“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can't achieve it.” ― Jordan Belfort
It’s not your fault you make excuses. Oh, wait. According to a University of Florida study, we make excuses to protect our fragile egos from failures. This is particularly bad when the excuses “disengage the self from important, recurring tasks.” Meaning, when you have a big goal and you make excuses to avoid all the small habits and tasks needed to achieve said goal, well, you’re really screwing up your life.
Goal: Lose 50 lbs. Detrimental Excuse: I can’t walk today because it’s raining.
If you refuse to put on a raincoat and continue to “disengage from small habits and tasks,” you fail at the goal before it begins to be achieved. Oddly, that’s an effort to protect your ego from really trying and then really failing. Weird, right?
But guess what? You still get to be filled with regret and self loathing, so let’s conquer this excuse making nonsense and realize it’s keeping you miserable. More miserable than just going for the goal and failing.
Let’s address causes:
Fear - Fear of the unknown. Fear of the “what ifs” behind both failure and success. What if you lose 50 lbs and you still can’t find love? What if you focus all this energy on a goal that proves to be useless, unsatisfying or unattainable? The trick to these fear-based excuses is applying the fear to inaction. As in, what if I never try and die having never tried to achieve this? What if I am forever frustrated and regretful? Just as scary, right? Not acting is a worse kind of failure. Realize that and use fear to your advantage.
Expectation - Your parents, your former self, your spouse all expected you to be an accountant. You said you wanted this, spent $80K on college, and now you’re going to be a Park Ranger? Take a pay cut? Have you lost your mind?
Some people even take your choices about change as a personal affront. You were raised with, or adhered to, certain shared values and rejecting the values can feel like rejecting people who hold them. Don’t let the expectations of others or your old self ruin your chance at happiness. People, values and circumstances change all the time. Change is the only unchanging reality. So go with it. The people with expectations, including you, will adapt and be fine once they realize it’s not personal.
Obligation - A lot like expectation, but with strings attached. The biggest generator of obligation-based excuses are the financials. The thought of taking a leap into the life of your dreams seems risky, illogical, and to some people (many times the people closest to you) irresponsible. You’ve got mouths to feed and other people’s lives to consider, but remember . . . it’s YOUR life too and you only get one. You can probably make the numbers work if you really want. Remember, your life is not a dress rehearsal.
Mindset - You will be uncomfortable. You may make others uncomfortable. There is risk. But here’s the thing, you can do this! No really. And once you realize it’s attainable, whatever it is, your mind can shift into making it happen. But this piece is key. You’ve got to really believe it’s possible. You’ve got to make the shift from unattainable dream to goal and life contract.