Originally Authored 12/19/14
Do you make excuses? I do. Do you admire other people’s lives and then make excuses for why yours isn’t the same? Do you want to accomplish something and then make excuses to yourself about why you can’t get it done? Let’s examine that.
Hearing the Excuses
I became a runner a few years ago. When running comes up in conversation, very often the person I am talking with will begin to tell me why they don’t run. From ‘oh, I can’t run because of my knees (weak ankles, lungs, foot problem, pick your body part)’ to 'I HATE to run'. When people are faced with running they need to respond how it manifests in their life. What is more fascinating is how quickly they can pull from their pocket full of excuses.
Identifying the Excuses
We all do this. Our pocket-full-of-excuses is the shield we use to defend against the perceived threat of having to face our own inadequacies.
Running? I don’t want to run . . . Here is my excuse!
Good relationship? I don’t have one . . . here’s my excuse!
Happy at work? I’m not happy at work . . . here’s my excuse!
The challenge is to face what you are really thinking. What excuses do you have your trigger finger on, ready to fire against those pesky threats of facing yourself? Why are they so readily available? Have they become like a good friend, comfortable to be around and safe?
Face Your Excuses
What is Your Issue?
What is the one thing you readily make excuses about? In order to love yourself and be free from your own judgment, you need to face what you fear and throw out the excuses that surround it. Your weight? Your lack of success? Your children’s behavior? Your attitude? Your lack of time? Your health?
Take the Challenge
Take a moment today to write down one thing you make excuses about. Be honest with yourself. Then write down the excuses. Now comes the best part.
Rephrase the excuse into an honest statement about the issue really challenging what you have been thinking.
Here are some examples:
I Weigh Too Much
EXCUSE - My parents are heavy
REPHRASE - Although my parents are heavy, I am not my parents and I can manage my own body weight
EXCUSE - My husband makes me cook a big dinner every night
REPHRASE - No one can 'make' me do anything. I will negotiate with my husband about what we eat in our house and who does the cooking for the benefit of our family.
EXCUSE - My kids always want snacks
REPRASE - Kids do want snacks and there are plenty of healthy options available. I do not need to give my children everything they 'want'.
EXCUSE - I have no time to exercise
REPHRASE - I have the same amount of time in my day that everyone else has. My life is my own and I can manage my time to include exercise for the benefit of myself and those I love.
EXCUSE - I don't want to be a fanatic about my weight!
REPHRASE - It's not about weight but about health. I will be a fanatic about my health because no one else is living in this body but me. I want to feel good so I can love those around me.
My Husband and I Have a Bad Relationship
EXCUSE - He is a jerk
REPHRASE - My husband is the man I chose to spend my life with. What was it that I fell in love with that is a balance to my own personality?
EXCUSE - He had a bad upbringing
REPHRASE - My husband's upbringing did effect how he acts (as does mine). I will love him and relax my expectations of him. I will offer to talk about painful memories and listen without comment if he wants to share, and respect his pain if he doesn't.
EXCUSE - He won't do the things I like to do
REPHRASE - We can find something we both like to do. I will work on finding that and try something new if that is what it takes. I am not the only one who gets to choose what we do. This is a partnership.
EXCUSE - I don't like football and that's all he wants to talk about
REPHRASE - Although I don't like football, it will not hurt me to learn a little about what is so important to him, even if I think it has no redeeming value.
EXCUSE - Our kids get in the way and take too much time (aka We are too busy)
REPHRASE - We are not the first ones to have children. Although they do take time, the best thing we can do for them is to have a healthy relationship with each other. We will commit to prioritizing time together for everyone's benefit.
EXCUSE - We'll connect again when the kids grow up
REPHRASE - See above
It is useful to keep a notebook of your excuses and then a rephrased version of it. It will spur you to action instead of being stuck in the mire of the excuse.