How Our Excuses Hold Us Back

Excuses are a touchy subject. We’re often so dependent on them, that it’s too easy to mistake a simple excuse for a fact. As a mom to young kids, I find myself doing this constantly. “I can’t go to a regular yoga class, because it’s too hard to get out of the house. I can’t grow my business, because we don’t have childcare. I don’t have my ideal body, because I’ve had two kids!”

But a funny thing happened once I started thinking of those “facts” as mere excuses. First, I realized that I was putting an enormous burden on my children – two of the people whom I love most in this world! How could I say that I can’t live out my dreams because I’m a mom? I’m literally living my dream of working for myself because of my kids. I never would have had the courage to leave a stable job and go out on my own had it not been for my intense desire to be with them more. They’re not keeping me from anything. They’re actually getting me there faster. Mind. Blown.

Next, I realized how paralyzing my excuses were. I hadn’t taken massive action in my business, not because of a lack of time or resources, but because I had assumed that it wasn’t possible. Any chance you could be doing the same thing?

Reasons or Results

Tonight before bed, pull out your trusty journal and start making a list of all of the reasons that you haven’t been able to achieve your dreams. Think of every reason big and small, and then read over that list. As you read over your list, notice that these reasons on the page are keeping you from getting the results you want and need to move forward.

Next comes the tricky part. Take a deep breath and consider the fact that each and every reason you wrote down is actually an excuse. Don’t beat yourself up or make things worse than they are. We all do it. Simply go through your list and say to yourself, “I forgive myself for using this excuse. I am ready to go bigger.”

Excuses Keep Us Safe

Excuses aren’t all bad. In fact, they could be giving us clues to what we truly desire. Recently when a friend asked me to join her at her crossfit class, I explained that I couldn’t because it was too hard to leave the kids on a weeknight. Looking back, I could have made it work if it was something I had truly wanted. But here’s the thing. I hate crossfit! I’m a yogi at heart and the thought of tossing around tires while grunting (I know there’s more to crossfit than that for all the athletes out there) held absolutely no appeal for me. While I don’t want to depend on excuses, examining them can give me a hint about what I truly value, and that’s okay.

Excuses also keep us safe, because they take away our choices. If you’ve told yourself that it’s impossible for you to eat healthy because you work late every night, then you don’t have to feel guilty about that late night pizza. You don’t have a choice, right? Unfortunately this is how excuses take us down. When we allow external factors, such as a work schedule, to have control over us and take away our options, then we’ve crossed into some unhealthy territory. 

Excuses Keep Us Small

While our excuses are meant to keep us safe, they just end up keeping us small. Excuses keep us from really going for it and taking massive action. They disempower us is such a deep way that we forget that we’re actually the ones in control of our lives. You and I are both in our exact positions in life because of the choices we’ve made so far. So don’t let an excuse keep you from going bigger.

I used to completely give in to the excuse that I didn’t have enough time to grow my freelance writing business. I would send out a couple pitches each week expecting big results and hear crickets. I felt like I was doing everything in my power, but then I started really examining how I spent my time. Oops. If I have time to scroll Facebook and watch The Real Housewives, then I have time to pitch more. I committed to going from 3 pitches per week to 10 per day, and you know what happened? Massive growth and expansion. I quickly had too many projects to choose from, and it all stemmed from getting honest myself about my own self-imposed limitations.

Give Yourself Permission

Once you start calling out your excuses as just that, they start to lose their power. It almost becomes a fun game to start looking for the solutions that you just couldn’t see before. Give yourself permission to ditch your excuses and start looking for creative solutions. You’ll probably surprise yourself at how resourceful you can be!

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