What happens when we let ourselves make excuses? We all do it at some point, don’t we? Whether we can’t move ahead because we’re stuck, tired, sad, time poor, or unenthusiastic, we can be really good at coming up with those “can’t dos.” I will fess up that while typically I’m excellent at activating and doing, there have been darker periods when it’s just harder to think of the possibilities and moving forward.
One way to stop the negative cycle is to pay attention to the excuses. Be an investigator and use the excuses as clues to figure out how to move past them. In the spirit of this fall season, with colors and temperatures changing, why not use this time as an opportunity for opening up the possibilities and get over of the excuses? Here is the short list.
5 Tips to Eliminate Your Excuses
1. I’m stuck.
Tip: What is making you feel stuck? Is there too much information to choose from? Are you unsure about what to do next? Think about narrowing the choices or putting parameters around the amount of research you need before moving forward. Make the next step very small. If that's a challenge, ask a trusted friend or confidant to help figure out the one small action to take that will move you beyond stuck.
2. I’m tired.
Tip: Being exhausted makes it more difficult to focus, plan, and act. It’s important to take care of basic needs. If you are tired, then pay attention to your sleep habits. Is it time to revisit the amount of sleep you’re getting? How about the quality of your sleep? For example, I need between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to feel rested and ready for the next day. If I get less than that, it takes me days to get back my energy.
3. I’m sad.
Tip: Life is filled with high and low points. It’s normal to experience periods of sadness. Sadness can occur for many reasons including grief, divorce, seasonal affective disorder, emotional contagion, or hormonal shifts. If however, your sadness is extended and unshakeable, consider reaching out for professional help from a therapist or other medical professional. You can feel better, but you may need outside help to get there.
4. I’m time poor.
Tip: As far as I know, time is a level playing field. We all have 24 hours each day. It’s true that some of us pack more into those 24 hours than others, but it still comes down to choice and self-management. For every “yes,” you make, “no” gets said to something else. This isn’t a quick or easy process, but begin examining your values and needs. Once you’re clearer on those, build your choices and schedule from there. What is most meaningful and important will become integral to your daily experience. You will be more purposeful in your choices of how your time is being managed.
5. I’m unenthusiastic.
Tip: This is a huge indicator. When you’re resistant about doing something or moving forward, very often it’s because there is a “should” involved. This negatively effects our motivation. When I notice this happening, I stop to do some soul searching to make sure that the activity in question deserves my time and energy. Very often, I realize that letting go or making a different choice is the better option. Follow your passions and the enthusiasm and energy will be there to sustain you.
Do any of these seem familiar to you? What other excuses have you heard? What tip can you share to help? Come join the conversation.