Hold yourself accountable: Here’s how you can stop making excuses

The more we make excuses, the harder it is to get things done.
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“You can have results or excuses, not both.” – Anonymous

We may not like to admit it but we’ve all made excuses in life. Some of us still try and make excuses from time to time. We say things like, we don’t have time to work out. It costs too much to eat healthy food. Waking up early is not possible. Usually, we make excuses to avoid doing things that we don’t like or because we find stepping out of our comfort zone too difficult. To put it simply, we take the easy way out by making excuses as these explanations make us feel better, even if only for a short time. Think about it, who doesn’t like a little more time to sleep?

What we don’t realise, however, is that it obstructs our growth and keeps us from fulfilling our potential. What’s more, we end up passing opportunities that might take our careers to new heights. We feel lazy and tend to procrastinate instead of actually doing something. Excuses are our way of rationalising our behaviour, even when they are wrong. It is important to understand that the more we make excuses, the harder it is to get things done.

If we don’t control our urge to make excuses, we will soon be too afraid to try new things or too lazy to take a step towards personal growth. It’s a habit that needs to be broken. Wondering how? Here are a few tips that can help you to stop making excuses.

Take responsibility for your mistakes

It’s easier to shift blame or come up with excuses when you make a mistake or fail at something. Most of the time, you call it ‘bad luck’ but it is mostly a task half done or quickly completed. It’s because you weren’t able to and not because other factors were responsible. The harsh truth is you lacked the talent, energy or the necessary skills to complete the job.

When you learn to take responsibility for your mistakes—you take a step towards recognising your shortcomings. This way, you not only work on improving yourself but also feel empowered to take charge of your life.

Pick yourself up and try again

Failures can be devastating. Having put so much effort into something and seeing it not work can trample one’s spirits or zeal. Some may never want to work that hard again and resort to making excuses to get out of new opportunities.

However, this hinders your growth. To stop this self-sabotaging behaviour, you need to learn to pick yourself up and try again. This is what separates winners from losers – they don’t give up. They learn from their failures and move on. In fact, failures allow them to learn more about themselves, of what they are capable of.

Winners learn to push their limits and achieve success in life. So stop making excuses and start getting work done.

Focus on your strengths

Knowing what you are good at and where you struggle gives you a better understanding of how to operate. However, while it’s good to be aware of your weaknesses, focusing on them too much can make you feel disheartened and defeated. This negativity often leads to the habit of making excuses because you fixate on what you can’t do.

To turn this around, focus on your strengths and build on them. Your strengths are abilities you can leverage and improve on. For instance, if you are looking at career options, narrow down on jobs that are based on the things you know you are good at.

When you know what you excel at, you can aim higher.

Stop overthinking

It happens more often than we know – when confronted with tough decisions, you tend to overthink until your fears take over and you end up making excuses to avoid challenges. Procrastination and overthinking delay decision-making and foster poor ones.

A good way to combat it is to stay focused on just doing the activity that you need to complete. By making that activity your top priority, you can stop your mind from wandering off somewhere else.

To stop making excuses, it is essential that you stay calm and not overthink. Motivational speaker Tony Robbins writes in his blog, “to stop making excuses, you must stop overthinking, let go of the past and take massive action.”

Change your habits

Habits make or break most people. The better habits you have, the lesser excuses you’ll need in life. If certain habits such as waking up late in the morning, procrastinating or engaging in negative talks seem to hold you back from your full potential, change them.

Even though you may face hiccups, in the beginning, keep building better habits. Start small. Make changes in your morning routine so that it increases your productivity. Exercise to become healthy. Read books in your free time to gain more knowledge. Eat healthy food to gain more energy. Do whatever you need to do to get rid of the habit of making excuses and living a life of half potential.

Set goals

Passion and dreams keep most of us awake at night in excitement. This is the magic of having goals in life.

When you have goals in life, you don’t waste your time by making excuses. You pursue them wholeheartedly because it gives your life meaning and purpose. It gives you direction. You know where to go and what to do. It allows you to clear out distractions so you can keep your focus on achieving them. You have that willingness to succeed no matter what obstacles you may face in your journey. You are self-motivated and can make decisions without thinking too much.

When you are this determined, you won’t allow excuses to hold you back from finding success in life.

Stop comparing yourself to others

Embrace yourself for who you are and do not waste time comparing yourself to others. If you compare your success to someone else’s, you’ll never get anything accomplished. You’ll be too focused on monitoring that person’s life instead of investing that energy into pursuing your dreams and goals.

Moreover, when you measure your achievements with that of those who have already achieved what they want, you choose to focus on your weaknesses instead of strengths. And lingering over weaknesses will make you feel sorry for yourself.

So cultivate the habit of gratitude. Focus on your strengths and be thankful for the opportunities available to you.

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