Why we should stop making excuses


It is perhaps the biggest question people ask themselves. We all have our goals and ambitions, but excuses make them hard to achieve. A person may want to do something that may require a significant amount of effort; however, a few seconds before doing it, the brain intervenes and comes up with a silly excuse making the individual choose an alternative path. What are excuses really?

Excuses are rationalizations we make to ourselves about people, events, and circumstances. They are invented reasons we create to defend our behavior, to postpone taking action or simply as a means of neglecting responsibility.

Our minds are designed to keep the body comfortable. They will divert our attention from anything that seems strenuous no matter how good the outcome can be if we push on and complete the particular task. This makes sense biologically since the brain reinforces the neurons that fire in a way that brings pleasure.  Most people will talk about things they want to do or accomplish; but how many persevere and make it to the end? The brain prioritises short term gains over long term gains since the long term gains bring no immediate pleasure. Instead, long term plans require commitment, hard work, and a lot of sacrifice. However, like any muscle, will power is a muscle that can be trained to achieve whatever you want in life. It takes a lot to focus and work towards our goals; here are some of the ways which can help us stop making excuses.

The first is taking responsibility. It is the foundation of success. Whatever goal one may have, it can never be achieved without taking responsibility. When an individual learns to be responsible and understand actions that he/she can and cannot control, it becomes easy to stop making excuses. Accepting responsibility means taking control of your life. It is important to identify the Understand locus of control.

According to Wikihow,  to know your locus of control, you have to examine how much of your life you view as being under your control. Excuses are often made to shift blame away to circumstances beyond our control. For example if you hear yourself saying that you cannot lose weight because your partner bakes too much, you are shifting the blame to someone external and you instead need to take personal responsibility [1]. Thus there are two types of locus:

  • Internal locus of control is the extent you believe you can control actions in your life and you assume responsibility for those decisions and actions. an internal locus better focuses you for success.
  • External locus of control protects the self images by blaming external factors for the outcome of events, thereby allowing you to evade responsibility.

The second thing and the most important is to consider the fact that life is a training ground. Everything can never go the way we expect, and that is natural. Rather than beat ourselves for mistakes made, we can look at our actions and learn from them. They help us prepare better for what is to come. Embracing such an attitude helps us realize that failures are part of life and we are not perfect. When some people fail, all they do is grunt and make excuses that lead to despair. Learning from our mistakes is key to stopping excuses. In addition, realising that failing contains valuable lessons that ultimately lead to success. As the saying goes :

“The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried”

Another thing is to expect challenges. As said before, life is not smooth. We should expect bumpy rides along the way. Understanding that aspect will help us face challenges instead of making excuses and running away from our problems. The key to tackling challenges is understanding why we have this challenges in the first place. This calls for an examination of oneself and one circumstances to realise your capabilities and weaknesses. A kind of the SWOT analysis that business take but applied to your personal life. The next step is to start improving your capabilities a little at a time by setting small measurable goals and working towards them. Completing one small goal builds up confidence for the next task, which greatly increases your ability to tackle larger and larger challenges over time.

Finally, we should look at our long-term goals. We all have that one dream, no matter how big, that we want to achieve. It is essential that we remind ourselves of it each time we work towards it. There will be many obstacles along the way, but never forget what awaits if we make it to the end. Dreams are important tools to stop making excuses. Despite the difficulties which tend to sway us from doing what through excuses, remembering our dreams makes it easy to overcome such obstacles and keep on working.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Benjamin Franklin

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