Stop making excuses

Aug 29, 2023

When I was 9 years old, I played a trick on a family’s friend who visited my family that day. When the trick went beyond what I had expected and almost injured the person (thankfully she was okay), I immediately pointed the finger at my younger cousin who had nothing to do with it. She denied her doing but I stood firm and said that it was her idea. She got an earful from her mom and a couple of spankings right on the spot. While she cried claiming out loud it wasn’t her, I buried myself with fear and remorse at the corner of the room. I did not and could not say anything. A couple of days later, my parents found out what truly happened, and let’s just say, justice was well executed.

I have few early childhood memories, but that fun-went-south prank stays with me vividly till this day. I can clearly remember that my finger pointing was out of my fear and desperation; I was fearful for the worst possible consequence of the prank and desperate to avoid a punishment from my parents in front of others. And the bottom line is I wasn’t ready to own it and take responsibility for it.

Why people make excuses

“Let me skip the gym today as I had a long day and am so tired already.” “I can’t do that because I am too old (or too young), I am not good enough, or I have no money and no connection.” “I can’t take on the new role as I’ve never done that before.” Does any of these resonate with you?

Why do people make excuses? There are many reasons, but based on many of my own experiences, I believe the main reasons include fear, uncertainty, avoiding responsibility or possible negative consequences, maintaining self-image, social pressure, lack of direction, clarity and accountability.

Ways to stop making excuses

I am very certain that you’ve made excuses and may continue to do so from time to time. Most excuses don’t do much harm on the one-off situation, but if it’s the habit you’ve formed, it may prevent you from achieving your goals and realize your potential and growth. Read on to discover 12 ways on stopping make excuses.

1. Recognize your behavior

Recognizing your excuse making behavior is the first step toward change. If you are not aware of it, there’s no need to do anything, right? It may not be easy for you to spot on your own behavior, but when you pay attention to your words, words like “I can’t,” “I will when…” or ”I don’t have …” you know you may start making excuses for yourself.

2. Change your attitude

Zig Ziglar said “Attitude determines your altitude.” Staying positive and knowing you have the power to make change are crucial to stop making excuses.

3. Take “but” out of your dictionary

Words have power and the word of “but” in my opinion ranks on the top of the list. “I want to exercise to feel good, but I am too tired to do anything.” “That’s a great idea, but I don’t think I can do it.” How many times have you talked yourself out of the possibilities?

4. Stop comparing to others

Everyone is unique and none the same, even identical twins are somewhat different in many ways. Your visions, dreams, behavior and growth path belong to you and you only. When you compare yourself to others, you either feel defeated or completely proud depending on who you are compared yourself to. If you enjoy measuring to someone, compare the present you to your old self.

5. Face your fear courageously

Whether it’s your fear of loss, unknown, uncertainty, making mistakes, change, failure or success, don’t let fear take over your life. Things may not go as how you want it to be, but when you stretch yourself out of your element, that’s when you will experience your personal growth.

6. Break your limiting beliefs

Do your limiting beliefs paralyze you and allow you to make excuses all the time? If you continue feeding yourself with limiting beliefs, you prevent yourself from getting what you want and the growth you desire.

7. Set small and realistic goals

Big goals and dreams are great starting points, and the ability to breaking them into smaller and attainable goals will help you make progress and get to the finish line. When you accomplish each smaller goal, you will be more motivated to carry on to the next smaller goals.

8. Visualize the possibilities

You may have the tendency to visualize the negative outcome and possible humiliating consequences. Don’t stop there! Take another approach. Visualize what could be possible for you and what you would feel when you achieve your goals!

9. Just do it

Stop saying “I will try to…” or “I want to…” Both phrases give you the permission to come up with excuses. How is the sentence “I will be on time for the meeting tomorrow” different from “I will try to be on time for our meeting?”

10. Take risks

I am not saying taking blind risks here, rather, take risks after you carefully calculate and analyze its risks, benefits and possible outcomes. You may feel uncomfortable doing something out of your comfort zone, but taking risks not only will cultivate your growth but also foster your confidence and adaptability.

11. Take responsibility

It may sound strange to you, but nothing is more liberating than taking the responsibility of your own life and action. I walked on eggshells for a few days after I blamed my cousin for my prank, but I felt relieved and liberated after I received my deserved punishment. I no longer had to live under my own lie and darkness.

12. Seek support

If you notice that you persistently make excuses in different areas of your life and you find it difficult to break the habit of your own, seeking support from a professional coach can be beneficial. After all, you don’t want the excuses to hinder you from your personal potential and growth.

It may not be easy to stop making excuses, but it can be done. Grant yourself time, efforts and mindful consistency to break the habit of making excuses. Take charge of your life and never allow any excuses to stop you from achieving what you’ve planned for yourself. Embrace what life has to offer you and no more excuses!


Photo by Slim Emcee on Unsplash


About Faye Weng

Your Online Life and Career Coach

Faye Weng is an expert life and career coach who works with clients to take back control of their lives by rediscovering their passions, living/working with a clear purpose, and becoming people who can positively impact the communities around them. As your life and career coach, Faye will help you minimize noises and distractions, focus your effort and attention on the right things, execute a clear plan of action, and celebrate alongside of you when each milestone is reached. Click here to book a complimentary session.