One of the more ridiculous aspects of human nature is the ability to make excuses. It’s a strange thing, but no matter how much we want to do something, no matter how fiercely we desire to achieve our goals, we will find every reason under the sun to not actually do anything about it. It’s why so many people resolve to lose weight but never do. It’s why people stay in dead-end jobs despite having big dreams about what they want to do with their lives. It’s why most of us can never get our houses clean, and how we end up with late payment charges on our bills. Whenever something needs doing, we just come up with an excuse for why we can’t do it right now. Whenever we find ourselves being held accountable for something we didn’t do, we just come up with an excuse for why we couldn’t get it done. Some of us are better at coming up with excuses than we are at pretty much anything else.
The most common excuse in the world is “I don’t have the time”, despite the fact that most people have hours a day of disposable time that they waste by checking their Facebook account three hundred times or obsessing over the 300th level of Candy Crush. That is far from the only excuse that people come up with on a regular basis, however. For your perusal, here are a few of the most common excuses I hear on a daily basis (many of them from the inside of my own head), and why they’re an enormous pile of BS.
Common Excuse #1: “I just don’t have the time!”
Even though I already mentioned it I’ve gotta go with this one first, since it’s the one people spew on a daily basis. It’s all about time, or rather, the lack thereof. No one has the time to do anything, if this excuse is to be believed. We don’t exercise because we don’t have the time to go to the gym. We don’t feed ourselves properly because we don’t have the time for cooking. We don’t work towards our goals (writing a book, running a marathon, renovating a part of the house, etc) because dammit, we just don’t have the time!
It’s the first excuse that almost everyone will come up with, and as much as we feel like it’s true, it’s complete nonsense most of the time. For one thing, the overwhelming majority of us have time, but we spend it doing stupid things like playing pointless smartphone games or investigating every nook and cranny of Facebook like we’re trying to build a court case against our friends and family. For another thing, a lot of us have no sense of how to multitask. For example, say there’s a TV show that you watch every night. It’s a half hour of time that you can’t use for anything else because dammit, you worked hard all day and you deserve to sit down for 30 minutes and watch your show! That’s fine! No one is saying you can’t watch your show! But why not do some sit-ups, or push-ups, or walk on the treadmill, or practice some yoga poses while you’re watching your show? BAM! You’ve had your guilty pleasure and worked in a half-hour of exercise at the same time!
In our rush rush rush world filled with day jobs and chores and kids and all the stuff that you have to keep up on if you want to be a part of the world, it can feel like you have no time. But in reality, you just have to find those little pockets and opportunities to multitask. If you’re spending an hour a day playing Candy Crush you cannot turn around and complain that you have no time to cook yourself a decent meal. If you spend your evenings watching TV you have no right to say that you can’t find the time to exercise.
Common Excuse #2: “I’m just too tired.”
This one is closely related to “I just don’t have the time” because, again, our world today is very much about the rushing around, so we do tend to feel exhausted a lot of the time, at least emotionally. And I will allow that some people genuinely have medical issues that have them feeling tired day after day (GO SEE A DOCTOR!). Regardless, for most people this is an excuse of the highest order because it’s not fatigue…it’s laziness.
The worst offenders are people who decide to skip their workouts because they just feel too tired. I can speak for this one personally because I’ve done it a number of times. The truth is that most of the time you’re just convincing yourself that you’re tired because you don’t feel like doing anything. The great majority of the time if you just get up off your butt and force yourself to go exercise you’ll find that you actually feel great afterward.
The human mind is an incredible thing, but it lies. It will convince you that you’re too exhausted to do something that you don’t feel like doing, and yet somehow, magically, you’ll be awake half the night watching shows on Netflix or playing video games in the dark. Don’t believe your mind. Unless your body is literally collapsing beneath itself and your eyes are burning with the intensity of a thousand suns, chances are that you’re just being lazy and your brain is eager to give you a good reason to be so.
Common Excuse #3: “It’s just so boring!“
This excuse is most commonly used for people trying to avoid exercise: as in, “but exercising is so boring!” It can also be used in other situations, however. For instance, someone who would rather eat fast food every night than cook something healthy for themselves might complain that cooking is too boring, or someone who requires practice to achieve a goal (learning to play an instrument, perhaps) might complain of the same.
This is just another form of being lazy because for the most part the “boring” factor can be overcome with a little bit of effort. Exercise, for instance, does not have to be boring if you’re willing to do a bit of research to find a method of exercise that you find enjoyable. Cooking doesn’t have to be boring if you’re willing to get a little creative, maybe involve a loved one or make a game out of it. If you really want to achieve something, you’ll find a way to make it a worthwhile event that keeps you interested.
Common Excuse #4: “I can’t afford it.”
Sometimes this is a valid excuse, but only in specific situations, like if want you’re trying to eat better but have been recently unemployed (healthy food is damn expensive and that’s a rant for another day). In most cases, however, this is another situation in which the excuse-maker simply refuses to put in a bit of thought. Someone who is trying to lose weight and get in shape, for instance, may whine that gym memberships are too expensive and there’s no way they can afford it. But who said they had to go to the gym? There are tons of excellent exercises that you can do right from home with little or no equipment. This is more a case of people assuming that the only way to accomplish something is to spend a ton of money. Paying for things makes us feel accountable and as though we’ve already accomplished something just because money has changed hands, but it’s a hollow victory. Save your money and look instead for ways that you can accomplish your goals without spending anything.
Common Excuse #5: “I just have no motivation at all.”
Of all the excuses out there, this one may be the worst because it is effectively saying, “I have these goals, and I really want to achieve them, but I just plain don’t want to do anything and don’t want to have to take any responsibility for not doing anything.” No matter what kind of goal we’re talking about, stating out loud that you have no motivation is the same as stating that you don’t actually care about your goal at all, because if you did that would be motivation enough. I’ve heard this excuse a hundred times, even coming out of my own mouth, and even hearing myself say it is frustrating to say the least. Don’t say that you “have no motivation.” Skip right to the honest truth: “I feel like I should probably [lose some weight/get my book published/do some work around the house/etc] because that’s what other people expect of me, but I don’t actually care enough to actually do it, so I’m just going to sit around and whine like there’s a secret ‘motivation switch’ in the back of my brain that someone flicked off while I wasn’t looking.”
What it all comes down to in the end is that excuses are only just that…excuses. If you really cared about your goals, about getting things done or making changes in your life, you would do it instead of just telling the world around you about all the reasons why you can’t manage. Because, trust me, no one really cares about your excuses. They’re too busy complaining about their own.