When you have a problem, and it can be any sort of problem down to something as simple as not exercising even though you need to. It’s much easier to make excuses as to why you can’t than to actually, y’know, do something about it. I think we all do it, because I mean nobody’s perfect and everyone can be a little bit lazy sometimes, especially when the thing you have to do is perceived as difficult (even if it’s not). Doing nothing is always easier than doing something, that’s kind of just how it is.
I personally make excuses for my alcoholism all the time. And smoking. And not exercising. And not going out and meeting people. The type of excuses I’m talking about are the ones we hold as “reasons” why we “can’t” do something. For example, I “can’t” quit smoking because I like it too much when I’m drinking. I “can’t” go out and meet people because I don’t like meeting people in bars and that’s the only place you can do it. I “can’t” stop listening to Taylor Swift every day because if I do she might die. Of course those are bullshit excuses, not reasons at all, but you convince yourself otherwise – it’s not that you don’t want to do the thing you’re thinking about, you just “can’t”, so you don’t.
Now, I don’t claim to have a catch-all answer to this problem, but there are a couple of things you can try. One idea is to try to catch yourself when you tell yourself that you “can’t” do something. Actively thinking about what’s holding you back can sometimes be enough to make you go “Hang on, what’s going on here?” and can give you what you need to at least start the process toward solving the problem.
It’s really easy to fall into the trap though. The excuses we make for ourselves really do sort of present themselves as concrete reasons why something is just impossible. And we trick ourselves into not thinking about it too much so that we don’t realise that it’s actually quite the opposite. Sometimes there are real reasons for things of course, you just need to be able to tell the difference.
Something I make excuses for all the time is my job. I have been working in a kitchen, mainly as a kitchen hand, for just over three years. It’s hardly the most stimulating job in the world as it doesn’t involve anything a stupid five-year-old with brain damage couldn’t do. But I like the people I work with, and I tell myself that that’s enough; that that justifies it. I tell myself I like my job, that it’s easy and I get paid okay. But when I really look at it, my job isn’t really any fun at all most of the time and if I think about what that means to say I get paid okay, I really have to ask myself… compared to what? If I’m honest, I get paid rubbish. I get excited when my pay is over $350 in any given week, to give you an idea of just how rubbish it is. But, that’s all my job is worth. That’s all I’m worth while I’m in it. And yet here I am, nearly three and a half years after I first started there, still doing it. Because making excuses is easier.
I don’t have a clear plan set out for myself yet in terms of what I’m going to do about the excuses I make, but I think it’s an important step that I’ve taken in recognising that I do it. If you want to stop making excuses, I think it’s important to look at yourself and figure out which things you’re making excuses for. You might find that there are more things than you think, I know I did.