Remember that Sir-Mix-A-Lot song from the 90’s, Baby Got Back?
Although I do like big butts (and the song), I don’t like big “but’s”.
See what I did there?
And I meant it, too.
I’m so over excuses.
I’m tired of making them and I’m tired of hearing them.
Excuses are easy.
They absolve you from culpability. Or at least they sound and feel like they do.
When someone says, “I want to, but…” what you think people hear is, “I really want to do that thing and there is this huge, impenetrable obstacle making my life torture that prevents me from doing the thing that would make my life infinitely better.”
What you are really saying though is, “I really want to do that thing and it’s really difficult, so I can’t do that thing.”
We think excuses make us appear to be martyrs – “oh the suffering! I can’t possibly find any time in my day to do yoga. I don’t know how I am getting through every day alive and sane as it is.”
What excuses really do is allow us to get off scot-free without getting our hands dirty or doing the hard work of transformation.
I know this because I used to do this.
And still do, sometimes because let’s face it: I’m human.
I used to find all of the places blame could go other than on me.
I used to come up with all of the reasons why something was impossible for me to do, even though it was entirely possible for someone else.
And like I said, I still do, and will again.
I’m also over excuses because I’ve realized they only hold me back.
I’d rather move forward.
Whenever I hear someone say to me, “I wish I could but I can’t,” all I want to do is say, “why are you selling yourself short?”
As George Washington says to Alexander Hamilton, “Excuses are easy, son. Transformation is harder.”
It’s easier to blame your kids for the fact that you don’t get on your yoga mat in the morning than it is to acknowledge that the first thing you do when you wake up is scroll through facebook.
Listen, I realize that there are times when the “but” applies. There are times in which those excuses are legit.
“I really want to do a handstand but I have a broken wrist.”
If your wrist is broken you can’t do a handstand.
It doesn’t mean you never will again.
This is how it works with the routines and habits that make up the architecture of our daily lives.
You can either make a whole truckload of excuses about why you can’t create a new pattern where the current one exists.
Or you can figure out how to create the new pattern, even if it means acknowledging that you are getting in your own way.
One of the mantras I’ve been working with lately is this one:
No excuses. Acknowledge. Accept. Grow.
The idea of this mantra is simple. If I can acknowledge what the root of my struggle is and accept responsibility, as it applies, I can use that awareness to learn and grow.
And I love the cyclical nature of this mantra. Once I grow, if I find myself succumbing to my humanity and making a new excuse, boom, acknowledge it, take a decisive action on it, and learn.
Here’s a real life example:
I usually wake up at 5:40am so that I am more likely to have time to myself in the morning to write, to meditate, to prep for the day, and to move my body. Although I rarely get more than 45 minutes or so to myself, and often end up sharing my movement practice with one or both kids, that quiet time with my thoughts is precious.
So let’s say one day I hit the snooze on my alarm and get out of bed 10 minutes later. And on that same morning, both kids wake up earlier than usual. Do I get mad at my kids? I could. Or I could acknowledge that I chose to sleep a little later. Not my kids fault. I mean, I can still be frustrated, but how I chose to act on that frustration is up to me. How I choose to move forward. I can hit the snooze again tomorrow and take my chances or I can try waking up when my alarm goes off and have that 10 minutes tomorrow.
Who knows? I might even decide to start going to bed a little earlier so I can wake up a bit earlier and guarantee more morning quiet time.
I get to choose, though.
If I don’t recognize my own role in my morning routine and just get angry at my kids for screwing up my only opportunity for alone time, then nothing will ever change and I’ll just stay miserable and resentful. Which sounds like a great way to start my day, right?
So, no excuses. Starting today…again.