Looking at truth squarely in the eye has got to be one of the hardest things to do. For some us, it is preferable to make excuses for the failures and problems that crop up in our lives rather than take ownership. Making excuses is an easy way to take the blame off yourself and shift the blame to an uncontrollable aspect of life, to relieve yourself of responsibility and accountability. The more complicated your lifestyle the greater the excuses you are likely to make. However there are ways in which the habit of making excuses can be eliminated or greatly reduced.
Identify the reason(s) why you make excuses: Generally, people who make excuses just for the sake of making them are small in number. The majority of people make excuses for a deeper reason that they mask or are unaware of. Identification of the real reason behind excuses is important since the real causes rather than the symptoms need to be addressed. Excuses being made usually require a closer investigation to reveal what are the reasons behind them or why they are being made. Your making an excuse that you have no time to visit your mother might not be entirely true. You may be scared of your mother telling you off for not spending enough time with her or visiting her enough.
Never start your conversations with certain excuse-making words and phrases: But…, I could if…, I can’t because…, let me explain why I can’t …, I don’t have enough…, and I promise I will but…. These are key examples of excuse-making words and phrases which should be avoided if you want to kick the habit of making excuses. Words and phrases such as those given above create confusion and ambiguity and undermine the various commitments you are expected to keep and help open the door for excuses. In short, using words and phrases provided above gives you the ultimate license to make excuses on a regular basis. Avoid saying things like ‘but mother I have so much office work to do and barely get time to sleep‘. You mother is most likely to see through this and other similar excuses.
Avoid people who make excuses: It is a natural to spend time with family members friends and acquaintances who are similar in nature to you. It is also understandable that by spending time with family, friends and acquaintances you may pick up on some of their good and bad habits. If you are already in the habit of making excuses then spending time with other people who make excuses may exacerbate your own habit. In order to kick the unattractive habit of making excuses it would be a good idea to find some positive, honest and to the point people you can hang out with. So, perhaps, you should not hang out with other people who make excuses about visiting their mother.
Break the excuse into a series of smaller problems to solve: Making excuses is problematic; however, breaking down the excuse into a series of small solvable problems and dealing with them is a practical approach. Smaller issues dealt with one by one can be used to deal with the excuse making habit. You can break the excuse into into a number of steps – Step 1: recognize issues where you make an excuse (the thought of visiting your mother might make you make an excuse); Step 2: recognize when you will make an excuse (you make this excuse when your mother phones you); Step 3: recognize how you go about making an excuse (you make an excuse related to work matters); and Step 4: identify what you do after making an excuse (you feel guilty and promise to make it up to your mother). Then you deal with each of these steps by thinking about how you can avoid them.
Channeling your fears: The fear of doing any activity or task for which excuses are made should be overcome to stop the excuses coming thick and fast. By facing and overcoming fears one does not need to make excuses as fears are no longer being propped up by making excuses. The solution lies within in channeling the fears and doing the activity or tasks for why excuses are made. For example, one way to deal with the fear of visiting your mother is by actually visiting her and realizing that it’s not all that bad. Plus if you visit her she may reduce her complaints of you not visiting.
Time for introspection and self-reflection: Introspection and self-reflection are good approaches for identifying the reasons that encourage people to make excuses. No one knows a person better than themselves which is why through introspection an individual may be able to understand why they do something again and again. If an individual is able to spend time looking at themselves and why they do certain things in a certain way, they can rid themselves of making excuses. Perhaps, you make an excuse about not visiting your mother as you feel guilty about not giving her time and are unable to answer her complaints fairly. Perhaps you are a non-argumentative type of person and would not like to hear the same argument every time you visit your mother.
Think outside the box: Sometimes tried and tested methods are unable to identify a solution and this can cause a lot of frustration and disdain. One can get tangled in a viscous cycle by trying the same thing again and again and deriving no result. The intuitive approach to this situation is to try something different and this requires the person to adopt a creative approach. If you have tried to stop making on your own then perhaps its time to enlist the help of your family and close friends – if that doesn’t help then perhaps some sessions with a psychologist.
Do not procrastinate: You have probably heard of the saying: an empty mind is a devil’s workshop. A lazy disposition and the habit of procrastination with this state of mind will worsen the person as they will make more excuses. Hence, it is essential that he or she gets engaged in a constructive task or action.
Learn to recognize when you are making an excuse: A person isn’t always making or intending to make excuses. At times people have valid reasons to refuse to do something or avoid it. Therefore, it is important that one is able to distinguish as to when a valid reason for not doing something is made and when an unnecessary excuse is made. Sometimes you actually will be busy and will not be able to visit your mother. It is important to recognize in those instances that you are not making an excuse.
Making unnecessary excuses is a waste of our precious time. It has a negative impact on our life. Therefore, it is important that a person becomes mentally cognizant when his mind is unnecessarily encouraging him to make excuses so that he can take remedial actions.