One of the most common reasons why people fail to achieve their goals and don’t live up to their full potential is that they let excuses dictate their behavior.
Often, this happens subconsciously. Without even realizing it, most people accept their own excuses and limiting beliefs — pushing them back into a life of mediocrity. Let’s go over five of the most common excuses right now.
Excuse 1: ‘I Don’t Have Enough Time’
Not having enough time is one of the most common excuses used by people to talk themselves out of taking massive action.
Yes, you might have a busy life. However, not having enough time is hardly ever the problem. Instead, the issues are prioritization, time-management, and distractions.
Most people don’t prioritize their goals. Instead, they let lesser important tasks, busywork, or distractions get in the way.
Furthermore, most people are entirely unaware of how much time they waste on mindless entertainment such as Netflix, video games, or social media.
This is not to say you can’t ever do any of these things — I love playing video games — but the problem is that the behavior is often automatic, habitual, and without clear intention.
Therefore, hours and hours are wasted away every single week, of which at least halve could’ve been put to use towards achieving your goals.
Think about it, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Oprah, and Elon Musk all have the same 24 hours in a day as you do. It’s rarely about not having enough time — but it’s almost always about making and protecting time.
Excuse 2: ‘I Don’t Know How’
Not knowing how to achieve your goals is one of the excuses people use to talk themselves out of taking any action. However, it’s completely normal to have no clue how to achieve a goal.
In fact, it’s an indication that you’re working on a meaningful goal that pulls you out of your comfort zone and forces you to become better.
Keep in mind, even the most successful people hardly ever knew how they were going to achieve their goals beforehand. They figured it out on the go by reading books, following mentors, getting coaching — and learning from taking action, experimenting, and making mistakes.
The key is to have a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset. Be willing to learn new things and be open to new strategies and new ways of thinking. It’s all a process.
Besides, don’t let the entire goal overwhelm or intimidate you. Focus on the very next step that you need to take. Focus on the very next problem that needs to be solved.
Step by step, you’ll figure out how to do it. After months or years of following this process, you’ll be amazed by how much you’re capable of.
Excuse 3: ‘I Don’t Think I Can Do It’
‘I can’t do it’ is another common excuse that people themselves. This is not an issue of knowledge (which is the case for #2), but it’s a case of lacking self-confidence.
One of the ways to disarm this excuse is to look at a few people who’ve achieved what you want to achieve.
Instead of putting them on a pedestal and viewing them as extraordinary, see them as a human being — just like you.
If you read about their story, you’ll find out they are humans — just like you — who learned, grew, and adapted.
They also had (and have) their doubts. They also didn’t know how to start. And they also had to overcome obstacles to make it. They are more like you than you might realize.
“Cause I’m only human, just like you. Making my mistakes, oh if you only knew. I don’t think you should believe in me the way you do.” — Beyonce
Take this belief and let it fuel your confidence. If they could get out of rock bottom and go on to achieve these amazing things, you can reach your goals as well.
Excuse 4: ‘ The Time Is Not Right’
Listen, the time is never just right. If you keep on waiting for the right time, you’ll end up in your rocking chair at 80 years old, filled with regret and missed opportunities. And you don’t want that, do you?
As the Chinese proverb goes:
“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
If you want a change in your life, the best time to start is NOW. Even though you don’t feel ready for it. Even though you think the ‘time is not right.’
Every minute you delay is a minute wasted. As dark as it sounds, it’s a minute closer to death. A minute that could have been used to work towards your dream life, build your legacy, and create meaningful work.
“If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything, is ready, we shall never begin. ” — Ivan Turgenev
The moments where you’ll feel absolutely ready for something will be rare. Instead, you’ll feel more and more ready by taking action. Don’t wait for it to happen, but create ‘readiness’ by doing. This sparks momentum, and slowly but surely, you’ll feel more and more ready — but only after already putting in some effort.
Excuse 5: ‘I’m Too Young / I’m Too Old’
Using age as an excuse is one of the most common reasons why people talk themselves out of pursuing a goal. In both cases, your perspective is on the downsides of your age and not on the upsides.
If you’re ‘young,’ use it to your advantage. You’ve got the time, energy, and drive that most older people don’t have. This is very contagious to others. What you lack in experience you make up in hunger, energy, and willingness to learn.
If you’re ‘old,’ use it to your advantage. You’ve got experience, wisdom, and life-lessons that most young people don’t have. Maybe you’ve built a huge network in all these years. Use this your advantage to pursue your goals the smart way.
Whatever your age, it’s never a valid excuse to stop pursuing a goal. Instead, focus on all the unique benefits your age brings to the table.
Now Do It
Remember, change only comes from taking action. Excuses will always be there to stagnate your progress and limit your potential — but it’s up to you whether or not you’ll accept them. You decide.
To Your Personal Growth,
Founder Personal Growth Lab