sight!
2. Focus on Your Strengths, Not Your Weaknesses
Everyone has their weaknesses.
Yes, even celebrities like Dwayne Johnson or Beyonce will have their weaknesses but we hardly know about them because successful people focus on their strengths.
When all we do is focus on our weaknesses, it opens us up to reasons why we’ll fail which will inevitably lead us down the path of failure and more excuses as to why we didn’t achieve what we set out to do.
It’s important to recognise what our weaknesses are so we can work around them to allow us to focus on what we’re good at.
That way, we make less excuses and feel good about what we can achieve instead of feeling bad about what we can’t change.
3. Take Action Everyday
When we avoid taking action on our goals, it’s easy to fall into a rut and fall behind on the goals we set ourselves.
It’s also easy to make excuses when we get into the habit of putting things off because we got into a rut because we didn’t take action… It’s like a never ending loop!
I call this The Perpetual Procrastination Loop. The quicker you realise this is a habit, the quicker you can get out of it.
The best way to do this is by taking action everyday…
Even if it’s the smallest step towards a goal, doing chores around the home, taking care of yourself or others or just completing a small task, everytime you make the effort to do one thing everyday, you start to form the habit of doing and break away from the habit of making excuses to procrastinate.
4. Always Remember Why You Started
When you’ve been working towards a goal for a long time and progress has been slow, it can be hard to see the bigger picture.
It can often feel like it’s easier to give up because you’ve lost the motivation you had when you first started.
This is why it’s super important to remember why you started in the first place. It’ll keep that spark within you and prevent you from making excuses to give up.
5. Get Comfortable with Uncertainty
Uncertainty can be scary for some people. Especially if you have an intolerance of uncertainty.
Unfortunately this can present itself in many ways that aren’t so obvious that you’re trying to avoid uncertainty.
You might start making excuses that start with “What if” questions and overly worry about the outcome.
The fact is, anyone with ambition who gets closer to their dreams will start to feel a little uncomfortable. That’s because whenever there’s a big change on the horizon, uncertainty will persist.
It’s impossible to be completely certain about the future or the outcome of anything.
So instead of trying to avoid uncertainty, start to become familiar with the feeling of being uncertain of where your journey is taking you. Embrace it and you’ll start getting used to feeling uncomfortable with uncertainty.
6. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparing ourselves to others opens us up to endless possibilities to make excuses.
Although it’s a natural part of being human, when we compare those who are where we want to be to where we currently are on a daily basis, it can be extremely detrimental to our success and well-being.
It can directly impact the way we feel about ourselves and make us focus on our weaknesses instead of our strengths. (see #2 above)
In fact, it can be a sign that you have low self-esteem or it can at least make us feel like we aren’t good enough or ever capable of achieving their level of success.
If comparing ourselves to others actually helped us in anyway, then everyone would look like supermodels, make tonnes of money, be with their perfect partner, be travelling the world and never have a bad day.
This is obviously not the case for anyone. Yes, even the most successful people will have their bad days and for many of them, we really don’t have a clue what it’s like behind the scenes.
Most super glamorous and successful people will work extremely hard to for the lives they lead. They will have their own struggles in life just like you.
This is why it’s so easy to compare our own lives to the people we look up to, because it looks like they have it all figured out, when really we are often unaware of what goes on behind closed doors.
Focus on your strengths, and get into the mindset of gratitude. Being grateful for the things you have in life and the wonderful opportunities that are available to you will start to change the way you feel about yourself for the better.
7. Quit Blaming Other People for Your Setbacks
When people interfere with our lives and make it difficult for us to stick to the goals we set, it can be far too easy to point the finger as to why we aren’t getting anywhere in life.
Blaming other people might make us feel better in the short term, but all it’s really doing is stopping us from realising the truth behind our setbacks and struggles.
Once we start to accept that we are the cause of most of our struggles in life, we’ll stop using the excuse of blaming other people and start to dig a little deeper as to why we’ve been unable to move forward.
8. Take Responsibility
This closely ties in with the previous point because when we stop blaming others we start to take responsibility for our lives.
Taking responsibility for yourself also raises your awareness to potential reasons why you haven’t gotten to where you want to be right now. It makes you reevaluate life and come up with solutions.
It gives you all the power to make changes in your life and eliminates the potential for any new excuses you would usually come up with.
Think of responsibility as the ability to respond. If the only way you’ve acted in the past was to react with blame and excuses, taking responsibility let’s you respond with a course of action to move forward, instead of feeling stuck due to feeling like things were out of our control.
There are endless excuses we can make to delay our dreams. Excuses don’t help us in the long run, they inhibit us.
So if you are really passionate and determined, you will stop making excuses and start pushing yourself to your fullest potential.
Reaching for your goals by overcoming excuses can help you live life without limits.