Excuse Addiction

career goals skills Feb 11, 2021

It happens slowly, over time. You may be unaware it's even happening. It started out as fun, an easy way to deal with something hard but has now turned into something you are unable to stop on your own. You need help, an intervention. You're addicted to your excuses.

This addiction may manifest itself as excuses that you use with others - externalized excuses. Or those that remain in your own mind - internalized excuses. While externalized excuses can negatively impact your relationships with others, internalized excuses can often lead to damaging long-term effects in your mental health and well-being. Regardless of whether they're external or internal, there are steps you can take to overcome your excuse addiction.

Although the main concern here is more about professional-life excuses, some of this may apply to excuses in your personal life too.

Let's first reflect on some of the underlying causes of your addiction to making excuses at work.

  1. Fear
    One of the most common causes of excuse addiction is fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of failure or making a mistake, fear of being exposed and feeling vulnerable.
  2. Lack of Goals
    What are your daily goals? Short-term goals? Long-term? Most of us have at least one goal in our lives no matter how big or small. Are you working toward something?
  3. Procrastination
    Laziness and procrastination can be two of the biggest contributors to your excuse addiction.
  4. Comparison
    We can all fall prey to comparing ourself to others. This habit can quickly turn into self-doubt. When we live and work with self-doubt we often ease that pain with a heavy dose of excuses.

If you want to kick your addiction, the most impactful thing you can do is to work at getting better at what it is you do - your work, your job, your desired career.

  1. Decide what it is you are good at or want to be good at once and for all. If you drift aimlessly for too long on the sea of "I'll just do this for now," you may end up drowning in it. Either find a way to enjoy what it is you currently do or do something else. Is your current work, what you want to be doing? If yes, great. If no, what is it you would rather be doing?
  2. Define the steps, as you see them, to getting better at what you do or what you want to do. Make an honest assessment of your skills, write them down. Do you need to learn new skills? If yes, how do you learn them? Who can help you learn them? If no, what is keeping your from getting better?
  3. Take the first step at getting better at what you do or what you want to do. The first step is going to be the hardest. It may not feel like it immediately, but each step after the first gets easier. List the action steps you need to take to get to where you want to go, to do what you want to do.
  4. Pace yourself, take it slow. You've spent a lot of time making excuses, often when you didn't even need to make them. It will take some time to stop using, but the long-term advantages of quitting far outweigh the short-term discomfort. Replace one excuse with one small action today. Tomorrow replace one more excuse with another small action. Rinse and repeat.

The bottom line here is if you are always doing your level best, putting in the work to get better, there is zero reason to make excuses. Your overreliance on excuses will be a hard habit to break, but there is a way out. A better way to work is one step away.

Take control. Make changes. Live excuse free.



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