You could say that a big part of my job description as a coach is to help others see the silly excuses they use to sabotage their lives and to smash them in their heads with those excuses.
I'm on a crusade to help people get rid of their excuses and take their lives to the next level.
This is because I find that one can't get any effective self-improvement work done with themselves until they are rid of their mental blocks. Sometimes, getting rid of those mental road blocks is the only truly important self-improvement work that needs to be done, and it's all downhill from there.
I love to find patterns and put things into little boxes in my head. This has probably aided me in creating a list which I believe reflects the top 5 excuses people use to sabotage their lives. Today, I'm going to share it with you.
1. People Can't Really Change
If this is your starting point, you're in trouble. I believe that many people sabotage their lives simply because they don't really believe they (or any other human being for that matter) can consciously change. They buy too much into that theory that a leopard cannot change its spots.
Of course, I think that although there are limits to how much and how fast we can change, the rest is complete nonsense. The fact that some people don't really change past the age of 15 doesn't mean that people in general can't change. It rather means that many people don't really understand the psychology of change and don't know how to change effectively.
2. My Situation Is Special
I for one find this excuse amusing. We are so arrogant to believe the rules that apply for every other person do not apply for us. When I present a client a tried and tested method to communicate better with others, they will often object that it may work for others, but it won't work for them.
I'll state it plain and simple here: you are not special! If something works for 99% of the people who've applied it, it's highly probable it will work for you as well. Let your guard down and try it before you declare that it doesn't apply in your context.
3. I Had a Bad Childhood
Something I can understand but I don't resonate with is how much emphasis people tend to put on their past, ending up believing that it's an unsurpassable obstacle. They often use a bad childhood as an excuse for having a crappy life and for not doing anything about it.
One of the most important discoveries in cognitive psychology is that even though many of our thinking, feeling and behavior patterns have been created in the past, sometimes in our childhood, they have a life of their own in the here and now. It is in the here and now that we can act upon them and we can influence them.
4. I'm Too Old/ Too Young
There's a whole range of excuses we use related to sex, race, nationality and age. The ones related to age, I find to be the most devious.
I used to think that my young age was preventing people from trusting me as a coach and thus, preventing me from getting more clients. Luckily for me, I soon realized that although some people did have a bias against young coaches, it was mostly in my head. So, as soon as I stopped treating my young age as a drawback, so did other people.
There are certainly age prejudices, and your age can present a challenge. However, keep in mind that age is a surmountable obstacle and we can maneuver around it. This is why, in my view, it provides a really superficial excuse for not doing or not getting something.
5. I Will Start Tomorrow
Sure! And following that same logic, tomorrow you will see no reason why you can't say the exact same thing. After all, what's a day plus or minus, right? Do this long enough and you eventually realize that you've postponed things so much they don't seem worth doing anymore.
One client I had managed to postpone changing her lifestyle habits and loosing some weight until one day, she realized that she was in her 40s, and her weight didn't matter to her that much anymore. No problem with that, except she had spent more than two decades feeling sorry for herself because she was plump.
Take a deep breath and take a good look at the five excuses above. Have you been using any of them lately? Can you see how they sabotage you way more than they support you?
Living an extraordinary life, having an extraordinary career or extraordinary relationships, these things do not happen by making excuses. They happen by accepting that what it is is what it is, asking yourself how you can take it to the next level, and then acting on the answer.