Do you ever find yourself making excuses? Even for the small things that you know would make a positive difference in your life. But you find an excuse anyway.
In this article, I share with you a recent personal experience that saw me making excuses rather than taking responsibility for my results. And I'll tell you how I overcame this to take back the control.
I took a bit of step back (in my mind) in recent weeks in relation to my health goal. I’m working with a coach who specialises in this area, and after not achieving the results I wanted, she flat out asked me,
“Beck, are you at Cause or Effect right now?”
It was like a slap in the face. A good one. It was exactly what I needed to hear. Because I was living in Effect.
What does that mean? The concept of Cause and Effect suggests that for any Cause, there is a specific effect or result that occurs.
Those who choose to live at the Effect side of the equation are typified by telling you that life is happening to them. They complain a lot about how unfortunate they are or how people do things to them and it’s not their fault. Or that they simply don’t have control over a situation. It could be their upbringing or the country where they were born or the fact that their boss doesn’t pay them enough. They will tend to cast blame on others, the economy, global warming, their ex. They have no control over these things or people; therefore they have no control over their life.
On the other hand, those who live on the Cause side of the equation act as if they’re responsible for the outcomes in their lives. These people take responsibly for the results they get in their life. If something isn’t going the way they want it to, they take action to change the outcome. Think, Richard Branson, Anthony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Nelson Mandela and the Mother Theresa. Each are great examples of people at the Cause End of the Equation.
Each of these people chose to take a path which meant they were responsible for their actions. They lived at Cause and as a result they achieved or are still achieving great things.
Those who live at Cause get Results and those who live in Effect create Reasons for not getting results – get the picture?
When people don’t succeed and justify to themselves why they didn’t make it, they must be aware that this is a form of self-deceit. To justify is to give reasons and so often stifles growth and results.
I’ve wanted to change my morning routine for some time, along with the way I eat. I never really classed myself as a ‘morning person’, despite loving being outside in the morning. Getting up later was affecting my day in several ways, including how I felt about myself, but I would find excuses around why I wasn’t getting up earlier.
This led to more excuses about why I wasn’t completing my morning routine. Which led to excuses about why I didn’t find the time to shop regularly, stop for meals, eat nutritious food at the right time (for me), and so forth.
I’m sure you can see where this was leading… I was giving my coach ‘reasons’ as to why I hadn’t achieved the results I had set out to achieve. I was on the Effect side of the scale.
Sure, there are legitimate reasons why we don’t do things. For example, during an interview with Lisa Bilyeu on Podcast, On Purpose with Jay Shetty (highly recommended listening!), Lisa says “Sometimes, excuses are real.” She gave an example of her dream and goal to make movies.
Lisa and her husband made an agreement when they were married that he would go to work for one year to make the money while Lisa stayed home to run the house,
so that later, they had the money to make movies together. This turned into two years, then three, and so on. As time went on, Lisa felt herself losing her dream and goal of making movies.
Lisa’s reason for not starting was “We still don’t have the money to make movies.” After all, her vision was a $100 million film budget!
But when she drilled down, Lisa realised this was an excuse, not a reason, “Because I could make a short 2-minute film, shot on my iPhone, that costs nothing.”
It may not have been her original plan, but it would be a start. And it would be achieving a goal.
So, how do we determine if it’s a reason or an excuse? We need to look at our original goal. In Lisa’s case, it was “to make movies.”
Lisa asked herself, “What are the reasons I haven’t yet made a movie?” The answer was, “I don’t have enough money.” Was that a reason or an excuse?
It was an excuse.
In my case, my goal is to become a healthier, fitter and stronger version of my current self.
Some of the things I need to do to achieve this goal are:
Get up at 7am
Complete my morning routine (this includes hypnotherapy and/or meditation), walking my dogs, preparing, and eating a nutritious breakfast, showering/dressing and completing my intentions for the day, by 10am.
Eat a snack at 10.30am and 3.30pm (I currently get low blood sugar, so topping up at these times helps to avoid that crash)
Stop for lunch between 12-2pm and eat a nutritious lunch
Stop to prepare and eat a nutritious dinner
Include some form of movement. I.e., HIIT class, bike ride or Yoga class
Plan a weekly menu, shop for the food and prepare in advance
When I didn’t get up at 7am, I was further away from achieving my goal. I was choosing to remain comfortable, rather than doing everything I could to achieve my goal.
When I didn’t schedule a lunch break between appointments and ate late in the day, if at all, I wasn’t working toward my goal.
When I “didn’t have the time” to go to Yoga because I was still working, I wasn’t working toward my goal.
Why didn’t I just get up at 7am?
Because I LOVE to sleep!
Because I love to stay in bed in the morning to snuggle with my dogs.
Because I was tired from working late the night before.
Because I work for myself, and I don’t really HAVE to get up at that time.
Because I didn’t FEEL like it.
I made excuse after excuse after excuse. I was living at Effect.
Hearing this from my coach was the best thing for me. It was a wake-up call.
If I want to achieve my goal of becoming a fitter, healthier, stronger version of myself, I must make changes.
I must stop letting my feelings guide me. I must embrace the initial discomfort to achieve the result I want.
While we may find ourselves feeling uncomfortable to begin with, sometimes we must simply decide what’s most important to us and JUST DO IT.
With the help of my coach, I created a plan and broke it down, step-by-step:
I visualised my goal; how I look, what I hear (internally and externally), and how I feel when I achieve the goal
I drafted my daily schedule, including morning and evening routine
I added all the important components to my calendar
I set an alarm for the morning, and queued some happy music for after the alarm to make the transition easier
I set an alarm for snack times so I wouldn’t forget
I created a space that I love for my meditation practice
I downloaded the hypnotherapy recordings onto my phone, so they are easy to find
I scheduled weekly visits to the market for shopping and organised to go with my mum (added accountability)
I scheduled food prep time on the weekend
I emailed all of the above to my coach (again, accountability)
Most importantly, I made a promise to myself that I would do it. No more excuses. And I’ve stuck to it.
It’s early days, and I feel so good for having done it. The first morning was a little tough, even the second morning when it was raining and cold. But the satisfaction I got from sticking to my promise, far outweighed the few minutes of discomfort I felt.
So, is there something that you’ve been wanting to do for a while, but you haven’t done yet?
Are you clear on your goal?
What’s holding you back from doing it?
When you break it down, is it a reason or an excuse?
What tools have you used in the past to support you in getting things done or breaking habits? Perhaps it’s time to revisit them.
It’s ok to take small steps. And it’s ok to ask for help. And if there is a legitimate reason, that’s ok.
If you’re tired of not achieving your goals, whether it’s as simple as getting out of bed earlier or making a $100 million movie, start living at Cause.
Take responsibility for getting the results you want.
Your future self will thank you for it.
- Rebekah King
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