Excuses Give Us Permission to Fail

1SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/5/2011 7:00 AM   :  160 comments   :  21,743 Views

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"If a man really wants something he will find a way, if he doesn't he will find an excuse." Stephen Dolley, Jr.

The above quote was one of the first inspirational quotes I read when I joined SparkPeople over five years ago. It made such an impact on my life that I began to look at quotes or mantras, as some people like to call them, as a blueprint for changing my life.

For me, excuses allowed me not to have to take responsibility for the events in my life, whether that was eating well, making time for exercise or even organizing my home. After all I had so many more important things to take care, therefore excuses became my way of coping--in other words, it wasn't my fault. How could I exercise when I had work or family obligations to take care? How could I eat healthy when I didn't have time to plan and shop? How could I possibly get my finances under control when I just didn't have the time? And the list could go on and on.

When I read the quote from Stephen Dolley, Jr. it was an AHA moment for me. It made me realize that I alone was responsible for everything that happened in my life. I could no longer blame bad genetics for my high blood pressure or a 6th grade P.E. teacher who told me I would never be a runner. It was time for me to grow up and face the music as they say. It was time for me to take responsibility and quit blaming fast food restaurants for the bad choices I was making. No one made me drive to Mickey D's to pick up a serving of extra large fries and a Diet Coke except me.

If I was going to get healthy that meant I had to do the work. I could complain until the cows came home or I could step up to the challenge to make me the healthiest me I could be. However, that did mean that I would have to let go of my need for perfection and just strive to do my best every day without associating guilt and shame for my lack of control.

A few years ago I attended a seminar by one of the country's premier Sports Registered Dietitian's, Nancy Clark, and the words she shared made such a profound impact on me when she said, "Just because you had a not so great breakfast or lunch does not mean you can't have a wonderful, healthy dinner. Every meal brings the opportunity for making healthy choices."

That is true for everything we do. We do not need to wait until the first of the week, the first of the month or even the first of the year to embrace the changes we need to make in order to live a healthy lifestyle. Every small change we make that moves us closer to being who we are meant to be is moving us in the direction to be our true authentic self. Excuses take the responsibility away from us and do not allow us to grow and succeed. We all deserve to be a success, but as long as we have and make excuses we will only give ourselves permission to fail.

Do you or have you made excuses for where you are in your life? Do you think excuses gives us permission to fail? What changes have you made in your life to let go of the excuses? What mantras do you live by?


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Comments

  • 160
    I love this! You wouldn't believe how many people ask me what my secret is to losing so much weight, and when I tell them what I do, I see disappointment in their faces. They don't want to hear that I worked hard. All they do is make excuses why they can't do this or that. - 5/28/2011   3:42:37 PM
  • 159
    i love the quote because it so true. excuses equals defeat most of the time. thanks for sharing. - 3/17/2011   4:15:02 AM
  • 158
    This is so relevant to me. I am so good at excuses, exactly the way you have written it. I worked too late to work out. I need to get in to work early, so no time. My daughter/son/husband need me..... the list goes on and on. Until I can break the excuse habit and take care of myself, I'll never reach my goals. - 3/11/2011   10:21:00 PM
  • 157
    I also like this quote and will add it to my favorites. - 3/4/2011   12:42:34 PM
  • 156
    I need to add this to my quotes on my Sparkpage! - 2/20/2011   3:04:44 PM
  • 155
    Wow, what a great article! Truly motivating. - 2/13/2011   10:17:27 AM
  • 154
    This really speaks to my heart...and my head! Great blog. - 2/11/2011   4:38:11 PM
  • 153
    Love this and passed it on to my team!
    Here is a quote that I also love
    "When you get a flat tire, you pull over and fix it- you don't poke holes in the other three"... Eat a bad breakfast? Recover and move on. Don't sabotage the rest of your day or even your week or month because of it. - 2/10/2011   11:05:25 AM
  • VICENTE1935
    152
    great advise. I will follow it to get back in track. thanks. - 2/10/2011   10:39:27 AM
  • 151
    Thank you so much for the blog. I could say I am "just starting out" but weight loss has been a life long battle for me....I am really enjoying this site and the wonderful, inspirational, motivational and tell it like it really is blogs such as this!! - 2/10/2011   7:46:44 AM
  • 150
    My favorite is "Live a life with no regrets" My mom examplifies this in her day to day life and I aim also live my life so that when I look back (or face Jesus which happens first) I willno regret the choices I have made - 2/9/2011   11:30:38 PM
  • 149
    I needed to read this today! I don't think I make excuses, but oooh i certainly do all the time... One good choice at at time... Thanks!! - 2/9/2011   6:40:28 PM
  • FITMELMO
    148
    Excellent post. I completely agree that it is much easier to find an excuse than to do the work, so we give ourselves permission to fail by following the path of least resistance. But I am committed to moving beyond the problems and live in the solutions. - 2/9/2011   1:24:55 PM
  • NEWYORKWM
    147
    On this very, very cold day - I needed this and love it! I have gym bag packed and after work I will brave the winds and DO MY WORK OUT! THANK! - 2/9/2011   8:43:21 AM
  • 146
    There's an old saying about letting a "reason" become an "excuse." the trouble is in deciding whether it's a reason or an excuse...or it is for me! - 2/8/2011   2:29:15 PM
  • VALATWYO
    145
    Thanks for the post! Have been struggling with this for sometime. - 2/8/2011   1:26:09 PM
  • 144
    Love this one! Thanks for sharing! - 2/8/2011   1:13:41 PM
  • 143
    I really loved this blog. Thank you so much for sharing--and you are right. I have been making so many excuses while wondering why I have not been getting anywhere with my weight loss or my health goals. Thank you for reminding me. - 2/8/2011   10:56:08 AM
  • 142
    Really Love this one!!! - 2/8/2011   7:41:36 AM
  • 141
    Wonderful article and one that has left me feeling motivated! - 2/7/2011   10:59:13 PM
  • 140
    Awesome blog! It's as if you were talking directly to me. I kind of fell by the wayside these last couple of days, and coming up with 101 excuses as to why. thanks for the kick in the butt. It's just what I needed to get back on track. - 2/7/2011   9:35:10 PM
  • 139
    WOW! So me. Excuses for not changing my bad habits or improving my life. It's time to be a new me. - 2/7/2011   7:36:13 PM
  • 138
    Great article. Exactly in line with my recent "aha" moments. Thank you. - 2/7/2011   7:18:44 PM
  • RAIDERMOM2277
    137
    No, I don't think excuses give us permission to fail. We are all in control of what we eat, what exercises we do etc but there are outside situations that we can not control. - 2/7/2011   4:43:03 PM
  • 136
    TY Coach Nancy, this says it so well. If only people would stop blaming others for they do. Think of ALL the lawyers who would be out of a JOB? Hmmmm !

    I AM responsible for what *I* eat, DO and SAY. - 2/7/2011   3:58:45 PM
  • 135
    Thanks for the quote! I will remind myself of it the next time my brain is making excuses for not wanting to go to the gym to workout! - 2/7/2011   3:54:14 PM
  • 134
    Great quote! My daily reminder is a bracelet with the quote "Dreams become reality one choice at a time." (anon) - 2/7/2011   3:15:26 PM
  • 133
    Great blog, Nancy! My 'mantra,' if you want to call it that, is this: the choice is mine to make. For some reason, that sparked an AHA moment for me; realizing that in almost every situation, I have a choice to make, I am not a 'victim' of my circumstances, empowered me to start making changes in my life. I'm now down 70 pounds and doing things I never dreamed I'd be able to do like running. - 2/7/2011   12:02:59 PM
  • CHICAPOWER
    132
    Just what I needed Nancy :) Thanks !!!! ~ Star ~ - 2/7/2011   10:41:19 AM
  • 131
    I've said it before and I'll say it again - the timeliness of this blog is uncanny. One of the things I love most about sparkpeople is that it provides me what I need at the exact moment that I need it - I have been slipping back into old habits lately. And making excuses has been a big part of that - I don't have the time, the energy to plan or to organize. And I reap the results of those choices. Thanks for putting into clear words what's been swirling in my head for days! - 2/7/2011   8:49:16 AM
  • 130
    Absolutely love your blogs Nancy :) - 2/7/2011   8:46:49 AM
  • 129
    Good article, a keeper to remind myself. - 2/7/2011   8:33:16 AM
  • 128
    Well said, Coach Nancy! One thing I do to make myself aware of the excuses I am making is to count my "buts." As in: I want work out, BUT.... I need to eat better, BUT... It's amazing how much our "buts" get in the way of the life we want for ourselves. - 2/7/2011   7:56:09 AM
  • EAC_2007
    127
    I couldn't have said it better myself! :) - 2/7/2011   1:53:04 AM
  • 126
    love the quote. thanks. - 2/6/2011   11:50:51 PM
  • 125
    We all are where we are at any point in our life. Does it matter how we got there? Not really, because it doesn't change where we are. Excuses usually cause the person making them to look foolish since they rarely are believable even to the person making them. We all do need "permission" not to be perfect, which is to allow ourselves to be human. We owe it to ourselves to be honest with ourselves with respect to what we truly desire and to form our goals accordingly. It is nearly impossible to succeed at doing something we don't truly want in order to please someone else. I have found it so much easier to succeed when my goal is something I really want for myself. By keeping my focus on my goal, it becomes easier to deal with setbacks and stay the course. The goal is what is important, not how many mistakes I made getting there. The only time I fail is when I stop trying to reach my goal. A former colleague of mine once paid me a very high complement when he told me I "have the tenacity of a pit bull". This is my mantra--never give up. - 2/6/2011   11:26:53 PM
  • 124
    Thanks well said... the same determination to not let a set-back define the next step in my path helped me to quit smoking 20+ years ago, each day is a new day.

    Thanks for sharing! - 2/6/2011   9:25:55 PM
  • 123
    That quote was one of the best quotes I have ever read! I'm going to post it in my office on Monday morning. Thanks for reminding me not to make excuses! - 2/6/2011   9:00:32 PM
  • 122
    We all make excuses at times, but we certainly shouldn't make a habit of it. I love FaceFact's quotes, ahh, so true! - 2/6/2011   7:54:53 PM
  • 121
    The hardest thing in life to do is make yourself do what you want to do
    and
    to keep yourself from doing those things you don't want to do. - 2/6/2011   7:39:03 PM
  • GAARAMA
    120
    Excuses are easier to make then just doing it. Yes I am guilty,it takes a lot of self talk on my part to stop using I can't,I will try, I don't have time,maybe tomorrow.
    Great article thank you. - 2/6/2011   7:35:45 PM
  • 119
    Gosh I'm perverse, but tonight I feel it's ok to have permissions to fail, but to pick one's self back up again. At lease I give others permission to not be perfect... - 2/6/2011   6:25:05 PM
  • DISCIPLINE_DOES
    118
    Thanks so much for this! It's SO true! My mantra is "One step at a time". As long as I'm taking that one step, I'm at least getting somewhere, no matter how slow I may be going! Thanks again for sharing!!! - 2/6/2011   5:51:53 PM
  • DORISJ8
    117
    This blog relates to my life on many levels. Enjoyed it greatly. - 2/6/2011   5:26:08 PM
  • 116
    Good blog......I am guilty of making excuses as well. - 2/6/2011   4:55:20 PM
  • JESSICARUTLEDGE
    115
    Excellent post! Definitely something I needed to read! - 2/6/2011   4:33:37 PM
  • 114
    Thanks. That quote is going up on my fridge. :) - 2/6/2011   3:46:39 PM
  • 113
    This reminds me of one of my favorite mantras -- If it is to be it is up to me. - 2/6/2011   3:42:14 PM
  • GERRIT2
    112
    My mom used to say "if you want to beat a dog, you'll find a stick". We all need to take responsibility for the things we do and those we don't do. You Really CAN do anything you set your mind to. Thanks for this post reminding us of that. - 2/6/2011   2:30:21 PM
  • 111
    Favorite mantras.
    "No Excuses."
    "Dieting and exercise is hard, being fat is hard; choose your hard."
    "Eat less, move more."
    "I guard my weightloss like a newborn." - 2/6/2011   2:25:05 PM

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