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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

3 Steps You Need to Take if You're Constantly Making Excuses for Yourself

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One of the most important moments in my career was when I realized just how many excuses I was making on a daily basis. Each day, thoughts such as “Working out is too grueling, I’ll just skip it,” or “I’ll never get this job, so why should I even apply?” would pop into my head, and I wouldn’t give them a second thought. Once I realized how many I made, however, I began to take steps to remove them from my life. I believe anyone can get beyond excuses with a little work, so here’s how I’ve trained myself to avoid making more of them.

1. Ask, “Is This True?”

Whenever I catch myself making up a story for something, I ask myself, “Is this true?” or “Does this need to be true?” For example, if I say that working out is too grueling, and it’ll be an unpleasant experience, I ask myself if this is in fact the case—to which the answer is, “Of course not.” All I need to do is find a workout program that I’ll enjoy, rather than force myself to do one that I find unpleasant.

2. Reflect on Them

At the end of each day, I take a few minutes to look back on the excuses I made that day, and try to figure out why I made them. I make a mental note of the things I’m avoiding, and try to look for better ways to approach them. The only way to start combating bad explanations is to notice them, and taking time to reflect helps me to do just this.

3. Find People to Push You

Lastly, you should surround yourself with people who will call you out on your excuses. Holding yourself accountable is one thing, but it is much more effective if you have other people holding you responsible as well. Find a workout partner, or someone who will check in on you each day to ensure you met your goals.

Training myself to avoid making excuses wasn’t easy, but it was worth it in the end. Now, each day I can catch myself if I’m about to tell one and challenge the assumption behind it. And, I have people around me who will push me through those difficult days. With excuses gone, I get more done, and I feel better about myself. With a little training, you can, too.

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