Excuses — Are They Holding You Back?

on January 15, 2020 • Grace

We all have challenges we have to face at certain points in our lives, just as we all have goals and desires that we want to achieve. However, conquering challenges and achieving goals takes a certain amount of effort and work. That’s where excuses come in. 

People make excuses for a whole range of reasons. Maybe they are afraid of failure, intimidated by change or simply don’t know where or how to start. 

In order to help you face your challenges head on, I’ve rounded up the five most popular excuses not to pursue your goals, and my tips to help you overcome them and become your most successful self:

I Don’t Have Time

I put this excuse first because it’s probably the most common, no matter what challenge or goal you are facing. Being too busy for something, however, just means that it’s not at the top of your list of priorities. 

In order to determine if you are truly too busy to start tackling your challenges, you must first sit down and sort out how important your goals are to you. Do you want to achieve success — whether that be fitness-related, work-related, or a more personal dream — more than you want to catch the latest show on Netflix, or spend an hour scrolling through Instagram? 

  • Tip: Try making a list of everything you do in a day (as well as everything you want to do in a day). Then rank them in order of priority. The items on the bottom of the list should be the ones you are sacrificing for those on the top. 

While pursuing your goals — if they make it to the top of list — should take priority over these less significant day-to-day activities, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some things that will be more important, such as your job or your family. If you find that these high-priority activities leave you little to no free time, try multi-tasking. 

Here are some ways to squeeze exercise into your already air-tight schedule:

  • Instead of spending your lunch break scrolling through social media or chatting to co-workers, use that time to meet with inspiring people who can help you with your goals. These may be anyone from industry leaders, to experts on a certain skill you are pursuing, to personal and motivational trainers.  
  • If evenings are devoted to spending time with your kids, include them in your process toward success. If you want to get fit, take them to a nearby park where they can play while you do squats. If you want to start a side business, ask them to help you design packages or put together your products. 
  • For date night, spice things up by taking a class together that relates to your goals. This could be a yoga session, or an educational seminar about ecommerce, or a weekly photography class. 

And remember: Taking a step toward achieving your goals does not have to be a certain time length to count. Doing something that takes as little as 10 minutes will get you closer to your goal than nothing. 

I Can’t Afford It

I get it, achieving goals can be costly. There are new skills to learn, new equipment to obtain and new investments to be made. 

If you’re still at the start of your journey toward achieving your goals, you may not want to drop your next paycheck on getting started. Luckily for you, there are many cost-effective ways to conquer a challenge. 

Here are some completely free ways to start achieving your goals today: 

  • If you need to learn new skills to get success, the internet is your best friend. YouTube has tutorials and online classes for almost every topic, from zumba to video editing to starting a business. 
  • Networking is probably the cheapest way to get started on a new journey, and with the accessibility of online forums, it has also never been easier. Search LinkedIn, Instagram or a niche online group such as Girl Boss for people who have achieved the success you are working toward, and reach out with a simple message.
  • Finally, do what you can with what you have. You may not have the money for an annual subscription for your own website and URL, so start with a free one. You may not have the money for a treadmill, but you have a local park to run around. As you get more successful, you will notice more resources becoming available to you. But you have to start somewhere. 

However, if you are ready to get really serious about conquering your challenge and achieving your goals, it might be time to carve space in your budget. Do you pay for streaming services, or daily cappuccinos, or a Friday night out? All of that money could go toward educational courses, a subscription for a service or a new piece of equipment. 

I’m Not Good Enough

When you make excuses that you are not good enough for your goals — i.e. not young enough, not strong enough, not talented enough — you are really just avoiding failure. While being afraid of failure is a normal human feeling, the people who are successful are the people who have pushed past this fear and tried anyway. 

In order to stop hiding behind this excuse, you should first check your goals against the realm of possibility. While you can only push yourself to achieve something amazing by first believing that it is possible, you also want to create goals that will, with a certain amount of work and commitment, someday come true. Be honest about your limitations by refusing to overestimate or underestimate yourself. 

Once you’ve determined that your challenge can be feasibly conquered someday, it’s time to check in with your self talk. It’s a fact that the more we tell ourselves certain stories or phrases, the more we believe them. Try:

  • Instead of saying “I am too old,” say, “It is never too early or too late to change my life.” 
  • Instead of saying “I am too weak,” say, “I am working on getting stronger every day.”
  • Instead of saying “I’m not talented enough,” say, “I have unique abilities and perspectives that are just as valuable.”
  • Instead of saying “I am a failure,” say, “I have failed in the past but I always pick myself up and do better next time.”

After all, everyone has to start somewhere. 

If you find that your negative thoughts, doubts and fears are still powering through, ask for help. If you struggle with comparing yourself to other people working toward the same goals, try finding a mentor or trainer that you can meet with one-on-one. This person can help you personalise your journey toward success by taking into account your individual abilities, strengths and weaknesses, helping you grow and succeed at your own pace. 

I Can’t Get Motivated

Sometimes, just thinking about your ultimate goal — and all the work required to achieve it — can be so intimidating that you don’t even want to start. The fear of the unknown, from where to start to how to succeed, can have the same effect. 

Luckily, motivation can be manufactured or increased with a few easy tricks:

  1. Remind yourself of your passion. This is the purpose that fuels your process and encourages you to keep going despite any fears, doubts or unexpected hurdles. If you’ve had your goal in your head for too long, this original passion may have become lost in the various steps of the process. Take some time to find your passion again by reflecting on your desires. Ask yourself: Why do I want to achieve this goal? Why is it important for me?
  1. Create positive triggers. These are things that you see or do every day that trigger you to take the steps necessary to get closer to achieving your goals. Be sure to find the triggers that work best for you — you may benefit from reminders written on sticky notes and posted to your bathroom mirror or desk monitor, or you may get more encouraged by dressing for success, whether includes a tailored blazer or running shoes. 
  1. Surround yourself with supportive people. The people in your life can either boost your motivation, or keep you from ever wanting to start. Don’t let people into your life who diminish your goals, encourage laziness or judge you for wanting success. Instead, look for the people who are excited about your goals, who encourage you to be your best and who share a similar successful mindset. 

This year, stop making excuses and start taking accountability for your actions — and your successes. Trust that even if you fail, at least you tried, and you can always pick yourself up and try again.  

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