Why It’s Time to Stop Making Excuses for What’s Not Working

UPDATED: April 19, 2020
PUBLISHED: December 8, 2017

I’m too old. I’m too busy. I’m too broke. I don’t know how.

Listen to the excuses of truly successful people and one thing will stand out: They don’t make any. Rather, they own their choices and take full responsibility for the results they create, what they do and what they don’t.

Related: These 3 Excuses Are Preventing You From Finding Happiness

If you really want to do something, then do it. You have to stop lying to yourself about why you haven’t done it already.

Not disciplined/outgoing/experienced/educated/connected/(fill in the blank) enough?
Time to change your story.

Too busy?
Adjust your priorities.

Your friends or family won’t support you?
Find people who will!

Too old or too tired?
These are just excuses.

If you want to do something badly enough, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. It’s as simple as that.

Related: Stop Making Excuses for Who and Where You Are

Let’s face it, excuses are really just masterfully engineered justifications we tell ourselves—and anyone else in earshot—to rationalize our actions or, more often, our inaction. And let’s face it, there’ll always be an abundance of readily available reasons to justify your lot in life and why you’re unable to improve it.

You are busy. You haven’t done it before. You are not as young as you once were or as supported as you’d like to be. It is difficult. And yes, you could fail. You might hurt your pride a bit as well.

But the inconvenient truth of excuses is that the quality of your life is shaped by the quality of your excuses. This may sound harsh, but most of the excuses you’ve been making are simply ways to cover up for the fact that either you really don’t want to do something or you’re really just afraid that if you try, you’ll fail and feel like a loser.

More often than not, our excuses are just lies wrapped up as reasons to avoid the real work of living our best lives. Yet you and I know both know that you are better than that, and you are selling yourself short when you make excuses.

When I started writing my first book, I had no idea how to write a book (much less how to get one published) and had never taken a writing class. I also had four children under the age of 7 and no nanny. But I decided to give myself permission to write an imperfect book. So each afternoon when I could get my kids down for a nap or in front of the TV for an hour, I’d start writing. Four years later, Find Your Courage found its way onto store shelves. It is now published in five languages.

Related: Train the Brave: 10 Ways to Build Your Courage Muscles for Life

Of course, back then, most people would have accepted any excuse I made for not pursuing the tug at my heart to pen a book. Likewise, you will always find well-meaning people to back up your excuses. Even the lousy ones. But they won’t be the trailblazers, change makers and go-getters. No, the people who’ll back your excuses will be the ones who have well-worn excuses themselves to explain their lot in life.

Are you ready to be done with the excuses that aren’t serving you? If not, then are you OK with the price you’re paying for continuing to put off making the change or taking the chance toward whatever tugs at your own heart?

If you’re not sure where to start, I suggest you get out a pen and ask yourself these questions, which come from my latest book Make Your Mark:

  1. What is not working in my life right now or just isn’t as great as I’d like it to be?
  2. What excuses have I been making to justify and explain it?
  3. What’s the price I will pay if I keep trading in these excuses? (Lost opportunity cost, financial cost, relationship cost, physical cost, career cost, etc.)
  4. What is one powerful choice I can make right now that will move me powerfully into action? (e.g., I will set my alarm for 5 a.m. tomorrow and every day thereafter!)

You only get one life, and delayed action exacts an increasing toll the longer you live it. Don’t squander the best years of your life on excuses that keep you living small and safe, and settling for less than the life you are capable of living. Be bigger than your best excuses. What you want most—in all aspects of life—is riding on it.

Related: 15 Motivational Quotes to Stop Making Excuses

Best-selling author and mother of four, Margie Warrell is on a mission to embolden people to live and lead more bravely. Margie’s gained hard-won wisdom on building courage since her childhood in rural Australia. Her insights have also been shaped by her work with trailblazing leaders from Richard Branson to Bill Marriott and organizations from NASA to Google. Founder of Global Courage, host of the Live Brave podcast and advisory board member of Forbes Business School, Margie’s just released her fifth book You’ve Got This! The Life-Changing Power of Trusting Yourself. She’d love to support you at www.margiewarrell.com .