Anybody who wants to start accomplishing more things must learn how to stop making excuses. Today’s article shows nine steps for kicking the bad habit of making excuses so you can reach more of your goals faster.
In this article:
- Know That It’s a Habit You Can Change
- Take Responsibility
- Don’t Just Acknowledge Your Mistakes – Learn from Them, Too
- Don’t Be Scared of What You Don’t Know
- Take Baby Steps
- Avoid Comparisons
- Use Visualization
- Focus on Your Strengths Instead of Weaknesses
- You’re Imperfect – and That’s Perfectly Ok!
How to Stop Making Excuses: 9 Ways to Kick this Bad Habit and Achieve More in Life
1. Know That It’s a Habit You Can Change
If you’re the type to frequently get out of responsibilities by making excuses, there’s good news. It’s just another habit, and like all habits, you can change it.
Reflect on why you’re really making excuses to not get things done because getting to the root of it is key to stopping the habit. Do you just want to keep your original schedule or do you just want to steer clear of extra responsibilities?
Once you discover your reason for making excuses, think of ways to address it so you can stop making excuses. Sometimes, merely being aware of the reasons is enough to stop the habit.
Part of knowing you can change the habit is by acknowledging you have the power to do it. The habit won’t stop itself, and the responsibility lies only with you.
2. Take Responsibility
You can’t or won’t change something you don’t take responsibility for. If you don’t take responsibility for this habit, you’ll be at the mercy of circumstances and events.
There are two aspects of taking responsibility for your habit of making excuses.
- The first is taking personal responsibility. This refers to owning up to your actions and their results. If you don’t take responsibility for your own mistakes and actions, including making excuses, you’ll end up waiting for circumstances or other people to change your habit for you.
- The second is taking indirect responsibility. This refers to owning up to your decision of not helping others. Indirect responsibility is easier to avoid because the primary responsibility lies with other people, which is an excuse not to help.
So, to stop making excuses, you must take responsibility not just for your own actions but also for helping others. And, it goes without saying you stop blaming other people and circumstances for your mistakes and shortcomings, too.
3. Don’t Just Acknowledge Your Mistakes – Learn from Them, Too
There’s a saying that insanity is doing the same things over and over but expecting a different result. If you just acknowledge your mistakes and don’t learn from them, you’ll probably repeat your mistakes and continue making excuses.
Mistakes are good learning opportunities to discover things that don’t work. When you acknowledge the reasons for your mistakes, you can think of ways to correct or avoid them.
When you learn from your mistakes, you can stop making excuses, too.
4. Don’t Be Scared of What You Don’t Know
One of the reasons people make excuses is because they’re scared to do things they have little or no knowledge of. They’re afraid of making a mistake, failing, or suffering serious consequences.
If you’re afraid of taking on responsibilities you’re not familiar with or are out of your comfort zone, know that while there’s a risk for mistakes, there’s a possibility of getting it right, too. And though you may not be very familiar with something, you can always research, plan and prepare so you can maximize your chances of successfully accomplishing it.
So, overcome your fear of the unknown to stop making excuses.
5. Take Baby Steps
It’s also possible you’re always making excuses because you easily get overwhelmed with things to do. If so, another habit you can start developing is going small, such as setting smaller goals or taking baby steps.
This is actually one of the strategies bestselling author James Clear teaches in his book Atomic Habits. He says the key to developing good habits is to make them very easy to do, and taking baby steps is a good example of that.
For example, instead of setting a goal of losing 50 pounds in one year, try going for ten pounds only. After you lose ten pounds, set another 10-pound weight loss goal and so on.
The reason for taking baby steps is three-fold.
- Smaller goals mean you have a higher chance of accomplishing them because they’re easier than big goals.
- The easier your goals are, the more of them you get to accomplish. The more successes you tuck under your belt, the more encouraged, inspired, and motivated you’ll be to do more.
- Smaller goals mean smaller and less painful failures. The lesser the pain of failure, the less discouraged you can be, which means you can more easily pick yourself up to try again.
6. Avoid Comparisons
Why is it a bad idea to compare yourself to others, especially when it comes to making excuses? It’s because you can use other people’s talents, skills, and circumstances as excuses to not do something.
For example, you can justify not exercising regularly by citing a friend who suffered a heart attack while brisk walking. But, if that friend had a massive heart condition already and your heart’s healthy, that’s an excuse, not a reason.
So, stop comparing yourself to others so you can stop finding excuses. If anything, make the most of the situation and learn from them – both from their successes and mistakes.
7. Use Visualization
One of the best ways to motivate yourself and get excited to accomplish things is by visualizing your success.
Visualization can be an indirect way to stop making excuses. It can work by motivating you enough to set aside your excuses and just go for your goals.
If you’re not yet used to vividly picturing your successful self in your mind’s eye, you can try something else. Create a vision board with pictures of the things that represent the goals you’d like to accomplish.
You can pin pictures of a manager, a new car, your dream vacation, or a happy family on your vision board. When you look at them every day, you can feel more motivated to start taking action towards accomplishing them.
8. Focus on Your Strengths Instead of Weaknesses
While you should look at your weaknesses to see how you can improve in those areas, don’t focus on them. Instead, focus on using your strengths and to the extent possible, consider working on your weaknesses.
By focusing on your strengths, you can choose tasks and responsibilities wisely and reduce your tendency to make excuses. It’s because knowing your strengths make you more aware that you can successfully carry out certain tasks and responsibilities.
9. You’re Imperfect – and That’s Perfectly Ok!
Perfectionism is one of the most common excuses people make to avoid tasks and responsibilities. In their minds, if you can’t do something perfectly, why do it at all?
There’s a difference between perfection and excellence. Excellence means top-quality but not perfect.
Everybody makes mistakes — even successful people! Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, though being two of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, still miss a lot of shots, too.
So, accept the fact that you’ll make mistakes and fail sometimes. And more importantly, be comfortable with the fact that people are aware you’re not perfect and have accepted the fact you’ll make mistakes, too.
The sooner you accept the fact you can’t do things perfectly, the sooner you can stop making perfectionism as an excuse.
Stop making excuses so you can start accomplishing more in your life and reach more of your goals. And with these nine steps, you’re on the right path.
Do you have other ideas to stop making excuses in life? Let us know in the comments section below!