Are Your Excuses Holding You Back?

Lazy DogIt is important to take some time and think about your priorities.On a daily basis, we make excuses or reasons for every action we take, from the food we eat to the work that gets done.

What are your reasons for not doing X,Y, and Z? Are you not doing something you should be doing? Are your reasons legitimate or getting in the way of your success?

  • Maybe you want to make more money; why aren’t you?
  • You want to learn a new skill; why aren’t you?
  • You think losing weight is difficult, why?

You have reasons (yes, many, many reasons) for not doing the things you would like to be doing (and the things you do not want to do as well). Now that the new year has begun, it’s time to look at those reasons and decide whether or not they are getting in the way of your dreams.

Excuse (definition provided by Wikipedia): An explanation designed to avoid or alleviate guilt or negative judgment.

There are multiple reasons for doing or not doing something, but is your excuse really legitimate? In most cases, your excuses or reasons are only based on fear or laziness, and the excuses need to be hacked down with a vengeance.

Common excuses that we all know are holding us back:

  • I am too young to do that (or I am too old to do that) – You are never too old or young to do anything! Your ability to do something is based on your pre-conceived notion that society may look down or you may fail. But if you don’t try something, how do you know you will fail.
  • I don’t have the right skills – The wonderful thing about being you (especially as a freelancer) is that you know how to take risks and learn. If you don’t have the skills, what is stopping you from obtaining them? I may not know all the intricacies of a certain CMS or how to get an effect right in Photoshop, but I do know how to search for what I need, read about it, and practice until I’m satisfied.
  • I don’t have enough time – This is probably the biggest enemy to anyone who has a dream that they are not yet pursuing. There is always time, you just choose what tasks throughout the day use your time. If you want to lose weight, become a more successful freelancer, or spend more time with your family, you have to make that enough a priority to fit it into your day.

In a few cases, you’ll find that your reasons are legitimate…

  • My family is the most important part of my life – If your current priorities are in order, then maybe your other goals are just not as important to achieve right now. If this is the case, then you won’t be saying, “I want to do X, Y, and Z, but my family gets in the way.” Instead, you should be saying (at least to yourself), “My family is my first priority, and then X, Y, and Z will be taken care of after that.”
  • Completing my degree is using 100% of my energy right now – If you’re still in school, and you’re completing your degree, then maybe you should wait until you’ve completed your education before moving on to your next big thing. Just beware of elongating the period of time it takes for you to get your degree. Prolonging the time it takes for you to complete a goal may be a sign of fear or anxiety about your next steps. Also be sure you’re doing everything you can to set yourself up for your next goal (you don’t want to miss the portfolio-building opportunities in school that would majorly help you out later on).

It’s important to know the difference between your reasons and excuses. Reasons are based on your priorities, where as excuses are covering up something you know you should be doing. In this new year, especially when you’re making your New Year’s Resolutions (or starting to fulfill them) you should analyze your reasons/excuses for doing or not doing something and decide whether or not you want to overcome them. Almost all excuses can be overcome, but it is our burden as individuals to either accept or break them.

The next time you say to someone else or to yourself, “I would love to do this, but…” remember that the “but” is in your hands to eliminate.

What’s your excuse? Why aren’t you achieving X, Y, Z? Is your dream enough of a priority to break down your excuses and go for it?