How often do you see successful people making excuses when things don’t go their way? Now how often do you see unsuccessful people making these excuses? A key difference between winners and losers is that winners take full responsibility for themselves, and learn from their mistakes. Losers make excuses for their mistakes, instead of realizing that they can actually do something about them. In their mind, there is always some reason beyond their control that caused them to fail. Unsuccessful people act as if they are waiting for someone or something to appear in their lives that will instantly make everything better. Successful people realize that the chances of this happening are close to zero, so they take responsibility for their own lives. When you start to realize this correlation between success and responsibility, it will make you feel more in control of your future than ever before.
There are many common excuses people make when failing to achieve their goals. “It’s not my fault,” “I am unlucky,” “I’m too tired right now; I’ll feel more motivated later.” In their mind, things have to be absolutely perfect before they can take action. When the slightest challenge arises, they immediately hide behind excuses. While it’s true that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control, we are almost always responsible for the long-term results we obtain.
Take for example two college students. One is aware of how much control he has over his life, while the other one feels his future depends mostly on other people. If the first student gets a bad grade on an exam, he is likely to realize he should have studied more, which will influence his study habits for the next exam. If the second student gets a bad grade, he might blame it on the professor, his busy schedule, his inability to grasp the subject, or any number of excuses. He will likely feel that all of these reasons are beyond his control, keeping him from making the necessary change to his study habits. If he got a bad grade because of something he couldn’t prevent, there would be no use in trying harder. It is obvious which student will be more successful, no matter which professor each has, how busy their schedules, or their natural ability. The student that takes responsibility for the outcome and makes necessary adjustments will eventually get the outcome they were seeking. The student that makes excuses for everything that goes wrong will never make changes, since they feel like it isn’t their fault. While this was a hypothetical situation, it happens all around us every day. We are all guilty of this at times, but becoming aware of it can help us put an end to it.
Think about a goal you often have trouble completing. What is it that stands in your way? What excuses do you find yourself making that prevent you from making progress? At first, it may seem like you have a valid excuse, but almost all excuses can be traced back to something you can do about them. For example, say you are having trouble getting yourself to exercise. Maybe your excuse is that you don’t have enough energy. This may be true at the moment, but you can do something about it. You can choose to eat healthier, get better quality sleep, or many other things to increase your energy. If your excuse is that you don’t have enough time, consider how much time you waste watching television or surfing the internet. Chances are very low that you can’t spare twenty minutes a few times each week to greatly improve your health. These excuses may sound solid, but that’s only because you’ve used them so often and they have worked for you. Even though this example was about exercising, almost all excuses for any goal can be broken down like this. Once you have thought about how weak these excuses are, you can figure out ways to overcome them.
Take Action Now: Consider a goal that you often struggle with. Make a list of all the excuses you make for not completing that goal. Break down each excuse until you have a specific plan to overcome it. The next time you catch yourself making an excuse, make use of your plan. You may find yourself coming up with new excuses, so you will need to break these down as well. You will eventually get so good at breaking down excuses that you will be overcoming them without much effort. You will start making more progress on your goals than you ever imagined.
Jeff Gaines is the author of the recently launched self improvement website http://www.upspiration.com Please visit to show your support and to view more quality articles like this one.