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The Power of No More Excuses

The train was delayed, sure, but it's always delayed on a Monday morning. You could have taken an earlier train. Learn the power of no more excuses



We all make excuses. It's a normal part of life - the train got delayed, sorry I'm late. But sometimes we know that the excuse is a pathetic one. The train was delayed, sure, but it's always delayed on a Monday morning. You could have taken an earlier train. We should understand the power of no more excuses. 

It's easy to use excuses as a way out. Particularly when we don't feel inspired about something. Such as showing up early to work on a Monday morning. But even if you don't like, neither the job nor the salary, you chose that job. Maybe you had no other offers, but you accepted that one. And by doing so you agreed to show up on time and do the work you're meant to be doing. You don't have to do your best, but for you to feel good about yourself, you must do your best. 

Sulking with something for not being what you wanted it to be isn't going to help. So long as you are doing something, do your best with it, even if you're looking for better work and will one day find it. 

Basically, you can't blame a job, or a situation, for not being what you wanted them to be. It's not their fault for not being your ideal dream. You have to work with what they are until you figure out a way to find something better. 

Blaming Other People for Your Emotions

Have you ever blamed other people for how you are feeling? They did wrong, you're the victim and your feelings are therefore justified. But if there are no excuses, then you have to take responsibility for your emotions. With the power of no more excuses, you will realize that if they did wrong, you shouldn't feel bad. Their mistakes have nothing to do with you. You'll only feel bad if you actually believe that what they did is a reflection of who you are. 

I realized this about two years ago when I was moping about something, convinced I was the victim and therefore my upset was justified. I felt like shit. So I was giving my power to another person. A person that, on top of it, was truly trying their best, it's just they're very different form me, so I still felt completely bulldozed. 

As it dawned on me that I couldn't blame them, as they really were trying their best, I realized that I was using them as an excuse for feeling bad. Poor me. In my emotional state, I couldn't be happy, nor get shit done. And that, in short, is a sum up of my childhood. Poor me. Bad shit happened and it broke my confidence. But as an adult, I have the possibility to rebuild that confidence. As an adult, I have to make a choice to believe in myself.  

Ever heard a child say "he started it?" Ever told that child they should stop it? The same goes for anything in our adult life. Instead, what we do most of the time, is let ourselves be dictated by events. We let other people tell us how we should feel and then we act on those feelings, usually with disastrous consequences. 

There Are No Excuses

Well, that's strictly not true. You can't help if the train you are on really does get delayed and there was no way of you knowing. Things happen. However, if you have taken it upon you to do something, then do it. If something goes wrong, don't use it as an excuse, simply state a fact. You will only learn it through the power of no more excuses. 

Most of us know what we are capable of. Planning to start studying an hour before the test starts, isn't a great idea. Not only will there be little time, but chances are also that something will happen that hour to distract you. If you started a week before the test, then chances are that even if UFO land in your garden, you'll have time before the test to finish your studying. 

In life, things will always go wrong. That's why we either do our very best to counteract that by doing things ahead of time, setting extra cash aside for emergencies and prioritizing what's important. There's always an excuse why you didn't take time to compliment someone, or why you didn't go on more date nights with your wife, or why you're late with your assignment. Shit happens. You can either use that as an excuse to fail, or you can decide you're in charge. You can decide you're gonna get what you want out of a situation no matter what. 

Breaking Bad Habits

I've used excuses without being aware of it my whole life. Just like my fears have dictated what I do, or what I don't do. Fears are, in a way, just another form of excuses. 

People say they don't walk up and talk to others at parties because they are shy. What they really mean is that they fear being rejected by the people they walk up to. And if it becomes a habit not walking up to others, they'll soon stop questioning why they aren't doing it. Potentially when they see some really hot person or someone that strikes them as truly interesting, they'll feel a twinge, an urge to walk up to them, yet will immediately dismiss it.

Our fears are excuses. I'm scared, therefore I cannot do that. But, as the story goes, happiness is outside our comfort zone. Because happiness is being free to do what you wish to do. And once you overcome your fear you usually realize how ridiculous it was to have it in the first place. 

Fears should protect you. Standing at the edge of a mountain should scare you, because if you fall you'd kill yourself. Your fear of talking to people at parties probably spring from some form of rejection in childhood and then your brain decided that it would be best not to talk to people, to protect you. Better not speaking than becoming rejected. Belonging with others and living in a community is a survival instinct. So, of course, you became scared. The problem is that, while you at age six was probably better off not talking about whatever it was that made you get rejected, you're now much better off talking. There's much more to you than that one thing that got you rejected. That was just a fluke. 

Basically, we live with a lot of misguided fear. Fear that turns us into self-fulfilling prophecies. By not walking up to people at parties, we often feel rejected even though we are not. 

When you have no excuses as a policy, misguided fear can no longer rule your life. The only fear you should have is the kind that actually saves your life. 


When you decide there are no excuses, you decide you're in charge. It's a very liberating feeling. When your brain tries to tell you that you can't have fun, because you have little money, you make a decision you're in charge and go do something fun that costs no money. Suddenly, you're no longer a victim to circumstance. You no longer have an excuse for being miserable. 

It's a constant job catching your own excuses - my boss is bad so I'll do a bad job to show them, my friend said something nasty so now I feel terrible...there are so many things to blame for why you act as you do and feel as you do. But really, it's up to you how you feel and how you act. It's a choice. 

Look out for when you think A happened, therefore B... No. A happened. Then I had a choice to do B, C, D. You're not a victim to circumstance. You have a choice. 

We think that if we stop blaming others, they'll get away with things. The bad boss needs to be punished for being bad, so why do a good job? Because your job is about you, not your boss. You can tell your boss they're being terrible, on the other hand, and start looking around for another job. 

Giving up on excuses and therefore giving up on blame, will liberate you to live the life of your dreams. Unleash the power of no more excuses and feel the difference. 

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I bet that if any of us opened up a thesaurus of health symptoms and conditions we'd be filled with serious concerns about our health after only a couple of pages. Health-related symptoms are one of the highest searched criteria on the web.

However, there are times when many of us feel jaded or despondent, our quality of sleep is not great, we're experiencing miscellaneous aches and pains. Sometimes being given a label only adds to the worry of it all by fuelling stress and health anxiety. It's important to be wary of labels, especially when self-diagnosing health issues!

As a long-established counsellor and hypnotherapist it's not uncommon for me to be asked for a diagnosis by my clients. 'Does this mean I'm stressed, depressed, suffering from anxiety?' they may ask. But, just as when you buy something from a shop which has a sticky label firmly attached, I often find that by giving someone a specific label to explain their feelings it can mean they need extra therapy sessions to then detach that label!

Yes, sometimes clients are relieved when they can put a name to how they're feeling, but oftentimes there are effective ways of dealing with issues without having to label and categorise them. It's okay to accept that there are times when we're weary, sad, stressed or overwhelmed. Things in life may gradually accumulate and result in us feeling battered and bruised. Not everything's a serious health issue though, and sometimes those times provide a nudge to sort out how we're running our life.

Learning effective ways to deal with challenges can teach us better ways to cope, to recover from the knocks life intermittently throws our way and then to turn each bad situation around.

- Accept that sometimes feeling tired, out of sorts, vaguely unwell is how it is. We may have a phase of not sleeping too well, of being a little weepy, of feeling grumpy or a bit down. Be gentle with yourself at those times. Occasionally our hormones, body clock, even a change in the weather or the cycle of the moon can throw us out of balance. Treat yourself with kindness; go to bed a little earlier, ensure you eat well, keep hydrated, take some gentle exercise, maybe get away for an hour or even a day or two.

- We teach people how to treat us. I think it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said this, but certainly a high percentage of communication is done non-verbally. We communicate our responses to situations through cues so subtle that we may be unaware of them; fear, guilt, resignation, a desire to please are all evidenced through our breathing, stance, body language, posture. Tuning in and becoming aware of what we're projecting can turn a situation around.

- Remaining silent and uncommunicative, or alternatively always saying 'yes', can be interpreted as you being okay with how things are being handled. Take responsibility for how you come across and start to teach people to treat you well.

- Be careful not to compare yourself and how you're doing or coping with others. We all have different stories, priorities, situations we're dealing with, support networks, abilities and motivations. One person's nightmare situation may be another's piece of cake, and vice versa. Comparisonitis can result in massive insecurities.

- When we're exhausted and feeling low it may be because we're sorry for ourselves, feeling hard done by, unappreciated or taken for granted. Becoming appropriately assertive can be the way forward. All too often frustrations build up and then we explode over the smallest of things, crying, 'how dare you, it's not fair, after all I've done for you!' Or conversely we retreat into sadness, introspection and melancholia. Often a better outcome is achieved through love, affection and by staying calm and even-tempered. Learning to say, 'no', firmly and appropriately, perhaps without explanation or justification, can teach both yourself and others to appreciate and value you more.

- Being short of time is something many of us struggle with, but spreading ourselves too thinly can lead to burnout and overload. Clues that all is not well can be frequently going to bed later, getting up earlier, missing meals, cancelling breaks, exercise and fun. Again self-help comes from taking personal responsibility and communicating to others how you're feeling and what you need. Is there only you who's competent to do those tasks? Maybe it's time to train someone else, learn to delegate or be more realistic about your work v health choices.

- Deal with stress. Ensure that you have a set time when you switch off, unless there's an occasional, genuine emergency. Are there specific times when you frequently feel frazzled? We all have our early warning signals of stress. Become acquainted with yours and identify when you need a 'water-cooler' break, a piece of fruit, time for a game of golf or a long leisurely lunch. Research has found that we perform better, often bringing new ideas and thinking into a problem, once we've had some time away to detach a little.

If you find you're becoming increasingly stressed, snappy, not sleeping or are experiencing low mood booking a health check-up is advisable. However, many of us can learn to intervene early on and start to introduce positive, ongoing self-care. Appreciate you can only do so much each day before mistakes, accidents and poor concentration start to affect your health. By introducing good habits you achieve a healthier balance in your life, becoming equipped to deal with those unavoidable times when sacrifices have to be made, you need to work longer hours or juggle unanticipated demands.

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