“Maturity is when you stop complaining and making excuses in your life; you realize everything that happens in life is a result of the previous choice you’ve made and start making new choices to change your life.” ― Roy T. Bennett
Excuses are like assholes. Everyone has them.
I’m sure you’ve heard a phrase similar to that before, but it’s true.
We all make excuses, and we come up with every excuse we can think of to avoid being productive or changing whatever is not working in our life. We make excuses for not exercising or not doing something we need to do all the time. It is common for many people.
And we believe these excuses. We allow them to keep us in our own little comfortable bubble even though we are miserable. But being comfortable does not allow for growth.
We make excuses why we can’t pursue our dreams. We make excuses for our behavior and justify it with other excuses. Because excuses let you off the hook, don’t they? It’s easier to accept your fate in life than to change, isn’t it?
But if you want your life to change, you need to stop making excuses for your behavior. @jefftherunner1 (Click to Tweet!)
I’ve been there so I know what you are going through. Not too long ago, I made excuses every day. I made excuses why I couldn’t write or exercise and it made me miserable. The excuses piled up until I was comfortable with a life I hated. Being miserable for me was normal.
I was good at it.
What’s Your Story?
It was my story for most of my life. Make excuses, be unhappy, make more excuses and the cycle continued. I even made excuses why I wasn’t writing. Every. Damn. Day. There was always something else to do instead of typing the words you are reading right now. It made me miserable, too. The anxiety I experienced when I didn’t work on something I needed to was horrible, but it still wasn’t enough to make me write. The excuses had a hold on me and my brain, and I let it control me and my habits.
Then one day I decided I no longer wanted to be miserable. I decided I no longer wanted to keep making excuses for my behavior, for my procrastination, for my life. It was then I made the choice to take responsibility for my life. It was then I created a new story for myself. And I want you to do the same.
Do you feel you have no say in your life?
If you do, you can change it. Nothing is permanent. You can create your own story anytime you want. You can change anything at any time. If you stop making excuses.
Excuses like “I’m too old” or “I’m too young.”
The average person in the US lives to be a little over seventy-eight years old. You may live to ninety. Or fifty. No one knows. There is nothing guaranteed to you when it comes to how long you live. You may die tomorrow. So stop allowing the excuse of being too old or too young to write that book. Don’t let excuses stop you from changing careers or going back to school. You are never too old or too young to do what you want.
Another excuse we tell ourselves is that we don’t have enough time, or the time isn’t right. But I guarantee if you sit down and looked at your schedule you will see you have time.
How many hours do you spend watching television, playing video games or surfing the internet? How many hours per day are you spending on your phone or on social media? Be honest.
Document your time. Keep a schedule of everything you do every hour and do this for two weeks. It will surprise many of you how much time you have and how much time you waste. It’s an exercise that will make many of you wake up and realize not having enough time is just an excuse.
You hear the phrase “life is short” all the time, but in reality, it is long.
In the book On the Shortness of Life, the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca discusses how life is not that short but we make it short by wasting so much time on meaningless things instead of living how we want. He states,
“In guarding their fortune men are often closefisted, yet when it comes to the matter of wasting time, in the case of the one thing in which it is right to be miserly, they show themselves most prodigal.”
How much time are you wasting by relying on excuses? How much time are you wasting on meaningless things?
Tomorrow Is Just A Day Away
Along with not having enough time, we believe it is not the RIGHT time to change. But there will never be a right time, as there is no such thing as the perfect moment to start something new.
There’s a saying that goes:
“ The best time to plant a tree was yesterday. The second best time is now.”
If you are anything like me, you always tell yourself you’ll start tomorrow. You say, “Tomorrow I’ll start that book, tomorrow I’ll start my business, tomorrow I’ll exercise.”
But tomorrow is always a day away, isn’t it?
Tomorrow ends up being the next day then the next day. You are always getting ready to live, but taking no action to do so. What you are doing is making excuses and allowing these excuses to control your life.
We also use motivation as an excuse. We tell ourselves we aren’t motivated right now. We have no motivation to start on that book or homework or on changing anything. There is never any motivation to exercise or look for another job.
How many times have you said that to yourself?
The problem is motivation is not something we can rely on since it changes. It is fleeting. Sometimes you feel motivated to work out or to write or to study, and sometimes you don’t. Some people say if you aren’t motivated to do something, then it’s not worth doing. That is just another excuse.
Motivation will never be the reason you do something. The reason you will do something is that you want it more than the alternative. You will get a new job because you hate the one you have. You will change your body by exercising because you don’t like the body you have now.
For me, I want to run now more than I want to wake up hungover. I want to be self-employed so I do not have to work for someone else and I can spend more time with my children. I want those things more than the alternative. I changed and stopped making excuses.
Live Instead of Exist
If you do nothing to change, then you are comfortable with your current situation and you have no one to blame but yourself. If that sounds harsh, then so be it. Because choosing to do nothing is also a choice. People who are living the life they want didn’t rely on excuses; they took action and didn’t let excuses get in their way.
You are smart enough, you have enough time, and you can live the life you want. You are not too old or too young.
If you want to change, you need to be honest with yourself and take control. Stop making excuses about why you can’t do what you want. You can read hundreds of self-improvement articles and books (even mine), but if you don’t take action, then it doesn’t matter. It’s up to you.
Why put off changing your life until tomorrow or until the time is right? Why allow these excuses you tell yourself to control you?
Those are questions you have to ask yourself.
You have the power to change your life but you have to stop making excuses to do it. Stop being a passenger in your own life and start to drive.
It’s time to create your story.
Jeff Barton is a writer, ultra-runner, lover of books and zombies, a practitioner of positive thinking, and most importantly, a dad. Living and loving life one day at a time. You can find him at jeffthewriter.com and jefftherunner.com.
Image courtesy of Darius Bashar.