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“Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.”
John Wooden

“Excuses are merely nails used to build a house of failure.”
Habeeb Akande

Excuses. They suck. They don’t help do anything but still everyone makes them. Here are a list of some common excuses:

It’s too cold
I’m tired
It’s too hard
There’s not enough time
It’s not the right time
I’m afraid
I’ll do it later
I’m too busy
I’m too old, fat, slow (any genetic or age excuse)
It’s boring
It hurts

Obviously, there are more excuses than this. They’re endless! One of my favorite is blaming anything on the combination of the sun in my eyes, a cross breeze, a drizzle, and the rotation of the earth (my friend Hector and I usually do this when one of us loses to each other in video games or sports).

So people make excuses. I do, you do. I’ve yet to meet someone who never makes an excuse. But what is an excuse really?

I define an excuse as a poor reason not to pursue something meaningful but difficult.

Excuses are choices. Excuses are choices to do one (usually easier) thing over another (usually harder). For example, take the excuse “I’m too busy/there’s not enough time.” It’s often used with fitness. When you say that you are too busy or you don’t have enough time, it really means that you are choosing certain activities over working out. You are choosing to work, sleep, eat, watch tv, do laundry, or any other activity over working out. Yes, you may be busy. But you chose your job and your lifestyle. You chose to watch the Bachelor or play Black Ops II. I’m not saying your choice was wrong or right, but you made a choice.

You will always find a way to do what matters to you. If getting fit matters most to you, you will wake up earlier, go on your lunch break, or cut out tv. If video games matter most to you, you will come home from work, pop in a frozen dinner, and game all night. If you want to paint, you are going to find a way to paint.

What people really like is the idea. They like the idea of being fit, of being successful, of being rich. But they don’t really want it. They don’t want to put in the hard work. They would rather be comfortable or hang out. That’s ok. That’s their choice. They are choosing to be comfortable over getting in shape or becoming successful. The problem is that they use excuses to explain why they don’t do something, when they are actually making choices.

Anything worthwhile will not be easy. But they are worth it (see, the word is inherent!). You always feel better when you push through. Every time I go to the gym and work out, I always am glad that I made the effort. I never regret going to the gym instead of sitting at home and watching TV. On the contrary, if I do skip working out and proceed to sit on my butt at home, I feel bad. I feel lazy and wish I would have got off my butt.

Decide what you want and go for it. Ask yourself how bad do you want it. If you want it, you won’t make excuses and find a way to make it happen. If you don’t, you will make excuses.

My junior year of college, I wanted to do a triathlon. I couldn’t really run long distance and my swimming was (and still is) beyond mediocre. But I made a commitment to doing the triathlon. For several months, I ran, biked, and swam every week, doing at least one activity every day. I researched how to improve my times. I sought out friends to teach me how to swim better. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t quick. I had to sacrifice time with friends and video games. I got up on Saturdays when all I wanted to do was sleep in. But over time I got better. My conditioning improved, I ran faster, biked harder, and floundered in the water slowly but surely. And most importantly, I completed my triathlon. It was an amazing feeling that made all my hard work worth it.

Your excuses suck. You aren’t making excuses, you are making choices. I know that it’s something I need to improve on and continue to do so each day. As Dave Del Dotto said, “No one ever excused his way to success.” So quit making excuses, take responsibility,  and just do it.

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Do you have a friend (or a significant other) who constantly makes excuses? Share this article with them to help them stop making excuses and start doing. You might be saving them.

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Images courtesy of Krissy.Venosdale and youthareawesome.com

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