10 Excuses for Why We Don't Get More Done (And Why They Are Excuses)

Aim High! Follow Your Dreams! Don’t Wake Up at 70 and Regret Your Life!

Great motivational words, but not especially realistic when life presents so many obstacles, right? Sorry, wrong. Far too often, the “obstacles” in our way are simply challenges that grow in our minds to become excuses. Those excuses get between us and our goals. Today, we look at ten excuses, why they are excuses, and what we can do about them.

1. I don’t have enough money.

Oh, poor you, living in a crappy motel that doubles as your office… Oh, wait. That was Bill Gates.

Success comes at a price. Many successful people started out pinching pennies and surviving on ham and cheese sandwiches. Others worked elsewhere to fund their dreams or found investors. Thanks to people like Gates, we have the Internet, which has made crowdfunding not just viable but common. And if you aren’t able to make the sacrifices, perhaps you can tweak your dream: volunteer at an art museum instead of owning a gallery, for example.

2. I don’t have time.

If something is important to you, give it the time it deserves. According to a 2013 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend about five hours a day on leisure activities, more than half of that on television. Where is your time going? Map a day if you want, but you probably know intuitively. Dump the time sucks or make one the reward after you worked on your project.  Relaxing is necessary, but consider how rewarding it’ll feel if you finish that song and post it on YouTube or learn to dance — or even just clean up the living room.

3. I have too much to do.

Is worrying about it getting anything done? Don’t get paralyzed by your To-Do List. Pick something! Prioritize. Alternate big and little tasks. Kill the busy-making tasks that mean nothing. And remember — relaxing is important, too.

4. I’m too weak; I have an illness; I have a disability.

Stephen Hawking, great scientist of our time, has ALS. Oscar Pistorius runs marathons with artificial legs. Michael J. Fox is still acting despite Parkinson’s. David Needleman’s an entrepreneur with ADD. Your argument is invalid.

It’s going to be difficult, no doubt. You have tough obstacles. You may not excel — or you may decide excellence is not worth the effort. But if a legless man can run marathons, are you really going to let your weight and weak knees stop you from hiking with your kids? Drop the excuse, find a mentor, and make a plan to overcome your obstacles.

5. I’ll never be as good as___

So? You only need to be as good as you can be. You are your competition. People who succeed don’t get discouraged at the success of others. They either take it as an affirmation that success is possible or as a challenge to do better. Besides, if you don’t even try, you won’t be good at all.

6. I’ll do it when I have more (time, money, leisure).

Some dreams have a time and place. Backpacking in Tibet is probably not something to do when you have toddlers. However, there’s a fine line between planning and procrastination. If something is important to you, whether a task that needs to be done or a lifetime goal, then find a way to get it done despite the time, money, leisure.

7. It’s too big!

Yep. It’s big — and it’s not getting any smaller while you whine. Things like a basement full of junk or an extra 50 pounds of weight don’t happen overnight, so you won’t fix them that fast either. Put your eye on the long goal, make each step a victory and press ahead! Getting a friend, family member or even a hired assistant to help can make a big task seem smaller, too.

8. I don’t know how.

Oh, no! You did not say that. Not when you are on the Internet! From programming to manscaping, there’re guides, videos and even online classes. Find them.

What if the task is too challenging for your particular talents? We all have things we naturally aren’t suited for. That’s when you decide if it’s worth paying for or trading for. Hate website building? Find a college student needing a project, hire a service or trade skills with a friend. Maybe you can write webcopy for his site if he builds one for you.

9. People will laugh./I don’t get any support.

Two words: screw them. If something is important to you, that’s what matters. Ignore the mockers or use them as motivation. Did you know famous author Holly Lisle wrote her first fantasy novel to spite her ex-husband?

Of course, there has to be some consideration for the people close to you. Abandoning your family and moving to L.A. to pursue your dream of being a comedian is irresponsible, but what’s to stop you from trying out your routine at the local comedy club?

10. I can’t stay on track        

Before psychologists identified ADD or ADHD or… what was I saying? Anyway, there are plenty of people who had legitimate issues with staying on track yet somehow managed to accomplish great things. Look online for tips for staying focused. Leave breadcrumbs for yourself; go on a walk to clear your mind. Take a 10 minute power nap — sitting up, so you don’t enter deep sleep. Try focus music or kill the music altogether. Above all — turn off the distracters: social media, video games, or movies in the background.

In fact, now that you’ve read this, get off your browser and go do something you’ve been meaning to do. We’ll be here when you come back.