Back in the day, I was the queen of excuses.
I could have taught a class specifically on how to self-sabotage your dreams.
Sounds dramatic, but it’s true!
Now, I’ve learned how to stop making excuses and to get out of my own way, so I can produce the results in life I desire.
People offer so many excuses in life.
And if you’re anything like I was, you’ll likely be stubborn and set in your ways.
If this is you, don’t fear.
There are simple solutions to ditching the excuses limiting your potential for success.
In this article, I’m going to define what excuses really are, why we create these excuses, and how we can stop making excuses, so we can get the results we want.
This can be applied to any area of your life. It’s good stuff.
My favorite definition I’ve heard for excuses comes from entrepreneur Jon Taffer.
He defined excuses as “the rationalization of mistakes.”
I love this definition because it really gets to the core of what excuses actually are.
Excuses make us feel better about our current situation for a brief moment.
They allow us to mentally remove any responsibility for our results in life.
We feel the need for excuses because they spare us the negative feelings we’ll feel about ourselves if we hold ourselves accountable for our setbacks.
Basically, excuses stem from paralyzing fear.
And we don’t fear being held accountable. We fear the feeling we’ll feel from holding ourselves accountable.
With a mismanaged mind, these feelings will likely be shame, low self-worth, or guilt.
Holding yourself accountable and ditching the excuses, doesn’t have to cause these feelings.
You don’t have to use your excuses as a security blanket to make you feel better.
The truth is: you can feel better and hold yourself accountable.
The key is to not let failures and setbacks manifest as negative thoughts in your brain.
You need to be able to view your setbacks as puzzles you need to solve. These failures are the breadcrumbs necessary to lead you to your end goal.
So, don’t rationalize your mistakes. This only produces more of them.
Start holding yourself accountable for your mistakes and form a healthy relationship with them.
Think of your failures as the necessary hacks you’ll need to achieve success.
Once you adopt this mindset, you’ll be in a much better place to ditch excuses.
Because then you won’t fear the rocky road to true success.
To further help you eliminate excuses from your life, we’ll now cover the top reasons for your excuses, and what you can do to ditch them for good.
A common reason we make excuses is that we’re afraid of what other people will think.
By making excuses and not taking action, we prevent other people from judging or doubting us while we attempt to achieve the goals we desire.
This is a prime example of how using excuses is a form of avoidance.
We figure if we make excuses and don’t follow through with our goals, then we won’t be judged or criticized.
What’s ironic about this is that the pain we’re trying to avoid from other people’s opinions is ten times worse than the pain we experience when we don’t follow through with our goals!
Therefore, we’re left in this negative cycle of avoidance behavior where we’re not moving forward.
One of my favorite quotes from Brendon Burchard states…
“You’re not scared to start your dream, you’re embarrassed to be seen starting small.”
Which is true for anyone.
No one wants their peers to see them in the vulnerable beginning stages of any journey.
It’s not glamorous, sexy, or confidence-boosting.
It’s humbling, vulnerable, and honest.
Which is scary!
Being a beginner is laced with failures and setbacks. This is necessary for growth. But this idea of public failure will shut many of you down.
Don’t make excuses and give up on your dreams because you’re worried about what someone else will think.
This can be anyone! Friends, spouses, children, extended family, etc.
It’s also worth mentioning that you have no idea how some people will feel!
You could be making worse assumptions in your head as to how you’ll be criticized.
And even if you are put down and de-valued by your peers, what’s the worst that could happen?
The worst that can happen is how you’ll feel about what they said.
You’re afraid of what you’ll make their opinions mean about you and your ability to succeed.
If others try to make you feel invalid – you will survive.
It helps me to acknowledge every negative thing a person could say. I write it down, verbalize it to myself and make it real.
Do this exercise.
This way, you can see how words have no power over you or your ability to crush your goals.
Other people’s opinions have nothing to do with your success. You feel?
There’s no question it feels much better to blame someone else for our setbacks than to blame ourselves.
What’s fascinating is we’ll literally find anything to blame other than ourselves.
We’ll blame our family, the weather, traffic, the government—you name it.
When we blame external factors, we’re refusing to face the facts.
And the facts are that we have complete control over our desired results in life.
Holding yourself accountable can feel uncomfortable. There’s no question about that.
But it’s also what’s preventing you from achieving anything you want in life.
When we make these excuses it literally paralyzes us and our ability to grow.
I really want you to examine what external factors you’re blaming for your lack of success. This requires some in-depth thought.
When you figure them out (because everyone has them), be kind to yourself.
This is a completely natural pattern that all of us are guilty of.
The first and most important step is identifying those excuses. Then, you can ditch them once and for all.
P.S. Holding yourself accountable for your success feels ah-mazing over time.
Your brain loves to present you with roadblocks. It thrives on keeping you safe and exactly where you are.
And it will try and sabotage the process of you becoming the future you.
As soon as you set a goal, your brain will begin sending you a ton of reasons as to why it won’t work. This is natural.
It’s your cerebellum going haywire in hopes that it’ll protect you from harm.
Your brain LOVES to repeat the past because it’s not afraid of what it’s familiar with.
The problem is that your brain will give you the same feelings of fear that it would if you were about to be attacked by a predator.
Back in caveman times, this was beneficial because our protective, primitive brain prevented us from getting killed.
Now, this innate fear our brain thrusts upon our way of life prevents us from accomplishing our goals.
Self-sabotaging thoughts are natural.
When you think about a goal, you’ll likely have thoughts such as, “Who do I think I am?”; “I’m not good enough.”; “I have no chance of success.”—blah, blah, blah.
Not only is this normal, it means you’re likely setting your goals right.
If you’re not having self-sabotaging thoughts from your brain, you haven’t set a large enough goal.
When your brain is trying to stop you, it’s a sign of personal growth.
No person on this planet will doubt your dreams as much as your own brain.
The key is to listen to these thoughts and acknowledge their presence.
Don’t believe them. Just notice they’re there.
I want you to write down all the reasons your brain is giving you as to why you won’t achieve your goals.
These should all be reasons that will prevent you from getting the end result you desire.
Really dig deep and brainstorm every thought you’re having about these goals.
Then, write down the plans for overcoming the obstacles your brain presented. There is a solution for every roadblock your brain is presenting you with.
It’s like Marie Forleo says: “Everything is figure-out-able”.
Many of us create excuses for why we can’t take the steps necessary to accomplish our goals.
A huge reason for this is because we don’t believe we’re truly capable of becoming the type of person who has the results we want.
To fix this problem, you’re going to have to envision the “before you” and the “after you”. The latter will be the person you envision yourself becoming once you’ve accomplished your goals.
What is different about this person? How will this person think?
The key to believing in your potential is to start thinking the thoughts that the new version of you will have.
You need to start believing your future thoughts right now.
When you do this, your goal will become so ingrained in your brain that you’ll feel as if you’ve already achieved it.
You should see yourself as this person. You should identify as her.
One of my favorite examples is Christmas Day. The anticipation of Christmas Day is oftentimes more exciting than Christmas itself.
This is how you should feel when you believe in your goals and your future self.
The excitement of becoming that future you should already be established so that by the time it happens, you’ll already be that person.
Are you following this?
Because this is insanely powerful if you can apply this to your life.
This means that you’ll have to commit to believing your end-result before you have evidence.
You won’t need to make excuses because you’ll have no fear of taking action. You know you’ll achieve the results you desire.
Something extra to note: How you believe in yourself will teach others how they should believe in you.
So, start now.
I want to remind you that you can handle ditching your excuses.
It’s hard, but you have everything in you to take accountability for your life.
You can handle the possible feelings you’ll get from working toward your goal.
My mission is to make you believe—like really believe—that you can do more.
I want you to move your needle forward every damn day.
Excuses hold you back from becoming the best version of yourself.
I really mean that.
So, remember: your future self is waiting for you to ditch the excuses and to start taking action.
Don’t wait—start now!
Hey there! I'm Kat Rentas. I’m a certified health coach for women who believes that eating healthy should feel simple and sustainable. I teach hundreds of high-performing women to change their eating habits without the overwhelm. Want to change your eating habits in a way that is aligned with your needs, preferences, and goals? You’re in the right place. You can read my full story here.