Excuses Give Us Permission to Fail

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"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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BONNIE1552 6/8/2021
Great ideas to write down and remember :-) Thanks! Report
GEORGE815 12/3/2020
Thanks Report
LESSOFMOORE 11/24/2020
Well said! Report
NASFKAB 11/14/2020
So very true Report
KOHINOOR2 8/25/2020
Great article! Thank you for sharing! Report
i feel like i've read this before Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report
Great info! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!! Report
Great read. Thank you. Report
Interesting Report
Interesting and useful perspective. Report
Excuses can always be found to not do something. Thank you for sharing! Report
Love it!! We can life control us or US CONTROL LIFE!!

Wanted to send to fb,,,didn't allow it will try on phone

Tried watching on phone also, but it wouldn't either. Phone is a iPhone. Report
So true, thanks for sharing! Report
Thanks; the quote is thought-provoking. Report
thanks Report
Like this. So true Report
I liked this article. Report
Great article Report
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. Report
i love the quote because it so true. excuses equals defeat most of the time. thanks for sharing. Report
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. Report
I also like this quote and will add it to my favorites. Report
I need to add this to my quotes on my Sparkpage! Report
Wow, what a great article! Truly motivating. Report
This really speaks to my heart...and my head! Great blog. Report
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. Report
great advise. I will follow it to get back in track. thanks. Report
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!! Report
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 Report
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!! Report
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. Report
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! Report
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! Report
Thanks for the post! Have been struggling with this for sometime. Report
Love this one! Thanks for sharing! Report
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. Report
Really Love this one!!! Report
Wonderful article and one that has left me feeling motivated! Report
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. Report
WOW! So me. Excuses for not changing my bad habits or improving my life. It's time to be a new me. Report
Great article. Exactly in line with my recent "aha" moments. Thank you. Report
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. Report
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. Report
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! Report
Great quote! My daily reminder is a bracelet with the quote "Dreams become reality one choice at a time." (anon) Report
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. Report
Just what I needed Nancy :) Thanks !!!! ~ Star ~ Report
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! Report