Excuses have a way of getting us out of things we don’t want or are scared to do. They can also hold us back from attaining our goals. They have a way of letting us off the hook without really knowing why we’re trying to get out of it. Here are eight ways to more past excuses and reach your goals.
I’ve said it before. I’m great at planning. I get an idea and I run with it. I have tons of ideas and they motivate me for the future. which is probably why top Strength Finder trait is Futuristic. If you think futuristic sounds to Jetsons-like, then we’re on the same page. Here’s a little bit deeper explanation of futuristic.
“Wouldn’t it be great if . . .”You are the kind of person who loves to peer over the horizon. The future fascinates you. As if it were projected on the wall, you see in detail what the future might hold, and this detailed picture keeps pulling you forward, into tomorrow. While the exact content of the picture will depend on your other strengths and interests—a better prod- uct, a better team, a better life, or a better world—it will always be inspirational to you.You are a dreamer who sees visions of what could be and who cherishes those visions. When the present proves too frustrating and the people around you too pragmatic, you conjure up your visions of the future and they energize you.They can energize others, too. In fact, very often people look to you to describe your visions of the future.They want a picture that can raise their sights and thereby their spirits.You can paint it for them. Practice. Choose your words carefully. Make the picture as vivid as possible. People will want to latch on to the hope you bring. Read more about the Clifton Strength Finder characteristic descriptions
When I think of excuses I think of sports shirt like Under Armour that have those sayings on them:
- Excuses are for people that don’t want it bad enough,
- Winners find a way, losers find an excuse, and
- Excuses will always be there for you, opportunity won’t.
For the record, I don’t know if any of these are UA slogans, but they very well could be. Sometimes I find these sloganed t-shirts a little intense and aggressive, rather than empowering. Which is what I think they are meant to be – empowering and motivating. I guess it depends on whether these kinds of quotes work for you. To some they can be a source of motivation. to others they might seem laughable.
I don’t think people need to stop making excuses entirely. Some excuses can be a symptom of a bigger problem that can’t or shouldn’t be ignored. But I do think excuses are worth taking a look at to see if they’re valid. So here goes.
A few month back I signed up to do the Polar Plunge. If you’re not familiar with it, the Polar Plunge is where they cut a hole into the ice of a frozen lake (yes, lakes freeze completely in Minnesota – you can even drive your car on them) and then people jump into it. You raise money to do it and the proceeds benefit Special Olympics Minnesota. It’s such a wonderful cause.
I don’t know what possessed me to decide I was going to do the Polar Plunge again. I did it three years ago. When I jumped in, I froze. Literally. My body couldn’t move. My three teammates had to help me walk towards the ladder and climb out of the lake. Plus it took a week to finally warm up.
My philosophy is that if I do something once, it’s a bucket list item. If I do it more than once, that’s my thing now. Okay, this is kind of silly. Just because I do something more than once doesn’t mean it has to be my new normal.
Tell others. Once others know, it can put a little pressure on you making it harder to back out. After I signed up for the Polar Plunge I announced it on Facebook so that I could get some donations. It also makes me accountable to following through on the event because I know people will ask me about it.
Make a list of all your concerns, no matter how ridiculous they seem. Then take a closer look at them to see how valid they really are.For me, I was worried I’d get sick. I have an ongoing sinus infection that has dragged on for four years.
I always get a sinus infection and laryngitis from lake water. My voice is finally getting back to normal (ti’s been on and off for months due to allergies) so I was worried I’d set myself back.
I talked this over with my husband to see how deep the water would be. As long as I kept my head above water (physically as well as mentally) I should be ok. At the deepest, he said it would be up to my waist. Realistically, submerging my head shouldn’t have been a concern.
I’m worried my clothes will fall off. Ok, I know this sounds ridiculous but it was a real concern of my. Having lost 50 pounds, most of my clothes have gotten too big for me. My fear was that once my clothes got wet, they would fall right now. Maybe I was picturing that time my sister jumped off the diving board as young kid and her bikini top floated to the surface of the water before she did. However crazy this sounds, I was worried about it. To get past it, I put some thought into what I would wear. All of my swimming suit are super huge right now so that was out of the question. Instead I wore shorts, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt. I tied the draw string in my shorts super tight to prevent any wardrobe malfunctions.
‘This is your cause, not mine’ is one of the things I thought to myself. My husband has a passion for Special Olympics. Law enforcement and Special Olympics partner together not just for the Polar Plunge but also the Torch Run.
Clearly I was grasping at anything I could to get out of plunging into freezing cold water. To think this isn’t my cause is kind of silly. Special Olympics is about empowerment. Everyone should be in favor of that. Doing the Polar Plunge isn’t just supporting Special Olympics, It’s also supporting my husband who works so hard to make this event a success each year for the last nine years.
When I was in high school I volunteered with my church at a group home for kids and young adults with special needs. Every Monday night during the school year we boarded a bus and rode 35+ minutes to meet with our “buddy” (the program was called Buddies). I’ve also volunteered at the Special Olympics with work. And my husband and I have been spectators a the track and field day as well as attended the Distinguished Service Awards last year. So it’s not just his cause.
I already raised the money, so why do I actually have to do the plunge? The point of a fundraiser is to raise the funds. Boom! Done. So why go through the actual plunge part?I think the main reason to actually go through with the plunging part is to show your support for Special Olympics. It’s an excellent way to spread the word about the organization. When people ask why would you jump into a freezing lake in the middle of winter, I can tell them about Special Olympics. It’s surprising how many people don’t know that the proceeds of the Polar Plunge benefit Special Olympics. Trust me, I wouldn’t jump in for any other reason or cause.
Last time my body froze in the water. What if that happens again. Not just in the sense that it was cold, but when I jumped in my body didn’t do anything. Apparently I have no fight or flight. Just freeze. It should be called fight or flight or freeze. I wasn’t panicked,
I have a commitment that I’m not sure I can get out of. A few months ago I was asked to be on a Toastmasters (and you thought I was going to get through a whole post without mentioning TM) nominating committee. Our task is to interview district leaders for next year. It was a two part process. Part one happened in January. I had to miss that because I had just been diagnosed with pneumonia and was ordered to stay home until the antibiotics kicked in. I really wanted to make it to part two.
When I committed to the nominating committee I told them I was doing on the Polar Plunge on March 11. Also, in reality, how many commitments can you really not get out of or at the very least leave a little early? Honestly, there are very few things that you can’t get out of. And since I knew when I got asked to be on the committee that I was planning on doing the plunge, it had precedence. That doesn’t stop me from using Toastmasters as an excuse if I want to get out of plunging.
You’re probably wondering if I went through with the Polar Plunge. I did! After going through all these excuses Friday night, I really felt committed to it Saturday morning. I told my Toastmasters committee that I needed to leave at 11. As luck would have it, we were done well before 11. It’s like a sign that I was meant to do the Polar Plunge.
Because my husband is in charge of logistics for this plunge site, he’s kind of the face of it. So we, alone with coworkers and other spouses, went first. Well, right behind meteorologist Ian Leonard and his daughter. I made my husband hold my hand because I was sure that once I got in the water, my body would lock up and refuse to move. It did move, just really slow.
You had to run out about ten feet, around a set of cones, then back into shore. Right after we had rounded the corner and were coming back towards shore, my right foot hit a low spot in the lake and I fell! The police chief from Edina was nice enough to come help me regain my footing. That ‘never leave a man behind’ thing is real!
Since I’m 0-2 in making it through the Polar Plunge without some kind of incident, I definitely feel like I need to do it again. . Of course, it’s easy to say that now because the event is 360 days away.
Excuses can prevent us from doing things that might actually be good for us. They can keep you from pushing past obstacles and trying new things. If you want to learn more about how excuses can hold us back, here’s a good article on why we make excuses.
How do you deal with excuses?