5 Ways to Stop Yourself From Making an Excuse
Whether it's a workout you had planned, a deadline due at work, or something you have on your agenda that requires you to go out of your way, it can be really easy to make an excuse. Often times it seems easier to find a reason NOT to do something, than it does to do it. But if we dig a little deeper into why we had the plan in the first place, we can overcome that tendency.
Let's say you set out to stick to a workout schedule for the next 2 months. Your goal is to workout for at least 30 minutes a day during the week. On Monday, you come home from the longest day of work - your manager was on your back about something you have to get done this week, you find out you have to travel at the end of the week and you really aren't so keen about it, you sat in 1.5 hours of traffic on your commute, just to get home and find that you barely even have groceries stocked in your refrigerator. We've all been there. Your mind tells you that you should just go sit on the couch for a while and forget about your day. Or, if you're the anxious type, you might even have an urge to come home and open your laptop back up to find 20 more client emails that you feel you should respond to. Maybe you even want to get started on that thing your manager was harping on...The last thing you actually WANT to do is change into some workout clothes and muster up the energy to go break a sweat.
If we wanted to, we could recreate this scenario every single day by finding little things throughout the course of our day that don't really go our way. Looking for the annoyances and negatives is actually easy - it's ignoring them that's the tough part. Viewing everything as a positive takes practice, especially if you're someone that constantly has a full plate and lots going on. Life gets messy and things certainly don't always go as planned. What I can say is, sticking to that overarching goal you set out to achieve can have a massive impact on your ability to stay level-headed when life gets a little off-course. If it's to get out and sweat for 30 minutes, I guarantee you'll feel better when it's done. Those emails? You'll get them tomorrow.
Here are some ways to stop yourself from making an excuse:
1. Prioritize YOU
If you're someone that thrives off of a color-coded Outlook calendar or to-do list, schedule some time for yourself in there. Everything else is secondary to what matters most to you, your own personal goals. Think about it like you would an appointment with someone else, and remember that it's just 30 minutes. Everything else will still be there when you're done.
2. Focus on the big picture
Ask yourself WHY you set the goal in the first place. Remembering the ambition you had when you first set the goal is often enough motivation to get back to it. Usually it's because you want to be better at whatever it is you're working on, so keep in mind that small efforts dedicated toward that lead to big wins in the end. Everything else crowding your mind might seem more important, but think about how much stronger you'll be to handle those things once you've accomplished what you need to do for you.
3. Create small goals to make it easier to reach the big one
When you set a large goal that will take lots of hard work to achieve, it can be even easier to find excuses, especially ones where our head reminds us how long it's going to take to achieve anyway. Don't let that happen. To avoid feeling like something is unreachable and putting other things first, create smaller, "baby steps" that pave the way to the big goal. If your big goal is to workout for 30 minutes a day during the week for the next two months, maybe your small goal is that you don't open up your laptop or check your work email once you're home.
4. Find an accountability buddy
Surround yourself with those who will lift you higher. No matter what it is you're working on in life, it helps to have a small support system of 2-5 people that have your back and hold you to the things you say you want to do. Whether those people physically help you by joining you on your journey, or they're just there to pop in at times and ask how you're coming along with things, it helps! Plus, there's that psychological benefit that kicks in where you feel like you can't let someone else down!
5. Envision the after-effect
You know that feeling when you just achieved something tough? Maybe it's when you turned in a really long and complicated project. Maybe it's finishing a race in record time. Or maybe it's getting through that 30 minutes of working out that seemed impossible to start. Whatever it is, I guarantee the feeling of being done with it was 100x better than the feeling of getting started. I call that the "after-effect." Envisioning that feeling and reminding yourself how much better you will feel after can be extremely helpful when it comes to getting started.
Sometimes we need to take it a step back and start realizing when we're even making an excuse in the first place. Some people are so used to making excuses that they don't even realize they're making them. Once you can easily detect when you give in to an excuse, start practicing some of the techniques above to stay on track with your goals.
As Gary Vaynerchuk says, "excuses are always the wrong answer."
Keep crushing it!