Do you have a goal you've been working on, but you've haven't made progress in a while? Or maybe it's not a goal, but you feel stuck where you are in life.
Over the past couple of years, as I work with coaching clients, I've discovered that many times, excuses are what is holding my client back.
For example, several months ago, I met with a client and she shared a goal she'd been working on for years. But every time the opportunity became available to move forward, something tragic always happened, or so she made it sound that way.
As I listened, I realized, one of two things, either she didn't want her dream as bad as she said she did or two, she created excuses so if she did take a step forward, she didn't have to face the possibility of rejection.
The latter is quite common.
We don't even show up, for if we show up, we may fail. But if we don't show up, there is no disappointment and we can, in fact, continue to lie to ourselves, about why we aren't progressing like we think we should.
One powerful way to move forward is to be brave enough to step over an excuse. But how do we do that?
First, we must be real with ourselves. I'll give you an example. I'm training for a Disney running challenge. In February, in three days, I'll compete in a 5k, 10k and marathon. If I want to enjoy the races, I need to train.
I have a training schedule printed and so far, I have been sticking to the plan. But on Saturday, excuses started to bubble up to the surface, to skip my training run.
Excuse #1: I spent longer at the post office than I intended. My run would have to be shortened from thirty to twenty minutes. Since I can't run the amount of time I wanted to run, I should just go home. EXCUSE!
Identifying the excuse is the half the battle. If we don't recognize when we are making excuses, we can't move forward on our goal or becoming unstuck. Ask yourself, is what I'm telling myself an excuse or is it a fact?
I knew questioning the time was an excuse. Twenty minutes is better than zero minutes. Move forward.
I drove to the park and when I got out of the car, the wind sliced through my long-sleeved shirt. It's not that cold out here I told myself and I started to run. I didn't even give the wind time to make an internal debate, I just got moving.
But guess what happened? Moving didn't help. As I ran, I pulled up the weather app on my phone and the temperature felt like 37 degrees and the winds were 20 mph. I thought, "I should go back to the car, it's too cold out here." Excuse #2!
Yes, it was cold, and the wind gusted around me, but I was already out on the trail, and I've ran in colder weather. I talked myself into continuing my run. All I had to do was make it another ten minutes. I'd survived the first ten minutes, I could survive the last.
Do you know what happened, it got windier and I just kept plugging along? And I didn't just run twenty minutes, I ran thirty minutes, completed my original workout and when I got home, was still able to stay on the schedule I had planned for the remainder of the day.
Guess how I felt when I returned home? FABULOUS!!!
Guess how I would have felt if I would have gone home after my trip to the post office? Guilty, disappointed, a little overwhelmed that I was off my training schedule, and dinner out wouldn't have been as enjoyable as now I wasn't too concern about the mash potatoes I consumed.
Do you know what else battling through excuses helps use accomplish? Our mindset starts to change, and our confidence grows. You see, the next time it's thirty-seven degrees outside, and not windy, I can tell myself, "Stephanie remember the day you ran thirty minutes, in the same temperature, but the wind was blowing 20 mph? This run will be a walk in the park."
Also, identifying and working through our excuses gets us one step closer to accomplishing our goal or becoming unstuck. The more running workouts I accomplish, the easier running the 5k, 10k, and half marathon are going to be.
What's the excuse you've been using that is stopping you from living the life you were meant to live? Take the power step to move past your excuse and get to tackling the goal you've wanted to pursue.
Inspirational Speaker and Award-Winning Author of "The Giving Challenge: 40 Days to a More Generous Life"