27 excuses to be mindful of in 2016

The New Year is all about self-improvement. With 2016 underway, I have taken the opportunity to reflect upon the past year and life in general. While contemplating where I am in relation to where I want to be, I came up with 27 excuses to leave behind this year.

  1. I don’t have time- Probably the most commonly used excuse, but what are we really saying? “I’m not making it a priority” or perhaps something more fear-based like: “What if something goes wrong.” Dig deeper.
  2. I’ll do it tomorrow– Then tomorrow, you’ll say I’ll do it tomorrow. How about, instead, you do it today AND repeat tomorrow?
  3. It’s already been done– By who? Not you.
  4. It’s not good enough- Sometimes in creating, the point it to create. Good comes with practice. But don’t write, sing, build, dance, photograph to be “good” … do it because creating is what makes you who you are.
  5. It’s not the right time- Decide where this thought comes from … intuition or your brain (ego) creating fear?
  6. I’m too old- Never.
  7. I’m too young- Never.
  8. I might fail- Good. Then you’ll learn what not to do next time. Failing is practice.
  9. Too many obstacles- But what are the obstacles teaching you? Shift your perspective from “it’s too hard” to “what can I learn?”
  10. Nobody understands me- You need to understand you before anyone else can. The more you think nobody understand you the more distance you are putting between yourself and others.
  11. I won’t know anyone- Sometimes, isn’t that the point?
  12. Maybe next time- Push your comfort zone and you won’t regret it. The “what if” feeling creates a domino effect of other negative thoughts.
  13. I’m too tired- Maybe that’s so. But this is an easy fix. Sleep more, eat whole foods and exercise. After all, we aren’t making excuses for not exercising anymore.
  14. I have no one to go with- There’s freedom and power in being brave enough to take on a new situation by yourself. Refer back to number 11. Perhaps you aren’t surrounding yourself with like-minded people because you are refusing to attend events that interest you.
  15. I’m only an “ideas” person- Following through takes practice. A lot of time we don’t pursue things because what if we fail? What if we succeed? We get focused on the what’s next instead of thinking about right now.
  16. I don’t have the money– This is one of our favorite excuses. We’re all short on cash. We remember the infamous “there’s an app for that.” Well, when it comes to whatever you’re dreaming: there is a grant for that. If you’re thinking smaller scale, then look around and get rid of stuff. Sometimes we need to compromise the “stuff” we have for the bigger picture. Purge your way to a happy 2016.
  17. I don’t even have make-up on – We can’t both want society to stop valuing beauty by our looks but also refuse to leave our house unless we “look our best.”
  18. But (daughter) won’t let me- Don’t blame the kids. Of course, your son or daughter may be used to spending “x” amount of time with you, but what you also know, is children are insanely adaptable. It’s YOU who resists change.
  19. I’m too busy- Again, train yourself to say “It’s not a priority.” Because that’s essentially what you’re saying. We are in control of our “busy.”
  20. But my past is rough- When you think this, you’re allowing your past to be your present. Our stories are a part of who we are. Let yourself be open enough to let in new people and new experiences.
  21. What will my family say/think– We want humans to like us. Especially our family. Often we use this excuse because we are scared of being vulnerable and owning our truth. It’s not your family holding you back, it’s you.
  22. I’m not as ___ as ____.- “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Teddy Roosevelt said it best.
  23. I’ve already done that- All of life’s experiences are like a fingerprint; no two will ever occur the same way twice.
  24. I already know that- In terms of learning, there are no two teachers who instruct the same way. Fall in love with learning. Just when we know a movie inside out, we watch again to notice a nuance or background we never saw before.
  25. I’m a single parent- Great! Which means, your time belongs to you and your child. You don’t have to depend on anyone else to make dinner, take out the garbage, do the laundry. No one knows your time like you do. Make a schedule until the things you want to make time for, become routine.
  26. I don’t know where to begin- Lists and calendars. Commit to small things first. Write them in the calendar as if it is as important as brushing your teeth, eating lunch and sleeping. Routines and habits take a different priority in your brain.
  27. I’ve never done this before- Perfect. Look around. See all of those people. Ask for help, guidance, tips. You are one handshake or hello away from a new teacher, and if you’re lucky, friend.

Almost all of these excuses are essentially rooted in fear. Instead of looking at the same list of resolutions each year and wondering why they never get completed, let’s figure out what’s holding us back. When we become aware of these excuses we can learn how to eliminate them from our vocabulary. Create new habits and new ways of thinking and soon your resolutions won’t be a hopeful set of goals but a lifestyle you manifested by telling fear you’ll catch up with him “tomorrow.”

 

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Erinne Magee

About Erinne Magee

Erinne is a Maine-based writer and freelance editor specializing in first person essays, poetry and picture books. Her work has appeared in publications like: The Washington Post, Redbook, Yahoo News, The Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping and The Toronto Sun. For more, visit: www.erinnemagee.com