The Case Against Excuses

“I wish I could [blank] but I just don’t have the time”

“I can’t do this or that because of XYZ reason”

“I’m getting too old, I already missed the boat for [blank]”

Excuses. We hear them everyday; a lot of us say them everyday. What would it be like if we stopped with the excuses and just admitted our resolve to not do something?

Being around hard chargers and….less than hard chargers: people who check off a day’s worth of to-dos by lunchtime while others are quite proud to make the bed in the morning, has opened my eyes to the many excuses we’ve become accustomed to using.

I, myself, am a hard charger. I blame my unbelievable supply of energy for my “Let’s get it done” attitude. I’ve also overcome my fair share of obstacles and have, admittedly an unattractive, tendency to compare myself to others, rationalizing “Well if I can do it, why can’t you?”

Hearing excuse after excuse from people who wish they could do this or that, some even claimed my lack of children offers an abundance of free time so of course I can make healthy meals, work-out daily, read books, etc. I take a bit of resentment from these claims, I’ve worked hard on my discipline and make time to do certain things everyday, to the point of feeling guilty if I slack in discipline occasionally.

It wasn’t until a visit from my mother that I gained an epiphany on habits and discipline. We are a family of tea drinkers. My mother recently discovered mint tea so I prepared a cup with a mint tea bag.

“You know, if you buy a bunch of mint you can use that for mint tea, it’s cheaper and tastes better.” My mother still loves to offer instructions.

“Yea, but don’t drink very much mint tea. When I do it’s usually in the morning so the bag works better in my to-go cup.”

“Well you can dry the bunch and just use the strainer, it won’t take as much time, you should really consider it.”

“We’ll see.” Of course I didn’t, because I didn’t want to do that, regardless of tasting better and being more economical. I simply didn’t have the drive to buy a bunch of mint instead of the packaged tea bags. I knew it wouldn’t even take an extra minute to use the tea strainer. I simply didn’t want to make that switch to loose mint tea.

That’s when I realized it: people don’t do things and forego commitments simply because they don’t want to and lack the drive to act. Then they make excuses because it’s hard to admit not wanting to do something merely because one lacks discipline or motivation. Why is that? If you enjoy sleeping late and it’s not hurting anyone, then do it. If you can’t get into Crossfit or the latest fitness trend, then so what? (Although I do hope you at least walk to retain good health). If you enjoy eating burgers, don’t apologize.

Don’t claim to feel bad about not having healthier habits or following through on commitments, because it simply means you lack the drive to do so. That’s not a bad thing. However, if you feel guilty about unhealthy habits or not following your dreams, then consider venues that you’ll gladly make part of your daily routine. We should spend our energy on what makes us happy and healthy, not make excuses for things we don’t really care to do but think we should be doing.

When it comes to excuses, I’m not talking about skipping a work out after a long day at work, eating fast food at the airport after a red eye, or being a couch potato all Saturday long on a rainy weekend. I’m talking about the everyday habits that people often claim they lack the time, means, or resources to accomplish. Those habits that some people have perfected with less time, means, and resources. Those habits that people do simply because they have the drive and discipline to follow through on something they want to follow through upon, not because they don’t have children that take up so much of their days.