“The truth, as I see it, is that everything you think, say, and do is a choice — and you don’t need to think, speak, or act as you’ve done for your entire life. When you abandon making choices, you enter the vast world of excuses.” ~ Wayne W. Dyer, Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits
Making Progress Or Making Excuses
Are you making progress toward your BIG goal or are you making excuses? When you get down to the basics, this is a fundamental choice you and I must make. As my friend Robert says, “There is no such word as gress. You either progress or you regress.”
In a sense, though, excuses can be helpful. You can turn your excuses into the first small action steps that start you progressing toward your goal. Let’s take a look at how this works.
Many of us make excuses when it comes time to do the work that must be done in order to achieve our goals. The key is to identify the excuses and then transform them into tasks. Let’s look at an example.
Too Busy To Write?
Linda wanted to write a book, a memoir of her grandfather. She set a goal to write 30 minutes every morning, 5 days each week. After 6 weeks, she had written exactly 3 days. Why? These were her reasons.
- She had a box of her grandfather’s letters, newspaper clippings, pictures and other memorabilia that she needed to sort through.
- She needed to help her husband and children get out the door to work and to school in the mornings.
- She had to walk the dog every morning.
Turn Excuses Into Actions
Through coaching, Linda stepped back to reexamine her goal. How meaningful was it to her? Was it really something she wanted enough to make some changes in her routine? Linda stated that she really wanted to do this, but had trouble getting to it each day. She realized she was putting other activities ahead of her goal.
She examined the reasons she gave for not writing each day. Then, she developed a plan for each one that allowed her to remove the excuse and replace it with an action.
- She began going through her grandfather’s memorabilia, using what she found to create a rough timeline for her book.
- She recruited her family to help get things ready for the next morning. They all pitched in after dinner to pack lunches, turning the chore into a fun family time. At bedtime, Linda helped her children lay out their clothes for the next day before they went to bed.
- She got up 1/2 hour early to walk the dog. She used that quiet time to reflect on and plan what she would write about that day.
After 2 weeks, Linda and her family had a new routine and she had a great start on her memoir of her grandfather.
Know Your Priorities
Are there things keeping you from achieving your BIG goal? What are your reasons? You can begin by calling them by their correct name . . . excuses. Then reassess your priorities. If your goal truly is a BIG goal, one that excites you and tugs at you, consider what is standing in your way and what that says about your priorities. Are you sacrificing your goal to lesser activities? What do you want to do about that?
Now, look at each reason and turn it around, making it into an action step that puts you back on the path toward your BIG goal. Transform your excuses — which are demotivating and demoralizing — into actions — which are empowering. That is Excelerating!
Defining and living your Valid Values is one step in creating your Excelerated Life, a life of well-being, meaning, and purpose.