In life, I like having plans…which, in turn, means I like making excuses.
I’m someone who jumps into a structured routine every chance I get. My body and mind work like clockwork. I get hungry, become productive, need sleep, and every other function at very specific times and lengths of time.
Anything that doesn’t fit into that strict schedule? Well, I start making excuses. I avoid being spontaneous. I despise anything that is thrown together in a matter of moments. If I don’t expect it at least a day in advance, don’t even bother asking me.
As comfortable and predictable my habit is, it isn’t fully living. We cannot expect to control every moment. We also cannot expect everyone and everything else to fit perfectly into that controlled environment. There has to be some sort of leeway and flexibility.
Can you relate to my struggle, my one-track mindset? Well, it’s about time we stop making excuses. Of course we won’t be perfect, nor will we forever be an open book. However, there’s always room to grow and improve. A little step in the right direction is still a step.
Aiming to stop making excuses means you can be a more honest, trustworthy, and reliable person. Your relationships will become stronger. You can more fully embrace vulnerability. You can feel like a more active participant in your life rather than always resorting to passiveness and avoidance.
Ready to stop making excuses? Let’s start with some broad but important questions and suggestions.
1. what’s holding you back?
To stop making excuses, you need to realize why you’re making excuses in the first place. There’s a root train of thought that perpetually leads to an excuse. Once you’re aware of that, you can better address the consequences.
For example, I know most of my excuses are a result of my anxiety, especially social anxiety. I get very nervous about straying away from my usual routine. My mind also ends up nagging me about how I interact and fit in with others. I assume I’m being too awkward. People don’t care if I’m there or not. I don’t matter. Everyone has more fun without me there.
Mental lies can be very convincing! Making excuses almost becomes a security blanket for me to avoid the lies altogether and keep going down a known, “comfortable” path. While having a clear structure to each day is nice, it’s not fully living. It’s not challenging myself to grow as a person. I become passive to my anxiety.
Do you know these anxieties and mental lies, too? What’s the thought that keeps surfacing before you make an excuse? Make it known, recognize that thought as nothing more than a thought, and consider other ways to take action.
2. what do I value?
According to what you value most, you can then decide what’s worth not making excuses for. If you care about what you want to embody and represent, you’ll care about how to stop making excuses for those big-ticket items.
I value the relationships I build, and I fully realize the impact my excuses have on my loved ones. An excuse becomes a knee-jerk reaction, so much so that you never step outside your bubble. This, in turn, affects how others view your trustworthiness, reliability, and respect for others.
I also value challenging myself and growing as a person. I don’t want to remain stagnant and fearful of the unknown. I don’t want to be a slave to my anxiety. I have the choice to overcome those internal obstacles. Choosing to stop making excuses is a great place to start.
When evaluating your own habits and situation, consider at least five different character traits or values you especially want to uphold. Who do you want to be? It’s all up to you. You are capable of whatever you set your mind to.
Once you know what to prioritize, you have a baseline for how to approach uncomfortable situations. Sometimes it’s a-okay to make an excuse, but if it’s questioning one or more of your core values, that’s when to stop making excuses. Tell yourself, “I care about this, so I’m going to do it, even if I don’t want to at this moment. I know it will be worth it.”
An important idea to note here, to avoid sounding ignorant of personal conditions and restraints, is to put yourself first. Chronic physical and mental illnesses are very real and valid reasons to make excuses. You know yourself best to recognize the times you need to take a backseat to others’ activities.
However, if you use your illnesses as an excuse even when you aren’t struggling, that’s when you need to return to your values and assess your habits.
3. always give yourself grace.
You won’t also be perfect. You won’t always stop making excuses. We all do at one point or another. Don’t get too obsessive about your decisions. These include the past, present, and future. Nobody can change the past, nor can they accurately predict the future. It’s all about taking life as it comes.
We could have every single detail in our lives planned out, but we still be completely blindsided by how everything occurs. It’s all in God’s hands. We’re simply the participants.
If you make an excuse and skip out on something, don’t beat yourself up over it. There will always be plentiful opportunities to come where you can decide otherwise. Nothing is set in stone. That’s the beauty of life and all its mystery.
Honesty and communication are the best policies. Be open and transparent with those you love about how you feel about certain situations. They’ve likely already noticed you making excuses, but it’s important to admit things yourself. Let them know what might make you anxious and fearful. Tell them what triggers your anxiety and what situations to avoid. If they really love you, they’ll respect your wishes and help you every step of the way.
Also, don’t expect to be a completely new person. If you already enjoy quiet evenings at home, you probably won’t start partying every night. Be reasonable about the expectations you set. Make mini-goals, such as making one less excuse each day or socializing more regularly, and celebrate every victory. Your effort is appreciated and won’t go unnoticed.
Are you ready to stop making excuses? Me, too. I don’t think I’ll ever be “perfect” (what an overrated word!), but I’m definitely more open than I was. I stop holding myself back so often. As I grow more accustomed to myself as a person, I become more willing to step outside my bubble. I try new things more often and build new, stronger relationships.
Consider yourself as a work in progress. Everyone is on a set path. Why not step forward?
Do you have other tips and advice on how to stop making excuses? Please share in the comments below so we can each grow as individuals and as a community! We’re all in this together; no excuses.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie