The sad truth is we believe in our excuses more than we believe in our dreams. And we pay more attention to them too. But we don’t even see them for what they are. Good news is, if you understand the anatomy of excuses, you can dismantle them. Here’s what you need to know.
Excuses Have Layers.
There is never just one excuse when you are busy avoiding dealing with something. For example, years ago when I complained of a lack of intimacy with my husband, what I told myself about “why” had layers:
“He’s a jock, not a deep kinda guy.”
“I tried before, it didn’t work.”
“It’s not that important.”
“It’s not important to him.”
And I could have found more. Handy for avoiding dealing with MY fear of intimacy.
Excuses Seem True and You’ve Got Evidence.
Does this sound familiar?
“I am foggier in the morning, so I can’t exercise then!”
“I tried talking about finances, but he didn’t want to.”
“Nobody taught me how to XYZ.”
The “brat” that lives in your brain is masterful at coming up with excuses that sound brilliant and true, almost like the voice of god. It’s going to take real intelligence and desire to see your excuses as just excuses.
Your Friends Believe Your Excuses.
What are your friends excusing in your (their?) life: smoking, overeating, over-drinking, complaining about your job, marriage, kids, another friend? We pick our friends because they help us feel “not so bad” and very understood, but usually not proud or powerful. So instead, you are now reading this article by a life coach.
Excuses Always Come with “Feeling Bad” or Stuck, to Confuse You.
It’s actually formulaic:
You said you’d do X, but you did Y instead + Excuse1 (+ Excuse2?) + “feeling bad” = you as a “good person.”
Problem is, adding in “feeling bad” never balances this equation. “Feeling bad” is a diversion and obscures that you chose something other than what you said or intended. Forego your right to feel bad and your excuses will be harder to believe (oh, and you’ll be stuck having to deal with your real issues.)
Excuses Always Cover a Truth We Don’t Want to Admit.
The sickest, saddest things in our lives stay in place because of excuses. When we are disrespecting or not listening to someone, we’ll excuse it with their shortcomings (yup, that was me.) Cheating/stealing is excused by how others treat you. Making harmful choices for your body is excused by upbringing or peer pressure.
If you told the truth, with no excuses, you’d have to face what you are not proud of and need to change. This means you have to own up to the choices you made (and still make) regardless of anything or anyone else. This is the beginning of the way out of powerlessness.
Instead of being in the game of looking or being “good,” get into the game of developing your Personal Integrity®. In its simplest form, here are the steps:
1 = Dreaming
Say what you really want, everywhere in your life.
2 = Promises
Take specific actions, daily, toward your dreams.
3 = Consequences
Pay an immediate consequence whenever you break a promise.
4 = Accountability
Use a coach (or a friend you trust) to report on where you did and didn’t keep your promises and when you paid your
Stopping your excuses is the fastest way to your dreams. No amount of friends, fun, logic, food or righteousness will ever feel as good as mastering Personal Integrity®. Please begin today.
Laurie Gerber is President of Handel Group™ Life Coaching (HGLC) and an expert life coach herself. Passionate about personal development, Laurie has been coaching individuals and groups for 15 years. Before enthusiastically joining The Handel Group™, Laurie owned and operated Partners with Parents, a tutoring and educational consulting business in New York City.
Laurie oversees 16 coaches in their work with clients on improving all areas of life. She considers herself “an angel recruiter” because she is busy looking for other people who share her mission to instill more joy and peace in the world. “When all people are living true to their ideals, then I can rest,” she says. She doesn’t anticipate being able to rest anytime soon.
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